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Trade Show Checklist

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💡 Here is your ultimate trade show checklist to ensure your company’s success in your next trade show.

Are you preparing for an upcoming trade show? To ensure everything runs smoothly, it’s important to create and stick to a timeline so nothing is overlooked. That’s why I’ve developed this comprehensive Trade Show Checklist – because the more organized and prepared you are, the better!

In this guide, I’ll share my top tips for putting together a comprehensive trade show checklist that will ensure every detail is taken care of so you can get back to focusing on what matters most: creating an exceptional experience for your customers.

By following my advice, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that all the necessary steps have been completed before the big day arrives.

So let’s get started breaking down each step into manageable chunks so we can make sure nothing slips through the cracks!

❗ Check our guide on how to make your trade show booth stand out

Your Full Trade Show Checklist

Here are all the steps you need to take to ensure your next trade show is successful. This is probably the only trade show checklist you will ever need.

Make sure to check our trade show services:

Trade Show Checklist Step 1: Set Trade Show Goals and Objectives

Before embarking on any trade show, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind. What do you want to gain from the experience? Are you looking to generate leads, build brand awareness or showcase your products and services? Be sure to create measurable goals that are realistic for the duration of the event.

  • Planning is key when setting objectives — think about who will be attending and how they might benefit from what you’re offering. 
  • Research potential customers, their needs, and interests so that you can tailor your message accordingly. 
  • Consider any relevant competitors at the show; develop strategies to differentiate yourself while keeping an eye on what they’re doing too.

Having a plan won’t guarantee success but it will increase your chances of achieving desired outcomes. Setting up SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Bound) goals helps keep everyone focused and motivated throughout the process. It also means you’ll know exactly where progress has been made if things don’t go quite as planned.

Trade show checklist: Preparation before trade show
Preparation before trade show

Trade Show Checklist Step 2: Create Preparation Timeline

It’s important to create a timeline for your trade show preparation. Planning ahead of time can save you from costly mistakes, and will ensure that your event goes off without a hitch. 

Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

Before the Show:

  • Research the venue and attendee profiles
  • Create marketing materials
  • Set up displays or booths
  • Develop an entertainment plan

During the Show:

  • Staff registration tables
  • Manage giveaway items
  • Follow-up with potential customers

Organizing tasks in this way makes it easier to keep track of what needs to be done and when. It also ensures that every aspect of your trade show experience is taken into account before the big day arrives. 

❗ Don’t miss our trade show booth design tips

Trade Show Checklist Step 3: Set your Tradeshow Budget

Before you start planning your trade show, it’s important to set a budget. This way, you can make sure that all of the costs associated with attending are accounted for and don’t take up too much of your overall marketing funds. 

  1. Start by determining how many people will be attending the event from your company and what their travel expenses may look like. 
  2. Then, calculate what materials or equipment you’ll need to display at the booth as well as any promotional items you’re offering in exchange for contact information from attendees.
  3. Once these items have been taken into account, add them to other miscellaneous fees such as registration and shipping costs. 

By taking the time to create an itemized list of expected expenses before signing up for a trade show, you’ll be able to ensure that no surprises pop up down the line.

Now that you’ve gotten a good idea of what sort of financial commitment is necessary for your upcoming trade show appearance, it’s time to move on to venue selection. 

❗ Here is our guide on what to wear to a trade show.

Trade Show Checklist Step 4: Select your Tradeshow Venue

Once you have established your budget, it is time to find the ideal venue for your trade show. 

It’s important to research various venues before making a decision. Consider factors such as the size of the space, accessibility, parking availability, hotel accommodations nearby, and other amenities that may be beneficial during the event.

Here are some considerations in selecting your venue:

  • Evaluate the layout of the venue to ensure enough room for equipment and displays
  • Ensure attendees can flow through the area without congestion
  • Set up in advance to ensure a professional look on day one
  • Consider if the venue aligns with the goals and objectives of the trade show
  • Examine policies to ensure they fit with the goals
  • Assess if restrictions could prevent a successful outcome
  • Consider the kind of experience offered to attendees

Now that you’ve selected a suitable venue, it’s time to move on to booth design & layout. 

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Trade Show Checklist Step 5: Booth Design & Layout

Building an effective booth requires careful planning and attention to detail – from signage placement to furniture selection. Make sure your booth stands out from the crowd.

