For businesses to promote themselves and let people and industry professionals try their products and service alongside making leads there is no opportunity better than participating in a trade show.
However, getting accepted as an exhibitor and booking a display for trade show is not always straightforward. Let us explore the different factors and processes involved in successfully applying for exhibition space at major industry trade events.
Research Target Trade Shows:
The first step is doing your homework to find trade shows most relevant to your company’s goals. Look for shows that attract your key customers and prospects in sizable numbers. Several websites offers comprehensive listings across sectors. Evaluate calendars to avoid booking too many shows in a short span. Trade associations are also a great source for recommended industry events.
Once you have a list, research each organizer’s website for exhibiting details like upcoming dates, floorplans, previous exhibitors, and attendee breakdowns. This offers visibility on premium vs value spaces available. Check application deadlines to allow sufficient lead time. Shows book up fast, sometimes years in advance for prime locations.
Customize Your Booth Proposal:
Booth selection is competitive so applications need compelling reasons for acceptance. Clearly outline:
- Your trade show booth contractor profile and product/service overview.
- Target audience demographics you will attract to the booth.
- Promotional plans to draw members to your space.
- Prior exhibiting/sponsorship experience, especially with that show.
- Testimonials/references if possible from past exhibiting partners.
Highlight any capability to launch new products or host educational sessions. Organizers prioritize exhibitors adding unique value to attendees. Polish proposals with professional visuals and precise information. Incomplete forms hurt chances.
Timing Matters for Approval:
Application deadlines are absolute as late submissions risk rejection. Popular shows may close bookings within weeks or months of the deadline. Yet, applying too far in advance means being forgotten by selection committees.
Time submissions according to show schedule are 8-12 months before the event for larger exhibitions. This gives time for discussions and other important meetings if clarification is needed, while still keeping your company fresh in assessors’ minds. Flexibility on booth types/locations also ups approval odds.
Seal the Deal with Payment:
Provisional acceptance does not guarantee your space until deposit/payment schedules are met. Contracts may demand a 50% deposit within 15-30 days, with a balance of 90-120 before move-in.
Strictly following up with documentation and funds per agreed terms flags your commitment to organizers. Missed deadlines could see your space re-released without refunds. Some complex trade show exhibit booths require 50-75% pre-approved to confirm layouts. Book early if incorporating special construction to lock in preferred areas.
Factor in Key Ancillary Expenses:
Booth rental or package costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Common extras to budget for maximum exposure include:
- Booth construction, furniture, carpet, and graphics from approved vendors.
- Shipping, storage, and return transportation of booth and exhibit materials.
- Shipping/receiving/unloading/installation/dismantling labor fees.
- Electricity, Wi-Fi, cleaning, lead retrieval, technology rentals.
- Travel, lodging, and per diem for staff attending the booth.
- Promotional giveaways, printed demos, samples, and inventory shipping.
- Lead follow-up, reporting, and marketing efforts post-show.
Thorough planning avoids underestimating expenses by thousands. Participation grants should finance the total scope of work.
Don’t Neglect Follow-Up Communication:
Even after contracts are in place, exhibitors must regularly engage organizers for updates. Key contact details change, so proactively confirm equipment/furniture order timelines and move-in/out logistics quarterly ahead of time.
Request promotional inclusion where possible on your custom exhibit design such as event map listings, lead retrieval integrations, etc. Being a responsive partner builds goodwill for future show cycles and improves organizer assistance on-site when it matters.
Above All –
Those willing to navigate the full process from strategic selection and competitive applications to detailed planning reap the richest ongoing rewards of industry exposure and sales-qualified connections. Understanding the factors explained here sets exhibitors up for successful bookings at their targeted must-attend events.