5 During-Show Activities To Make Your Trade Show A Success

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

Denso drew people into their Automate booth with a cookie making robot

So, you’ve planned for the show, booked the space, developed the booth graphics and made the travel arrangements. Now it’s show time…how do you ensure the actual trade show days are a success? In this Part 2 of a 3-part series on successful trade shows, we’ll look at the 5 during-show activities you should be doing to make your next trade show a success.

1. Booth personnel meeting

Make sure you have a meeting with all personnel working the booth. Either the night before the show starts or the morning of the first day of the show are the most ideal times. Here are some topics to cover in this meeting:

  • Recap key messaging in the booth
  • What new products/solutions are being shown
  • Promotions/giveaways going on
  • Highlight any scheduled editor meetings

2. Draw people into your trade show booth

One of the key challenges during any trade show is getting people in your booth! Here are some proven ways to draw people into your booth:

  • Promotion/giveaway
    • Have one daily (minimum), if not multiple times during the day
    • Something of value
    • Make sure you have a mechanism in place to capture people’s information
  • Hands-on product demonstrations
    • Things that move or make noise tend to draw attention
    • Contractors love to hold, touch, feel and experience the newest products
    • Don’t just have static products hanging on the wall
  • Entertainment
    • Entertainers or impersonators always tend to draw a crowd
  • Happy hour/networking
    • Who doesn’t enjoy a free adult beverage or soft drink?!
    • Schedule this for the last hour or two of the day
    • In addition to customers, make sure to invite the trade media

3. Schedule entertainment for key customers, partners, suppliers and team members

This is one of the few times during the year you will have all of these audiences together in the same place, so take advantage of it. Going back to your hotel room after the show is not an option!

Leverage your time outside of the show (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to spend time with these folks. And taking time at the show to meet with your sales team, especially if your company has manufacturer or independent reps, is always beneficial. If you have a major product launch or company news, having an offsite event with these key stakeholders is always a great option.

4. Walk the trade show

This is a “must” for every show and you need to allot time in your schedule for walking the show floor. Trade shows are a rare event where all your competition will be under the same roof. There is a wealth of knowledge you can obtain from checking out your key competitors, their messaging and products or topics they are pushing. This is also a great way to spark new and future ideas for your own booth.

And if for nothing else … you’ll hit that 10,000 daily steps goal!

5. Make adjustments

It’s critical to maximize every minute you are at the trade show, so don’t be afraid to make changes on a daily basis if something is not working or running as smoothly as you had originally planned.

Check out Part 1 of the series on Pre-Show Activities

Check out Part 3 of the series on Post-Show Activities

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