Trade Show Planning Checklist

custom trade show exhibits

Planning for a trade show (especially your first) can be complicated and overwhelming. There are a multitude of deadlines to keep track of, details to plan, and logistics to be figured out. Getting some help with these things is a big reason why many companies hire an exhibit company to help with trade show planning. We at P.O.P. Exhibits Inc. hope to make the process a bit easier on you by helping with design questions, deadline reminders, and paperwork assistance when needed.

We love it when our clients plan early for their shows! Not only does planning early help everything go more seamlessly, but it also helps keep costs down. When rush shipping and production costs can be avoided, everyone is happier. We don’t enjoy charging our clients rush charges. When planning comes down to the last minute it’s stressful for EVERYONE.

If you’re planning for your trade show yourself, setting goals to manage all the elements and deadlines is critical for success. We’ve compiled a list to help guide you through everything involved:

First Steps: 6-12 months from show

□ Set your budget. Setting a goal for your return on investment (ROI) is also a good idea. Figure out how you’ll calculate your ROI. Research the show by talking to prior participants about their experiences, if needed. 

□ Set your goal. Why are you attending the show? Are you debuting a new product, generating leads, making sales, increasing brand exposure, or meeting with existing clients? 

□ Identify your booth space needs and reserve your space early! Good locations go quickly. Research the show venue to find high-traffic locations that’ll give you maximum exposure.

Next steps: 3-6 months from show

□ Review show paperwork and make note of deadlines. 

□ Start designing your trade show booth. Determine the elements you need (conference space, graphics, monitors, workstations, etc.) so that you have a solid idea of where to start. If you’re working with us, this process can take a while or be relatively quick! We have clients who know exactly what they want right away, and others who go back and forth with alterations before settling on the perfect design. Either way, it’s always easier (and less stressful for everyone) when we have ample time to get the design perfect!

□ Plan and prepare your booth graphics. Once we settle on a design, we’ll provide your designer with specs for preparing graphic files. We’ll give you a deadline and provide reminders. Planning early helps avoid rush fees.

□ Write a concise but compelling sales message that gets across the key points you want to communicate at your exhibit. Rehearse it with your staff so that you can use it confidently on the show floor.

□ Place your orders for electricity, rigging, cleaning services, and flooring (if your exhibit company isn’t providing). We’re happy to help with electrical and rigging order paperwork.

□ If you’re launching a new service or product, confirm it’ll be ready for the show.

□ Plan your giveaways/handouts. Determine the marketing and literature materials you’ll need and begin design and printing. 

□ Finalize your trade show team and order uniforms, if needed.

  • Make all travel and hotel reservations for you and your team.

□ Choose your vendors and make sure they’re clear on dates/deadlines. If you’re renting your exhibit through us, we’ll handle shipping, I & D and storage for you! Otherwise, you’ll need to coordinate shipping, installation, dismantling, and storage vendors.

Final Steps: 1-2 weeks before show

□ Confirm all dates and details with your shipping, installation, and storage vendors. Exchange contact information with your install crew.

□ Put together follow-up packets to send out after the show to your leads

  • Finalize payments with your vendors.

□ Start marketing your show presence. Use social media to your advantage! Let people know you’ll be at the show and where to find you. Contact target clients/distributors and set up meetings in advance, if possible. 

□ Make sure your staff is trained and sales pitches rehearsed. Everyone should be able to answer questions about your company, products and services.

Day of Show:

□ Execute your plan and reach your goals! 

  • Wear comfortable shoes. 

□ Keep your booth staff motivated. Provide snacks, water bottles and breaks. Trade shows can be long and tiring. Don’t let unhappy employees cause a bad impression at the show.

□ Keep careful track of contact information collected at the show.

After the show:

□ Analyze leads, send follow-up info and reach out as appropriate

□ Review your objectives from your plan and evaluate the success of the show. Is it worth attending next year? What changes could be made to improve success in the future?

□ Calculate your ROI by reviewing your budget and total expenses

Double Deck Booth Benefits- Let us help!

custom trade show display

Double Deck Booths or Two Story Booths are continuing to trend upwards in 2019 for a myriad of reasons. The lead-generating and marketing tactics that can be employed using the above eye-level space are numerous. While certainly an investment, double decks can be quite cost-effective in terms of square footage. You’re paying for your trade show space, so why not maximize it by building upward to gain more square footage!?