Here are some helpful tips for your booth design and layout:

  • Consider what you want to feature, how much space is available, and who will be staffing the booth. 
  • Select colors that are bright and eye-catching without being too overwhelming or busy. Incorporate elements like furniture, wall coverings, and lighting strategically for maximum impact. 
  • Incorporate products into the design of the booth in order to draw attention and create an inviting atmosphere.
  • Signage signs should be legible, clear, and informative, and placed at eye level for maximum visibility. Fonts should be easy to read and messages should be kept short but memorable. Interactive elements like trivia questions or contests can add an extra layer of engagement for attendees.
  • Select a practical and visually appealing flooring option that will not wear down over time due to heavy foot traffic. To complete the booth’s look, special touches such as plants, artwork, or tasteful music should be added.


These small details make all the difference in creating an attractive and engaging presentation area for potential clients while providing staff members with a comfortable workspace throughout the event itself. 

❗ Check our guide on how to sell at a trade show and our tips on selling at a trade show

Trade Show Checklist Step 6: Promotional Materials

Now that you’ve sorted out your booth design and layout, it’s time to think about what promotional materials will help showcase your brand effectively. Whether you’re selling a product or service, the right marketing materials can make all the difference in capturing attention and leaving an impression on potential customers. 

Here are some of the elements you’ll want to consider when putting together your exhibition package:

Print Materials

  • Business Cards
  • Make sure they have updated contact information and clearly display your company logo.
  • Flyers & Brochures
  • Outline the features and benefits of your products or services.
  • Include enticing visuals and relevant call-to-actions (CTAs).
  • Posters & Banners
  • Hang banners on walls for maximum visibility.
  • Design posters with strong visual appeal for optimal impact.

Digital Collateral

  • Display Monitors & Computers
  • Showcase videos about your products/services in high definition.
  • Demonstrate interactive software applications or websites.
  • Product Samples & Giveaways
  • Provide physical samples of key products so visitors can feel them first-hand.
  • Offer branded swag items like t-shirts, hats, mugs, etc., as giveaways to attract more people to your booth space.

Table Skirts & Custom Covers          

  • Use table skirts to add a professional touch while hiding any clutter underneath tables. 
  • Invest in custom covers featuring logos and visually interesting designs for trade show booths.        
  • Consider using backlit displays if there is no natural light available at the venue.  
  • Get creative with unique signage such as large infographics or attractive artwork portraying major messages about your business offerings – these can be used indoors or outdoors depending on space availability at an event site.

By having all these essential pieces ready before exhibiting at a tradeshow, you’ll be well prepared to present yourself confidently and create awareness among attendees about who you are and what value you offer them through your products and services.

❗ Make sure to check our article on how to have a successful trade booth.

Trade Show Checklist Step 7: Advertising & Publicity

The advertising and publicity of a trade show are paramount to its success. To ensure that your event stands out from the crowd, it’s important to start planning early.

Here are some tips for advertising your tradeshow:

  • Create an advertising plan with budgeting for print, radio, and television as well as online marketing efforts such as email campaigns and social media promotion. 
  • Your website should be up-to-date with information about the event including registration details, an exhibitor list, and more. 
  • Consider contacting local newspapers or magazines for coverage of the event.
  • Develop relationships with influencers in related industries to generate buzz for your event. Influencers such as bloggers and YouTube channels can help spread the word by the live streaming from the show floor and providing giveaways for attendees. 
  • Involve attendees pre-show by offering them incentives or rewards to register before certain dates; this also helps manage expectations on numbers at any given time during the event itself.
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Trade Show Checklist Step 8: Staff Requirements

Having done the hard work of planning your advertising and publicity, it’s time to turn to staff requirements. When assembling a team for your trade show, the key question is how many people do you need? A good rule of thumb is one member per every 500 square feet in booth space. If you’re exhibiting at an event with hundreds or thousands of other booths, consider having an additional person on hand to help as needed.

When selecting members of your team, here are some things you have to keep in mind:

  1. Focus on finding individuals who can generate leads and interact positively with potential customers while also being knowledgeable about your product or service. 
  2. You’ll want someone who has excellent communication skills and understands both customer needs and business objectives. 
  3. Provide each member with specific roles and responsibilities before they arrive so there are no surprises when they get there.

❗ Check our list of trade show exhibitor tips

Trade Show Checklist Step 9: Travel Arrangements

Traveling to a trade show can be an exciting but stressful process. It’s important to plan in advance so that you arrive on time and prepared.

