Trade shows are an ideal way to provide learning opportunities for various innovations, market trends and new products in your industry. They also provide an amazing networking opportunity for vendors, sponsors and attendees. There are more than 10,000 trade shows held in the United States each year. Snappening has compiled a list of trade show planning tips so sponsors, vendors and attendees get the most out of your trade show experience!

Help Your Sponsors & Vendors
As a sponsor or vendor, the number one priority is attendee reach. Reach is acquired through visibility in high-traffic areas, audience engagement and networking. Vendors use trade shows as a way to market their products or services to potential clients and network with other vendors. Keep these things in mind when planning a trade show.

To-Do #1: Offer Great Real Estate
When planning a trade show, entice sponsors and vendors with prime real estate options. Not only will this benefit them, but offering great booth or reception locations will result in more funding from sponsors and high return rates from vendors. Have a floor plan of the trade show designed so that sponsors and vendors can readily choose their desired locale. Consider pricing differences in locations. Corner booths will have more visibility and should be priced higher than a booth in the middle of a long row. That being said, don’t underestimate the power of smaller show booth holders – those mid-row booths help the show feel full and provide more opportunities at a broader range of prices for small businesses.

To-Do #2: Enable Networking
Provide your sponsors and vendors with a comprehensive list of other vendors and sponsors as soon as it’s finalized. This will allow them to better prepare for the trade show and engage and network with their audiences before, during and after the show. Providing complete contact information for show representatives per booth is also an incredibly helpful tool. Most shows are moving toward electronic information sharing and you may want to consider the same.

To-Do #3: Offer Excellent Show Services
One of the most challenging issues with trade shows is shipment, storage and handling of show materials and goods. From the booth itself, to marketing materials, promotional items and handouts, trade show road warriors know that the more services you offer to reduce their burden, the happier they will be. Work these logistics out with the expo hall or conference center in advance so you are certain you’re providing correct shipment information, pricing and are in compliance with any material handling regulations with building unions or other staff members.

Increase Attendee Engagement
Increase attendee engagement with sponsors and vendors through interactive marketing. Also, make attending the trade show easier by offering travel information such as lodging and transportation.

To-Do #1: Get Social
Being active on social media is just a start. Create a #hashtag for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so attendees can comment on their favorite booths or trade show elements. Then, track the hashtag to see what people are saying about your trade show. This instant feedback will not only allow networking, but it will allow you to hear what attendees and vendors want and make changes accordingly. Want to drive engagement even more? Display the show hashtag feed on large monitors or TVs in and around the show area allowing everyone to see the live stream.

Does your trade show have its own website? Having a website creates a one-stop shop for information, and it’s a great central hub for your social media. Additionally, link all social media sites back to your website to increase activity. More advanced websites can also record attendee information, registration details, show materials and contact lists.

To-Do #2: Provide Travel Information
Increase attendance by adding a tab for travel information to your website and sending out this information with all marketing communications. List nearby hotels and local transportation options by name, number, address and website. Are there weekend bus or train passes available? Let your attendees know where to find them. For hotels in Indianapolis, check out Snappening’s extensive list of quality hotels. Providing this information will attract attendees from across the country and help you grow. The more attendees you have, the more likely vendors and sponsors are to return! Larger trade shows will likely require established preferred hotel and transportation relationships in advance to secure specific show attendee rates and group packages. Ask the local CVB to help with the process and suggest the best options for your show demographic.

To-Do #3: Provide Entertainment and Small Event Options
Most trade shows have some element of entertainment or social events in addition to the show itself. Make sure you’ve offered attendees a number of social activities at local event venues to further their networking experience. Show sponsors and partners may also like the added support of an easy-to-use local venue finder that lists restaurants, bars, private venues or other specific options.

Planning a trade show is a big undertaking. Make sure to use your resources and build a great trade show team. With some hard work and great marketing, your event is sure to be a success! Have you planned a trade show? Share your best advice with Snappening users on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for a location for your next trade show? Take a look at Snappening’s comprehensive list of event venues!