What is a Trade Show?

A trade show is an event created with the intent to bring together members of a particular industry to share, demonstrate and discuss their latest products and services. Major trade shows usually take place in large convention centers in populated cities and typically last several days. Local business to business trade shows are smaller and might be held at a local arena or hotel to allow area businesses to establish connections with local prospects.
The main purpose of a trade show is to bring members
together of a similar trade or industry.
Some trade shows, which could also be referred to as a fair, trade exhibition, or expo, limit attendees and exhibitors to only those of the industry. For example, the Consumer Electronics Show, tries to limit attendees to professionals in the electronics and technology fields. However, America’s Largest RV Show restricts attendance to industry members for the first few of days but then opens its doors to the public for the remaining time.

What Happens at Trade Shows

Trade shows provide an exhibit space for your company to showcase your products or services. Once at the show, you’ll receive a schedule of the days happening, such as workshops or presentations featuring speakers knowledgable in your industry. There are opportunites to interact with the media during networking events to promote your business online or on TV. Private or VIP exhibitor events are also held (for an additional fee) and awards presentations on the last day crowning “Best of Show”.

Exhibiting at trade shows provide a different setting to meet potential new customers, reinforce existing relationships with dealers and distributors. It’s essentially the ultimate in networking events.

Attending a trade show allows you to become familiar with the latest and greatest in your industry. It also gives you the opportunity to snag some good deals with special “show pricing” or educate yourself on the newest trends coming up.

Costs to Participate in a Trade Show

The cost to exhibit at or simply attend a trade show vary greatly, typical expenses include.

For Exhibitors

  • Booth space rental fee
  • Design and production of a professional trade show display
  • Shipping costs
  • Costs to unload booth and move onto show flow, called drayage
  • Travel and accommodations for booth staff
  • Marketing materials, handouts, giveaways, samples, promotional items

For Attendees

Attendees still have expenses, but they are a fraction of what it costs to exhibit. Attendee expenses would include an attendance fee to get in the show, along with any travel and accomodations for staff in attendance. This is a fraction of the cost to set up a booth at the show so often times smaller companies choose to simply attend the show and network.

Popular Trade Show Venues

America’s 5 Largest Convention Centers to Host Your Next Event

    • McCormick Place, Chicago, IL.
    • Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.
    • Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.
    • Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, KY.
    • New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.

Find Trade Shows Now!

TOP 14 Noteable Trade Shows happening this month:

Washington Auto Show
www.washingtonautoshow.com
APR 05 – APR 14, 2019
Washington, DC
Attendees: 950,000
Exhibitors: 125

National Association of Broadcasters – NAB Show
www.nabshow.com
APR 06 – APR 11, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 89,313
Exhibitors: 1,581

Craft Brewers & BrewExpo America®
www.craftbrewersconference.com
APR 08 – APR 11, 2019
Denver, CO
Attendees: 13,000
Exhibitors: 800

Fire Department Instructors Conference – FDIC
www.fdic.com/index.html
APR 08 – APR 13, 2019
Indianapolis, IN
Attendees: 28,061
Exhibitors: 821

Aviation Week MRO Americas
mroamericas.aviationweek.com/en/home.html
APR 09 – APR 11, 2019
Atlanta, GA
Attendees: 10,000
Exhibitors: 800

ISC West – Security Solutions
www.iscwest.com
APR 10 – APR12, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 36,771
Exhbitors: 1,009

Specialty Coffee Conference & Exhibition
www.coffeeexpo.org
APR 11 – APR 14, 2019
Boston, MA
Attendees: 8,025
Exhibitors: 425

American College of Physicians – Internal Medicine – ACP
www.annualmeeting.acponline.org
APR 11 – APR 13, 2019
Philadelphia, PA
Attendees: 10,000
Exhibitors: 325

National Science Teachers Association – Annual – NSTA
www.s6.goeshow.com/nsta/national/2019/index.cfm
APR 11 – APR 14, 2019
St. Louis, MO
Attendees: 14,000
Exhbitors: 500

Army Aviation Association of America – AAAA
www.quad-a.org/19Summit
APR 14 – APR 16, 2019
Nashville, TN
Attendees: 8,000
Exhibitors: 300

New York International Auto Show
www.autoshowny.com
APR 19 – APR 28, 2019
New York, NY
Attendees: 1,000,000
Exhibitors: 185

National Catholic Educational Association – NCEA
www.ncea.org/NCEA2019
APR 23 – APR 25, 2019
Chicago, IL
Attendees: 4,965
Exhibitors: 443

International Sign Expo – ISA
www.signexpo.org
APR 24 – APR 26, 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Attendees: 20,140
Exhibitors: 589

National Rifle Association – NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits
www.nraam.org
APR 26 – APR 28, 2019
Indianapolis, IN
Attendees: 87,154
Exhibitors: 838

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Our company is a family owned and operated company and as such, we have deep-seated family values and we focus on quality and on offering our clients a top choice of eye-catching and appealing tradeshow exhibits and displays. If you are interested in purchasing a portable pop up trade show display for your next trade show or event, contact us here!