A multilevel exhibit on its own makes you stand above the competition. Literally. But in addition to a commanding show presence the extra space of the second story can have many useful purposes. These include private product demos, treating your clients to a VIP experience, or having some extra privacy to seal important deals. 

Practical Benefits of a Double Deck

Extra Storage Space- You always need more than you think!

Increases useable square footage without paying for more space on the show floor. Depending on the show you’re attending, space can get spendy. Instead of paying possibly thousands for additional floor space, why not build up? You can almost double your useable space with all the other benefits associated with a double deck booth.

Two words: party. deck. Private cocktail lounge anyone? 

Party deck not your companies style? That’s ok. Create quiet meeting space upstairs instead for meeting with those VIP clients. The upper deck creates the perfect atmosphere for more personal interactions with your clients.

Depending on the size of your deck, multiple staircases  and elevated walkways could create separate spaces for even more marketing possibilities. 

Visual Impact Benefits

Dominating visual presence on the trade show floor from all angles and distances. A double deck booth is attention-grabbing and literally places you above your competition.

Can act as a centerpiece to hang lighting or overhead signs above.

Provides billboard style display or video areas. Many of our clients choose to hang monitors on the railings of the deck that run a looping marketing video. The railings are also great for hanging large graphics. 

A double deck booth provides lots of potential for video walls, shelving, graphics, and light boxes.

The ceiling under the deck is a great place to to display lighting if you’re attending Lightfair, for example. 

Double Deck Exhibit Rentals Lightfair
This client attending Lightfair utilized the walls and ceiling under the deck to display their lighting. We were able to help them custom wire their lights in the backwalls, and provide remotes to control the overhead lighting to aid their product presentations.

Multiple opportunities for branding on staircase, railings, lower walls.

The bottom line is that there are a multitude of ways a Double Deck Booth can benefit your company. If any of these are compelling to you, check out our pre-designed kits on our Double Deck page. For more detailed information on pricing, check out our recent post where we break down what to expect when renting a double deck exhibit. Feel free to call us for a free double deck consultation today! 

Tips to Modernize Your Existing Trade Show Booth

custom trade show exhibits

What do you do if your trade show display hasn’t yet reached its expiration date, but your marketing goals, colors and branding are ready for a change? There are a lot of cost-effective ways you can repurpose your existing trade show display without tossing it completely. 

Update the lighting:

Adding some color changing lights, light boxes and creative product lighting can transform your exhibit quickly and on a budget. New lighting options are constantly being introduced, so keep your eye out for the latest trends. Color programing capabilities are becoming more and more sophisticated as lighting tech advances. Adding a simple color changing strip light behind a monitor or workstation can go a long way in modernizing the look of your exhibit. 

Change up the graphics:

Updating your graphics is by far the easiest way to dramatically change the look of your booth. Some of our clients change their graphics for every show to as their message/look evolves. Depending on the amount of graphics on your existing booth, this may or may not be cheap, but you don’t have to replace everything. It’ll definitely be cheaper than replacing hardware, however! In order to guarantee your new graphics work on your booth, it’s best to order replacement graphics through your original exhibit company.

Hanging Signs:

Adding an overhead hanging sign is an easy way to grab more attention without changing your booth at all. Many shapes and sizes are available. Motion and lighting can also be added for some extra flair.

Change the flooring:

Changing the style or color of your flooring can make a dramatic visual change in your booth. We’ve been seeing a lot more clients opt for mock-wood vinyl flooring lately. We offer vinyl flooring for our rental exhibits in a variety of shades.

Add-on Sections:

This is a great option if your footprint changes from show to show. You can use your existing booth as the “core” of your display then fill out the space with some additional components. Adding in things like workstations, charging counters, and additional seating work well.


See if the existing physical layout of your display can be altered using the same parts. This will change your booths appearance and functionality without needing to start over completely.

Switch up the furnishings:

Flip through some magazines and see what’s popular currently. Rental furnishings are constantly getting new inventory as trends change. If you own outdated furniture, it might be time to toss it and switch to renting. That way you can relatively inexpensively update your look from show to show.

Vinyl Flooring, bold overhead sign and backless stools help give this island a modern feel.