Below is a checklist to help you plan and prepare for your next trade show.

Booth Planning

  • Contract with Show Management for booth space. Pay deposit.
  • Submit EAC (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor) Form to show contractor
  • Contact exhibit house for floor plans, list of equipment needed
  • Submit Electrical order to show contractor
  • Order any specialized lighting – like gobos, spotlights, ballyhoos
  • Order carpet, rental furniture, bag and coat racks
  • Order phone lines, internet connection
  • Order card reader
  • Order wastebaskets, booth cleaning service
  • Order water cooler, catering if needed
  • Order any special handling, like overhead hanging signs, from show management
  • Get permission for unusually large or tall signage.
  • Place flower/plant order
  • Order AV equipment
    • Flat-panel monitors
    • Computers
    • Modems
    • Printers
    • Sound systems
    • Microphones and lavaliers
    • Speakers

Booth Graphics

  • Graphic Panels, vinyl signage, posters
  • Dura-trans (back-lit transparencies)
  • Banners, flags
  • Booth property repairs, décor
  • Desktop signage, plastic sign holders


  • New product brochures
  • White papers
  • Data Sheets
  • Catalogs & price lists
  • Ad reprints
  • Business cards for new employees
  • Schedule meetings with key industry analysts and editors
  • Build Press Kits and press releases for booth meetings and show press room

Public Relations

  • Order "gifts" for key industry analysts and editors with whom you have
  • scheduled meetings
  • Have product samples available for media testing and review before and during show
  • Line up company executives for at-show media broadcasts
  • Get CEO or company executive a speaker role at conference (long lead-time)

Show Logistics

  • Place staff housing order
  • Make transportation, rental car and airline reservations
  • Order name badges from Show Management
  • Contract with carrier for shipping materials from company
  • Contract with Van Line for shipping exhibit booth property
  • Arrange for staff dinner
  • Order booth giveaways, bags, gifts
  • Contract for photographer (can be arranged through show management, or you can hire your own talent)
  • Order booth uniforms
  • Arrange for booth "talent" if needed
  • Create demos, PowerPoint customer presentations
  • Schedule pre-show staff training meeting
  • Create show binder for all company attendees which includes staff cell phone numbers, city and convention center maps, booth diagrams, restaurant lists, hotel diagrams, flight arrangements for all attendees, press releases, city information/sights any information that company attendees might need during the event

Advertising and promotional activities

  • Run ad in show program
  • Web-site ads on show web site, major sponsor sites, your own company site
  • Investigate sponsorship opportunities at convention center/expo like badge lanyards, shuttle bus signs, attendee badge inserts, bellybands, message center sponsorship, coffee station sponsorships, attendee show bag sponsorship, kiosk advertising panels, etc. Each show will have different opportunities based on the city location and show management
  • Send pre-show mailer to attendee list
  • Run ad in national trade magazine for month of event (often 3 months lead time)
  • Explore off-premise promotional opportunities, like local transit ads, in-hotel closed-loop TV ads, sponsored entertainment events, graphic decals on rental cars, moveable billboards, banners, signs, giant inflatables, etc