Don’t forget to LIKE US on Facebook to see more of our portable displays and banner stand options!

 

Fun, Fresh Ideas to Step Up Your Trade Show Game

Trade shows might be for business, but they don’t have to be all business. It’s time to up your trade show game to make your investment worth your time, increase return and finally get people to engage in your brand.

Most people describe a trade show like this: people wandering up and down aisles glancing at booths with no rhyme or reason as to exactly why they are even there. Some of them were told by their boss to go make an appearance at the trade show, while others went there on their own free will. No matter the reason they are there, you need to remind them why they went. There are tons of ideas out there to help you embrace new business and bring new excitement to your brand. Don’t get comfortable and continue doing the same old thing. It’s time to shake things up and take your trade show experience to the next level with these fun, fresh ideas.

Up Your Marketing Game

The right marketing before a trade show event has the ability to get people talking, sharing, and engaging. You can go all in or stick with a budget. And with the addition of social media, organizations large and small are finally embracing before the show marketing.

Create some hype before you arrive on the trade show floor by utilizing a partial reveal just to get people talking. For instance, include a statement in your marketing that mentions something huge will be revealed at the show but only to those who visit your booth. What’s the big surprise? Well thats is up to you. It could be:

  • A big company announcement
  • A new sponsor or collaboration reveal
  • A prize for a contest winner

The whole point is to cause curiosity and draw attention to your booth at the show. The best thing that can happen to you at a trade show is a crowd!

Marketing Made Fun

Here’s where the fun comes in. It’s all about involving your attendees and making them want to participate in marketing your business. Here’s the trick though – it has to be easy! If it’s complicated, most people won’t engage. Try to stick to simple ideas that no one can say no to.

Humor: Create a “hidden” camera scenario where something unexpected happens and you record your attendees’ reactions to things. You could even stream their reactions in real time if you have the right type of audience.

Scrolling Message Board: Utilizing a large screen within your booth space or in the middle of the trade show floor, encourage attendees to post on social media about your company at the show, using a certain hashtag or emoji to get on the message board. You’ll be surprised how this will motivate people to do some silly things to get on that message board. All the while, they are promoting your brand or company with a simple post on Facebook or Twitter!

Interactive Walls: It could be as simple as creating one out of post-it notes, a whiteboard or chalkboard surface. Propose a question and ask people to respond or invite them to post their business card to show that they were there. When they show is over, you could post a photo to boast how successful your show was and ask if they can locate their contribution.

Mini Contests: Throughout the day, host quick contests to draw in with attendees walking by your booth. Make themes based on well known games, like would you rather or simon says. Your prizes should be worth their time so you’ll not only draw in willing participants, but you’ll also create buzz and give people a reason to stop by your booth.

Photo Booth: Trust us, photo booths aren’t just for weddings! As each attendee walks onto your exhibit floor, give them a mask or a prop with your booth number written on the back telling them to visit your photo booth. They will be so intrigued, that they’ll have to stop by your booth for a photo. A little bit of fun not only entertains it serves as a great conversation starter as well.

Offer A Mid-Show Snack: Just as the mid-day slump rolls around, so will you offering up a mid-day goodie! Stroll the exhibit hall with an an ice cream cart or a popcorn cart. Just make sure your snack offering is portable and branded with your logo. That way you can serve a refreshing snack throughout the exhibition floor, with the intention of enticing people to visit your booth.

In Conclusion

One of the best ways to switch things up at your next trade show is to create an unexpected experience. The goal is to condition your audience to expect the unexpected. Surprises are some of the most memorable aspects of life so take advantage of this even at a trade show.

Trade shows can either be really fun and memorable or really boring and not worth your time. The decision is yours. But one thing we’ve learned from our previous trade show experience is this – we should all embrace the trade show with a smile and a laugh.

