It’s no secret that planning an exhibition or trade show can be a stressful process. From securing the right venue to ensuring you attract enough exhibitors and attendees, planning a large-scale event can present a few hurdles along the planning process.
That being said, providing you are well organised and give the planning plenty of time, an exhibition can be extremely valuable, and encourage a wealth of new relationships and success stories.
Here are our top four tips for planning and organising a successful exhibition or trade show:
1. Timing is everything
Picking the date for your exhibition or trade show will dictate everything that comes after, so this should be at the top of your list of priorities. You’ll need to choose a time of year that is likely to attract the largest number of attendees, so avoid busy periods such as the summer holidays and over Christmas. You’ll also need to think about your suppliers and when they may be busy- many suppliers will have already committed to other events such as weddings, so avoid peak wedding season.
2. Get the venue right
Once you have your date, you’ll need to find the perfect venue to hold your expo. There are so many factors to consider, so bear in mind the following as a guide:
Accessibility: The location of your venue is so important when it comes to attracting attendees. Ensure that there are accessible links to public transport and that they can travel there easily by car, rail or plane. (Remember, it’s likely that some of your attendees will be travelling from overseas!)
Your attendees and exhibitors will also appreciate your venue being centrally located near restaurants and other amenities, as this will maximise the potential to network into the evenings.
Suitability: Ideally, choose a venue that can adapt to your vision, as well as align with the image you are trying to project. Consider your sponsors too- will there be any other events going on that may clash with any of the brands involved? Can the venue brand the event for you?
Accommodation: Make sure that the venue has plenty of accommodation close by, preferably within walking distance. This is important for the exhibitors in particular, who may need to attend your event over a number of consecutive days.
Facilities: To make sure your event runs smoothly, before booking a venue, check that it has all the facilities you need. This includes audio-visual equipment, breakout areas, and a good wi-fi connection. You should also ask whether there will be any technical support during the event.
Catering: Although most venues will provide onsite catering, make sure they can accommodate special dietary requirements and allergies, as well as providing a bespoke menu. This will really set your event apart from the many others that your attendees are likely to visit.
3. Publicise well
Good promotion is key when planning a successful conference or trade show. It’s likely that your target audience are inundated with hundreds of other event invitations, so you’ll need to work hard to draw them into yours. Utilise social media using Twitter and Facebook and ensure your registration is simple. Try using hashtags to promote your event- good hashtags are short and include the year of the conference. Share news about your upcoming event in regular blog posts, and make sure you leverage your sponsors at every opportunity.
4. Get feedback
While in the planning stages of your event, you should be thinking about how you can get feedback on the day so that you can improve the next time round. For years, surveys have been common place after events have finished, but consider live polls on the day, or set up a QR code to a short survey at the event to get instant feedback.
The Brewery offers a versatile exhibition venue, located in the heart of London. With a number of both large exhibition spaces and small rooms, each has a different capacity to facilitate an exhibition of any size. Not only do we offer a dedicated exhibitor co-ordinator to assist you with the planning, we can also provide a specially designed exhibition menu, as well as AVC audio-visual support and promotional staff to ensure everything runs smoothly.
If you’re planning an exhibition or trade show, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you bring your vision to life.