Trade Show Planning Season

Jennifer Nietz - Director of Operations

It’s that time of year – trade show season! We find that the time period between April and September seems to be heavy in trade show exhibition and attendance. There is a lot that goes into trade show planning- or should I say, should go into planning. A couple of things to consider:

  1. Have a trade show strategy and yearly trade show plan; plan strategically. Attend where you need to attend and exhibit where you need to exhibit. Sometimes you don’t always have to exhibit to get value.
  2. ROI – you should get ROI out of your trade shows. That means you should have a pre-show plan to connect with attendees before, as well as post show plan to connect after.
  3. Booth refresh – if you are going to exhibit, exhibit with quality. Research the latest in trade show booth design and prepare to create an appealing booth experience for the attendees.
  4. Network and Entertain – Host a cocktail hour or breakfast for key attendees and invite your current customers to attend. Use this time to connect and build relationships; and zipper current relationships.

Trade shows are appearing to be on the increase, and organizations and trade associations are starting to put energy and funding into the industry again. The key driver for this is the fact that corporate profits and marketing budgets are improving; therefore, supporting higher revenues in the trade show and conference planning market. Another key driver is actually domestic trips by US residents; the below graph shows a steep incline of domestic trips which is a great sign for not only trade shows, but our economy.

The industry snap shot shows the expected annual growth over the next five years to be 2.7% annualized growth, with revenue of $12.8B.

The key industries that will be driving trade shows over the next five years include:

  • Product Manufacturing – used to highlight new products
  • Car & Automobile Manufacturing in the US – car show to preview new models
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services in the US – used for continuing education events, professional development programs and networking for professional occupations
  • Professional Organizations – organize shows for their members
  • Consumers in the US – households comprise a major component of attendance at many trade shows, including home and garden shows and wedding exhibitions

I will end this month’s industry article by saying happy planning and good luck capturing your next strategic partners at an upcoming trade show.

Questions or comments? Please contact Jennifer Nietz at