Trade Show Checklist – 26 Must Haves!

The day has finally come. You’ve been prepping for your trade show for what seems like an eternity. You arrive at the venue, start unpacking and BOOM. You realize you forgot something! Showing up unprepared has got to be the worst feeling especially when it comes to something you thought you were prepared for. Lucky for you we’ve enlisted the help of our fellow exhibitors to compile this handy trade show checklist.

Trade Shoe Checklist Download

DOWNLOAD NOW: Printable Trade Show Checklist

And trust us, we know it’s easy to forget the small things on your way out the door since your biggest concern should be your trade show display. Keep our simple trade show checklist handy for future use. It will be a lifesaver and you’ll make friends with everyone around you since you’ll be the prepared exhibitor!

Booth Items:

  1. Signage – If your trade show signage is separate from your display, don’t leave part of your company behind.
  2. Promotional Items – Brochures, postcards, flyers, handouts, samples etc.
    Business Cards – Bring plenty to hand out to as many qualified leads as you can. More is better.
  3. Business Card Holders – Simply because it looks much neater than a stack of cards thrown on the table.
  4. Giveaways – Make sure you choose something that makes sense or is relatable to your company, and just don’t give it away to anyone walking by – make sure they are worthy.
  5. Containers to hold your giveaways – Basket, candy dish, pen cup, etc.
  6. Bowl for collected business cards – Just an easy way to keep everyone’s information in one place to take back to the office for follow ups.
  7. Name Tags – Don’t rely on the event to give you a lanyard name tag. Everyone wants to know your name as well as what company you are with.
  8. Table Linens – Let’s be honest, those trade show venue tables can look pretty rough. And it’s a bonus if your table cover has your logo on it!
  9. Presentation/Video/Media – You worked hard on that video or powerpoint presentation, so don’t forget it.

Office Supplies:

  1. Pens/Pencils/Sharpies – Yes, you might be at a trade show where there’s an unlimited supply of pens from other exhibitors, but just bring your own.
  2. Scissors – It’s almost inevitable that something will need to be cut during set up or tear down.
  3. Notepads & Post Its – Good for taking notes or if someone else forgot their business card you can jot down their information for a follow-up.
  4. Rubber Bands/Paper Clips – Don’t lose all those business cards you just collected. Plus you can bend paper clips and use them for the most unconventional purposes.
  5. Stapler – The stapler can come in handy to tack all sorts of unsuspecting things together.
  6. Tape…all the tape! – Scotch, Duct, Masking, Packing, Double Sided – any kind of tape you can think of, you’ll need it.

Technology:

  1. Laptop/Monitor/TV/iPad – The bigger the better!
  2. Chargers – With constant use, devices are sure to run out of juice so make sure you pack all necessary chargers. And this includes your phone charger!
  3. Cords to Connect Computer to TV/Monitor – Nothing worse than the moment you realize you’re missing your HDMI cord because it’s at home in your living room.
  4. Extension Cords/Power Strip– Outlets are shared between exhibit booths and it always seems you need just one more outlet. Plus, in the event you  want to place your TV or monitor in a location not so close to an outlet, you’ll at least have a backup plan.

Other Supplies:

  1. Safety Pins – Two words…wardrobe malfunction.
  2. Snacks – No one wants to feel “hangry” or “parched” during a trade show. Quick snacks will do the trick to take the edge off.
  3. Gum/Breath Mints – We would suggest skipping the onions or garlic for lunch and always good for after your coffee break.
  4. Hand Sanitizer – Think of the hundreds of hands you’ll shake. Enough said.
  5. Zip Ties – For all you OCD peeps out there, these help keep computer wires looking nice and tidy.
  6. Back up Shoes (if you’re wearing heels) – Comfortable shoes are so worth it, especially when the show is over and you have the dreaded job of packing up your trade show display.
  7. First-Aid Kit – Well, you don’t bleed all over your prospects.

21 Things You’ve Probably Done at a Trade Show (You Might Never Do Anywhere Else)

If you’ve ever been a trade show exhibitor, not just an attendee, there are some things that happen during the long trade show day you may never consider doing in any other business situation.

While many of these behaviors might seem normal to the seasoned exhibitor, others might as well be considered “weird” to anyone else who has never experienced the trade show floor. We decided it would be fun to collaborate and came up with short list of (funny) situations you may recognize. Check them out and let us know if you have more to add!

