Exhibiting at a Trade Show in 2021: A Full Guide

Before you move forward with marketing your brand at a trade show, it’s important to understand the different types of events where you can show off your company. Even though trade shows, conventions, and expos are similar in most ways, there are subtle differences that are worth your while to comprehend.

A trade show is an event where companies in a particular industry come together to demonstrate and showcase their products to a target audience. Potential customers who attend trade shows are already familiar with your industry, and they often represent corporations rather than individual buyers. Typically, trade shows include your direct competition, so you’re able to see what they have to offer and what sets them — and you — apart. You can also gain a better understanding of trends in your industry and how your company can take advantage of them.

Conventions are gatherings of people with a common interest, and they’re the most laid back of the opportunities you have to show off your products or services. Before you consider marketing at a convention, you’ll want to make sure what your company has to offer is of interest to those who will attend. More often than not, convention-goers are also on the lookout to have fun, so avoid hard selling your products.

An expo (short for exposition) is a large-scale event that incorporates exhibitions, seminars and breakout sessions. Expos are often globally-focused events that highlight cutting-edge, innovative products. In addition to having the opportunity to market your company, think of an expo as a chance for you to learn, network, and gain ideas and inspiration.

Money, Money, Money: What Are the Costs?

At a trade show, you’ll come across hundreds of booths, featuring representatives of companies large and small. It’s within this sea of commerce that you need to stand out. Your company will rent a space on the floor of the event hall, and you have to make sure your space grabs the attention of potential buyers.

You’ll need to consider the budget for your trade show exhibit. The industry average for floor space rental is $21 per square foot. Beyond that cost, you can pay extra premiums for prime spaces with high traffic or visibility. Be sure to include plenty of money in your budget for your display, graphics, and furnishings, as well as travel expenses, employee salaries and per diems, and advertising. Consider purchasing promotional items to give away as well.

Don’t assume that digital promotion has rendered trade shows obsolete. Even in an era of endless possibilities for virtual marketing, there’s no substitute for face-to-face contact and networking. Potential clients and buyers want to interact with the companies with whom they’re considering doing business, and seeing products in person can help them make a more informed decision.

Installation, Dismantle and Shipping: Tips for Creating Safe and Creative Exhibit Spaces

It’s equally important that your exhibit both looks amazing and remains safe for your employees and the potential customers who visit. Installation is key to making sure that your booth or exhibit is secure and set up the way it’s supposed to be. Make sure you have a complete inventory of every part of your exhibit, as well as a map of the layout. If you install the booth yourself, be sure to double- and triple-check everything. You can hire a professional installer, which will ensure that it’s done well. If you do, add more money to your budget.

When the trade show is over, it’s up to you to dismantle your exhibit. Whether you and your team take care of it or you leave it to a professional, your layout map and inventory will be essential. If your team decides to handle dismantling, choose one member of the team to act in a supervisory role.

You can save time and hassle by shipping all your items to the event space ahead of the trade show. Make sure that you’re familiar with the specifics of when and where you should ship all items, and have plans for return shipping after the exhibit has been dismantled — including instructions on how to properly repack the items so that everything fits in its proper boxes.

Contractor or Exhibit House: Which Partner Is Right For You?

You may want to partner with a contractor or with the exhibit house in the development or installation and dismantling of your exhibit. There are nuances and specifics to working either with an outside contractor or directly with the exhibit house, so it’s crucial to make an informed decision.

Choosing a Contractor

Contractors can manage one or more aspects of your exhibit, taking the work off your hands and allowing you to focus on presentation and networking. Often the contractor will communicate with the exhibit house on your behalf, eliminating some of the direct communication that you have to do. Various companies can handle different size exhibits, so ask questions during your selection process. An exhibit house may have a list of preferred contractors for an event, so be sure to do your due diligence before signing with a particular contractor.

Choosing an Exhibit House

The exhibit house is the entity through whom you rent your exhibit space. You may choose to work directly with them or their exhibit-approved contractor (whom you’ll often hear referred to as the EAC). When you work directly with the exhibit house, you know the expectations and can communicate directly with them. The exhibit house or EAC should have the resources to tackle any size event as well.

Why CORT Events?

Making the right first impression at your next trade show exhibition goes a long way in helping you pick up new clients and buyers. And having the right partner ensures that you can make that first impression. That partner is CORT Events.

CORT Events has years of experience working with contractors and exhibit houses nationwide. The professionals at CORT Events can help you design an innovative, exciting, and welcoming space that fits your brand and allows you to reach new clients confidently. If you need space planning, CORT Events can help you make the most of your exhibit space.

CORT Events takes care of furniture delivery and pick up, so one less hassle is off your plate. We’re with you from the beginning of your planning process to the end of the trade show, so why not check out what CORT Events has to offer?