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Essential Trade Show Planning Checklist

Essential Trade Show Planning Checklist

You get to the convention center and the place is buzzing. Registration gives you your packet, directs you to your booth. And then it hits you, you forgot to bring your business sign and sales collateral.

You wake up.

Fortunately, it was all a dream and your trade show is weeks or days away. You’re sitting at your desk and wondering what you should bring to your first trade show.

Never fear, we are here. And we’ve put together a trade show planning checklist. Let’s go through the items and check them off together.

Trade Show Planning Checklist

Bring On The Media

You’re competing with hundreds of other booths at the trade show. And it’s pretty much guaranteed that other booths will have some sort of engaging media.

You want to capture attendees’ attention right away. If you look at tech trade shows like GDC and CES, interactivity is what draws people. That could mean showcasing a video or creating an interactive VR experience. Or it could mean renting iPads and placing them around your booth displaying your brand message or new product announcement.

If your booth has a line, that line will grow. You’ll get more attention, if people can do something awesome at your booth.

Business Cards

This may seem analog compared to a VR experience or a video presentation. But face-to-face interaction is why you’re at the trade show. Otherwise, people could find you online.

Face-to-face interaction at a convention center is cost effective in comparison to meeting a client or prospect at their place of business. It is estimated to cost at least $259 to meet a prospect at their business location. At a trade show, prospects come to you at an estimated cost of $142 (minimum).

Having a quick and easy way to give them your information is essential to converting them down the road. Develop a business card that quickly says what you’re all about.

Digital Sign or Display

Again, you want to stand out. So, it’s important to create a compelling booth.

Think of the trade show booths you’ve seen. Which ones stand out the most? For me, it’s those with visual prompts using digital signage or large displays and monitors.

Build an environment unique to your product. You can always rent various building blocks for a good booth


Ok, so maybe this doesn’t fit with every industry, but who doesn’t like snacks. The best trade shows will provide guests with food, but if you serve up something unforgettable, you’ll be that much less forgettable. 

When people talk about your booth, they’ll be like, “Oh, you know the one with the strawberry tarts?” And they’ll come back for more and they’ll be that much closer to converting a prospect into a client.

Power Strips and Extension Cords

This is of utmost practical importance. If you’ve never set up at a trade show, you won’t realize how far away every outlet is in the building until you get there. 

Invest in some long extension cords and a bunch of power strips. You’ll thank us later.

Rent What You Don’t Have

Now that you have this trade show planning checklist, you will certainly have your own items to add to the list to make sure you are ready to go.

Of course, a key factor to evaluate is equipment for your booth. Unless you’re going to attend more than a handful of trade shows a year, the necessary equipment could be a huge investment. Why not consider renting the more expensive equipment like large screen monitors or phone charging kiosks?

Hartford Technology Rental can help with this. Come check out our trade show rental equipment. You’ll have all you need for an awesome expo experience.