  1. Wear the same outfit as your co-worker
  2. Nonchalantly walk by another booth and grab anything on the table that appears to have a value (candy, hats, pens, mugs…)
  3. Chat with an ungodly amount strangers, sometimes about nothing at all
  4. Gaze over at the double-padded carpet in booth #828 because your choice of shoes were for fashion and not comfort
  5. Party until the wee hours of the morning with co-workers and not ever talk about it after
  6. Ask a complete stranger for a breath mint and blame it on the free coffee
  7. Pretend the person you are talking to doesn’t need the breath mint more than you
  8. Act completely interested in small talk for hours on end
  9. Complain about how much you loathe setting up and taking down your booth
  10. Be completely convinced that a 15 minute conversation will lead to your biggest sale
  11. Explain, once again, to your family that it’s a “business trip” and not a vacation
  12. Sneak off to the bathroom just for quiet time
  13. Hide behind your booth curtain to scarf down your box lunch
  14. Try and find a way not to stare at everyone’s name badge before introducing yourself
  15. Convince yourself that the 228 business cards collected are solely interested in your business and not the giveaway
  16. Re-introduce yourself to the same person three times
  17. Politely take brochures from anyone and everyone walking by because you can’t say no then discard of them after the show when no one’s looking
  18. Have a permanent smile on your face to the point your cheeks hurt
  19. Stand awkwardly alone in your booth when your co-worker decides they want to walk around
  20. Be shocked at how quickly your booth is to take down compared to when you set it up
  21. Stress because you can’t find your business cards then remember throwing them in the bottom of your the display case at the end of your last trade show

10 Major Trade Shows in February

Trade show season 2018 is definitely in full swing! And quite possibly the hardest decision this year might be choosing which trade shows your company would benefit from attending. If you ever unsure which trade shows are occuring in your area or accross the United States, you can always start your research using our Trade Show Calendar. You can narrow down your search by City, Country, Industry and even Month. Give it a try today!

Consider these TOP 10 trade shows happening this month:

Golf Industry Show
Show Dates: February 3-8, 2018
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX

www.golfindustryshow.com/trade-show

With hundreds of exhibitors spanning thousands of square feet of exhibit space, the GIS trade show gives superintendents, owners, technicians and other golf facility professionals the opportunity to network and discuss the latest products and services in turf and facility care. The show floor also includes special features such as Inside the Ropes, presentations from GCSAA TV, free education on the show floor, the New Product Showcase and the GIS Silent Auction.

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TCEA Convention & Exposition
Show Dates: February 5-9, 2018
Austin Convention Center
Austin, TX

www.convention.tcea.org

The 2018 TCEA Convention & Exposition brings thousands of educators together with the knowledge and resources they need to transform The 2018 TCEA Convention & Exposition brings thousands of educators together with the knowledge and resources they need to transform the future of teaching and learning. Campus and district-level administrators, curriculum and technology leaders, teachers, librarians, and champions of ed tech will all discover innovative ways to engage students, enhance curriculum, and increase productivity.

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National Pavement Expo 2018
Show Dates: February 7-10, 2018
Huntington Convention Center
Cleveland, OH

www.nationalpavementexpo.com/show/

For over 30 years, National Pavement Expo brings vendors and contractors together who make their living from asphalt and concrete paving, sealcoating, striping, sweeping, crack repair, pavement repair, and snow removal to network with other paving professionals, attend industry workshops, and learn new ideas at our leadership boot camp.

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OFFPRICE Show
Show Dates: February 10-13, 2018
Sands Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.offpriceshow.com/lasvegas/

The OFFPRICE Show is the shopping destination for smart retailers who want fashionable apparel, footwear and accessories, at prices that can’t be beat. Find out what thousands of successful retailers know and register to attend our next trade show.

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MAGIC Marketweek
Show Dates: February 12-14, 2018
Las Vegas & Mandalay Bay Convention Centers
Las Vegas, NV

www.ubmfashion.com/shows/magic?q=shows/magic-february

Every February and August, the retail industry convenes in Las Vegas for the United States’ most comprehensive fashion marketplace – MAGIC. Here you will find the latest in apparel, footwear, accessories, and manufacturing. From the height of advanced contemporary luxury brands, to the latest trends in fast fashion, MAGIC fuels the business of fashion.