Here are some helpful tips for arranging your travel:

  1. To ensure a successful trip, it is important to book all necessary transportation, such as flights and rental cars, in advance. Make sure to include any necessary insurance coverage and confirm times with the airline or rental car company before leaving. Additionally, booking accommodations near the venue could help save money.
  2. Also, it is important to only bring the necessary items. This includes business cards, brochures, signage, other materials for display, tech necessities such as laptops and chargers, extension cords if needed, comfortable shoes, and a budget for meals if food is not provided.
  3. Prior to arriving at a destination city/town, it is wise to research local transportation options such as buses or trains. This will make getting around easier and more cost-effective compared to taking cabs and will help reduce stress upon arrival, allowing for easy exploration of the area.

Organizing these details ahead of time makes traveling more enjoyable so that nothing stands in your way come showtime.

Trade show checklist: The PGS trade show booth during exhibition
The PGS trade show booth during exhibition

Trade Show Checklist Step 10: Pre-Show Networking

Attending any trade show is a great opportunity to network and make connections. Before the event, you should research who will be attending and reach out to those that align with your business objectives. 

  1. Start by connecting on social media, offering insight into how they can benefit from working with you. You could also send emails or set up face-to-face meetings at the event itself.
  2. Ensure that you prepare for conversations in advance. Have an elevator pitch ready that concisely explains what makes your company unique and why potential partners should work with you. 
  3. Create material such as product brochures, business cards, and other marketing materials to distribute during your conversations.
  4. At the event itself, don’t forget to actively listen. Take time to understand what each person has to say about their own business goals and do not immediately think of ways you can benefit them. Listening first gives everyone involved more confidence when discussing ideas further down the line. 
  5. Follow up after the event with people that caught your attention so you stay top of mind until next year’s show arrives.

❗ Don’t miss our trade show booth design tips

Trade Show Checklist Step 11: Onsite Logistics Management

The most important step of the trade show process is proper onsite logistics management. This will ensure that everything goes smoothly during the event and that you have a successful outcome. 

  1. To get started, make sure to plan out your booth layout in advance. Think about how you want it to look and consider factors such as traffic flow, lighting, signage, etc.
  2. Additionally, be sure to provide adequate staffing for your booth; this includes having enough staff members available throughout the entire duration of the show.
  3. You’ll also need to coordinate transportation and storage services for all materials needed at the show. Depending on where you’re exhibiting and what type of items you’ll be bringing, different transport solutions may be required – so take time to research this in advance. 
  4. Finally, double-check with the venue beforehand to ensure they can accommodate any special requests or requirements that you might have.

Good preparation is key when managing onsite logistics for a trade show. With careful planning and attention to detail, your team can ensure things run smoothly before, during, and after the event. Don’t forget to review every aspect of your setup prior to arriving at the venue to guarantee success. 

❗ Check our article on reasons why you should attend trade shows

Trade Show Checklist Step 12 :Post-Show Follow Up

Once the trade show is over, it’s time to follow up with leads. Connecting with those in attendance can be a great way to build relationships and nurture potential business opportunities. 

  1. Send personalized thank you emails as soon as possible after the event ends to remind people of who you are and what your company offers. Include contact information for follow-up questions or further information.
  2. The next step in the process is to set up sales pitches if necessary. It is important to stay organized, take notes during calls or meetings, and send timely follow-ups afterward. Doing these things will help make sure that no one is neglected and that all conversations are properly tracked.
  3. It is important to build relationships with attendees at shows, but it is also important to track the show’s effectiveness by collecting data and feedback from visitors. Gathering this kind of information can be helpful in understanding which shows work best for your organization in the future.

Having an efficient post-show strategy in place will guarantee better results down the line while helping save time and resources along the way – paving the path towards success at future events! 

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Trade Show Checklist Step 13: Evaluation and Analysis Of Tradeshow Results

Once the show is over, it’s time to analyze and evaluate the results. This will help in understanding what worked and what didn’t so that improvements can be made for future trade shows. 

Here are a few things to consider when evaluating your success:

  1. Review all notes taken throughout the event – These should include who you met with, details of conversations, feedback on products/services offered, etc.
  2. Analyze data collected from leads – Review how many leads were generated at each booth or area within the show, as well as which ones resulted in sales or other desired outcomes.
  3. Document all activities – Make sure every activity during the event has been recorded and documented properly; this includes everything from marketing materials distributed to press releases sent out beforehand.


This evaluation phase is essential in understanding how effective your trade show was and where there might be room for improvement next year. It helps ensure that any changes implemented going forward actually have an impact on overall success. 

With detailed documentation of all activities associated with the event, proper analysis can take place to determine if efforts had a positive outcome or not. 

Ultimately, this information should be used to create goals for future events and guide strategic decisions about participating in upcoming trade shows. 

