Does 2020 mean a trade show is on the docket for your business? If you’re preparing for the upcoming trade show season, you need to start planning early. It’s best to start your preparations about six months before the event and tackle several steps along the way. Looking for trade show display products or fabric? Contact our pro team at FLS Banners, we would be happy to help you get the custom-printed trade show products you need. With this handy trade show checklist, you can be confident that you are well-prepared for your next event.

Start Here: Planning 6 Months Out

planning-trade-showAt the six month mark, you are ready to start planning your event. Here are the steps to take about six months before your event.

  1. Define your goal

    First, determine what you want to accomplish with your trade show. Decide three key objectives that you want to accomplish. These will be unique to your business.

  2. Set the budget

    Next, decide how much you are willing to spend to reach those goals. This will depend on the current state of your business, and it will drive the rest of your trade show preparation checklist, so be specific. Make sure you leave room for necessary promotional materials and booth materials.

  3. Book the show

    If you don’t already have a trade show venue, now is the time to start looking. 
    If you will have to travel a distance to the show, check with the show website for deals on hotels and flights. Today many tradeshows book blocks of rooms and offer discount prices for booking through the show website. Also, check to see if there are any special requirements for getting your display into the show. If you are shipping directly to the show, your booth may have to arrive by a specific date to avoid extra fees.

  4. Start planning your booth

    Between five and six months before your first trade show, pull out your checklist for the exhibition booth. This gives you time to order tablecloths, backdrop displays, marketing materials, and other supplies to make your event successful. You will want to review your current display and make sure your key product/service is featured on at least one focal point in the booth. This is a great way to start a conversation with a current client and to draw prospects in.

  5. Order promotional items.

    About four months before the first trade show, put in your order for your promotional items, especially if you will be sending fliers or other notifications about your participation in the event. FLS Banners works with customers to deliver within even the shortest of deadlines. 
    Here are a few of our most popular items:

  6. Arrange travel

    As soon as you know the event date, start shopping for airline tickets or make other travel arrangements. If you are carrying your display with you sure to find out when the setup starts. Many of our products require minimal setup time; however, you always want to leave yourself plenty of time to account for any unknowns. The worst thing that can happen is you finish early and you can spend the afternoon at the pool.

  7. Create a packing checklist.

    Determine the things you are going to need for every trade show and make a written trade show booth checklist. Don’t forget things like first aid supplies, tape, and extension cords.

Getting Closer: One Month to 2 Weeks Out

order-trade-show-suppliesAs the trade show gets closer, your trade show planning checklist gets busier. Here are some things to put on your “to do” list as you move within two weeks of the event.

  1. Double-check your trade show checklist

    Pull it out and make sure there aren’t any things you have overlooked.

  2. Check your trade show booth materials

    Make sure everything is in good working order and does not need to be repaired. Missing anything? Reach out to FLS Banners and we can get you the printed table covers or banners ASAP.

  3. Start staff training

    Talk with the people who will be manning your booth to ensure they are aware of what their objectives are.

  4. Order printed literature

    It takes about a week to have promotional materials printed locally, so order early so you have time to make changes, if needed.

  5. Prepare lead packets

    Have packets of information to hand to leads at the trade show.

    Almost Time: 1 Week to the Day Before

    Pack your bag
    Pull out the trade show planning checklist you made earlier, and make sure all of the items are packed inside a bag.

  6. Prepare a document packet.

    You will want contact information for local vendors, staff that will be coming with you and staying behind, and contact information for your accommodations and the venue itself. If you need art or files to print more promotional materials if you run out, add this to your document packet. Have both digital and paper options with you.

  7. Send your trade show materials ahead

    If you aren’t bringing your trade show materials with you, send them ahead and verify their arrival.

  8. Make a checklist for trade show exhibitors.

    If you are sending someone else to do the trade show, make sure they are armed with a trade show booth checklist that has all of the details they will need to set up, display, and take down your trade show materials.

Showtime: The Day Of

  1. trade-show-eventArrive at the venue early.

    Make sure you have plenty of time to set up your booth. You may run into unexpected problems, like needing a longer extension cord, so do not cut yourself short on time. Plan for traffic and getting lost if you are showing at a new venue.

  2. Consult the trade show setup checklist.

    This will help ensure you do not forget a critical component of your booth setup and design.

  3. Show your stuff.

    You’ve spent the last six months planning. Now’s your time to shine. Since you used a checklist for trade show exhibitors, you will be well prepared to do your best.

Follow-Up: After the Show

  1. Pack things up carefully.

    When the show is done, take the time to pack carefully so you do not damage your trade show materials and booth supplies.

  2. Follow up.

    Gather the information from the leads you made. Plan your follow up, whether it is phone calls, emails, or letters. If you have a sales team, pass those leads on to the sales team to start the follow-up process.

  3. Evaluate your costs.

    Add up what you spent and compare it to the budget you set. Was your budget accurate? Were there areas you could save money? How could you improve for future trade shows?

  4. Evaluate your trade show checklist.

    Was there something missing from your trade show exhibitor checklist? Did you forget to pack something that should be added to your checklist for exhibition booths? What mistakes could have been avoided with better planning? Add to or take away from your trade show planning checklist as needed.

Prepare for Your Trade Show Booth with the Right Products

A critical part of your trade show booth checklist is the materials you use for your booth. From tablecloths to the displays themselves, you can’t have a successful trade show without the right exhibition supplies. 

Do you need advice on selecting promotional items for your event booth? FLS Banners offers many options for table covers, banner flags, backdrop displays, and more. 

Table Covers – Choose from 4ft, 6ft, or 8ft table cloths, then choose your table cover style: fitted, open back, closed back, stretch or contour, adjustable, or table runners.

Flags – Feather or banner flags are available in small, medium, or large sizes. Flag shapes include convex, concave, teardrop, or swooper. Flag poles, stands, and carry bags are available!

Banners/Displays – Banner displays can be essential to any event booth. Let us help you design the perfect backdrop for your next event. We offer retractable banners, pop-up banners, as well as stands, mounting hardware, and durable carry bags.

Display Kits and Event Tents – Save time and select from our booth display kits that can be custom-printed to your specifications. Add your logo and designs to backdrops, banners, and table covers. For outdoor events, make your booth complete with a custom-printed tent to match your tablecloth.

FLS Banners has a huge selection of trade show booth products for your next event. Check them out as you prepare your checklist today!