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ProGreen Expo
Show Dates: February 13-16, 2018
Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO

www.progreenexpo.com

ProGreen EXPO is the only green industry conference in the Rocky Mountain Region of its kind. More than 6,000 green industry professionals gather every year at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver to gain vital knowledge and skills to improve business, educate employees and discover the latest information for the upcoming season. Since 1996, ProGreen EXPO has grown into the place where the green industry meets. Through education, networking, and skill-building, we ensure that our industry remains an asset to communities and an engine of job creation.

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World AG Expo
Show Dates: February 13-15, 2018
International Agri-Center
Tulare, CA

www.worldagexpo.com

We are here to encourage the newest conversations, inventions and innovations in the world of ag so that the dealer, the producer and the consumer can all come out on top. World Ag Expo continues to be a marketplace and a celebration of all things ag. When our exhibitors succeed, our attendees and farmers transform their operation, and consumers all over the world are positively impacted by the increased efficiency and the continuous re-evaluation of ‘what we’ve always done’.

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Toy Fair NY
Show Dates: February 17-20, 2018
Jacob J. Javits Convention Center
NYC. NY

www.toyfairny.com

Toy Fair 2017 opened its doors to thousands of registered global play professionals to explore a record-breaking 443,000 net square feet of exhibit space filled with hundreds of thousands of toys, games and youth entertainment products. Toy Fair is produced by The Toy Association™, Inc., the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages. The Toy Association’s more than 950 members account for approximately 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market of $26B.

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Wedding & Portrait Photographers Int’l Conference
Show Dates: February 24-28, 2018
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.wppiexpo.com

The annual Wedding & Portrait Photographers Int’l Conference + Expo specializes in the creative and business aspects of wedding and portrait photography and filmmaking. Each year, thousands of professional and aspiring photographers and filmmakers attend WPPI to network, learn new techniques from industry leaders, build new relationships to grow their business, experience new products, gear, and solutions from the world’s top photo suppliers, improve their productivity, and enjoy the many attractions in Las Vegas.

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EXHIBITOR LIVE
Show Dates: February 25-March 1, 2018
Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV

www.exhibitoronline.com/live/2018/index.asp

EXHIBITORLIVE is the Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketing Conference. This five-day educational event features 180+ sessions and workshops with the industry’s largest exhibit hall, including nearly 300 exhibitors. This is where you will find the latest products and resources shaping the future of exhibiting and corporate event programs. The 6,000 exhibit and event managers, marketing experts and communications specialists who attend our show are serious learners who want to survive their job, improve their performance and master new strategic initiatives.

Top 5 Trade Shows in January

It’s a new year and that means a new trade show season! To some this is an exciting time – however, to others it might seem like a daunting task choosing which trade shows would be best for your company to attend. If you’re starting from square 1, check out our  Trade Show Calendar to start your research journey. Easily narrow down your search for a specific show, specific city or state and even search for trade shows just within your industry. You’ll also find important information such as the number of attendees, number of exhibitors and even the square fottage for each of the trade shows listed. Your list of trade shows will even has a link to more information making it even easier for you to find out more information on how to sign up as an exhibitor.

Consider these TOP 5 trade shows happening this month:

International Builders’ Show
Show Dates: January 9-11, 2018
Orange County Convention Center – Orlando
Orlando, FL
IBS 2017
The International Builders’ Show is organized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and is the largest light construction building industry tradeshow in the United States.

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Kitchen/Bath Industry Show
Show Dates: January 9-11, 2018
Orange County Convention Center – Orlando
Orlando, FL
KBIS 2018
KBIS, in conjunction with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is an inspiring, interactive platform that showcases the latest industry products, trends and technologies. KBIS is the voice of the kitchen and bath industry and has been for 50 years.

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Consumer Electronics Show
Show Dates: January 9-12, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV
CES 2018
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a major technology-related Trade Show held yearly in January in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. While the CES is not open to the public, the sponsored show is known for its preview of trendy products and new product announcements.

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SHOT Show
Show Dates: January 23-26, 2018
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, NV
Shot Show 2018
The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) and Conference is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. The SHOT Show is owned and sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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International Production and Processing Expo
Show Dates: January 30 – February 1, 2018
Georgia World Congress – Atlanta
Atlanta, GA
IPPE 2018
The International Production & Processing Expo is the world’s largest annual poultry, meat and feed industry event of its kind. A wide range of international decision-makers attend this annual event to network and become informed on the latest technological developments and issues facing the industry.

 

Once you’ve narrowed down your trade show selection, remember you also have to make sure your choosing the right trade show displays for your needs. Contact AffordableDisplays.com to insure your image will represent you perfectly as well.