❗ Here are our trade show attendee tips.

Trade Show Checklist Step 14: Documentation Of All Activities

Documenting all activities in the process of planning a trade show is important. Every step taken should be written down and kept for later reference. This way, any mistakes that may have been made can be identified quickly and corrected accordingly. It also provides an opportunity to revisit successful strategies at future events.

Here are things to document:

  • It’s essential to document details such as contact information, budget items, timelines, and goals. Additionally, it helps to keep track of potential exhibitors who are interested in participating in the show or sponsorships. 
  • Track expenses related to travel, meals, entertainment, and other costs associated with organizing a trade show. This could help save money in the long run by preventing overspending on these things.


The documentation of all aspects involved helps build a history of successes and failures during each event. This allows you to better analyze what works well and what needs improvement when preparing for the next one. An effective strategy would be assigning someone solely responsible for creating reports after each show so that everyone involved has access to them easily whenever needed.

Trade show checklist: The Azumi Mobile trade show booth with phones exhibition
The Azumi Mobile trade show booth with phones exhibition

Trade Show Checklist Step 15: Prevention Of Repeat Mistakes

It’s easy to make mistakes when organizing a trade show. But, with the right planning and preparation, it is possible to prevent them from happening again. The first step in this process is understanding what went wrong during your last event. After you have identified any problems that occurred, begin implementing solutions for each one.

These preventions could be the following:

  • Creating new processes or procedures for tasks like setting up displays, handling customer inquiries, and distributing promotional materials. 
  • Considering investing in technology such as software programs or other tools that can help streamline operations and reduce errors. 
  • Reviewing feedback from participants about their experience at the previous event so that you can determine areas of improvement for future shows.
  • Asking for help if needed. Reach out to colleagues who have expertise in specific areas or hire professionals who specialize in trade show management. Having an experienced team by your side will ensure that all aspects of the event are handled properly and efficiently – leading to fewer mistakes down the line!

By taking these steps ahead of time, you can rest assured knowing you’ve done everything possible to avoid making the same blunders twice at your next trade show outing. With careful attention paid to detail and proper forethought put into place, success is sure to follow!

❗ Learn how to have a successful trade show booth with this guide.

Trade Show Checklist Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the most often asked questions regarding trade show planning checklists.

  • What should I include in my booth layout and design?

    Your booth layout and design should include bright, eye-catching colors without being too overwhelming. Strategically incorporate product displays, wall coverings, lighting, and furniture to maximize visual impact. Ensure the signage is clear, legible, informative and placed at eye level. Consider adding interactive elements as well to engage attendees.

  • How can I make the most of advertising and publicity?

    To maximize advertising and publicity, create an advertising plan with budget allocation across print, radio, TV and online channels. Update event information on your website and consider reaching out to local media for coverage. Use influencers to promote it on social media and offer incentives for early registration.

  • What staff members do I need at my booth?

    Have at least one staff member per 500 sq ft of booth space. Look for staff who can generate leads, communicate effectively and have strong knowledge about your offerings. Give each staff member clear roles and responsibilities before the show.

  • How do I follow up effectively after the show?

    After the show, send personalized emails immediately to make an impression. Set up sales meetings with promising leads, take detailed notes and send prompt follow ups. Also gather feedback and data from visitors to analyze the show’s effectiveness for your business. This helps build relationships for the future.

  • How do I make the most of networking opportunities?

     Before attending, research who else is participating and set up meetings during downtimes at the event. Have an elevator pitch ready explaining your business offerings concisely. Bring adequate customized promotional materials to share during conversations. Actively listen rather than immediately pushing a sale. Follow up after to further discussions.

❗ Check our trade show giveaways ideas

Your Trade Show Checklist is Ready. Are you?

Attending a trade show can be an incredibly valuable opportunity for business growth, brand awareness, lead generation and more. However, success doesn’t happen by accident – it requires thorough preparation and strategic planning.

By following this comprehensive trade show checklist, you can ensure no detail gets overlooked. Give yourself plenty of time so you aren’t rushed when showtime arrives. Map out goals, create timelines, set budgets, handle logistics, promote the event, train your staff and much more. With the proper groundwork laid, your booth will stand out from the competition.

The team at Everything Tradeshows knows firsthand how to maximize your trade show presence. If you need guidance bringing this checklist to life or want to discuss our turnkey rental kits, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer complimentary consultations to assess your needs and provide recommendations tailored to your business objectives and budget.

Contact us today to get the conversation started. Our trade show specialists look forward to helping you prepare for your next successful industry event!


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