Exhibition Checklist for Exhibitors

After months of exhibition planning, your show is right around the corner. Unfortunately, the hard work isn’t over for you yet. Our exhibition checklist template will help you get through the last few days of exhibition planning.

We design, manufacture and install over 600 exhibitions stands a year and our customers are always busiest in the days leading up to the event. That’s why we’ve made you a free exhibition checklist template.

This exhibition to-do list has been created in-house by our team of expert project managers. They have over forty years’ experience working within meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions.

What Should I Do Prior to an Exhibition Show?

In the last two weeks prior to an exhibition show, ensure you have done the following tasks:

  • Confirmed everything
  • Briefed your trade show staff
  • Made necessary travel arrangements
  • Completed your pre-show marketing
  • Packed a bag that includes a trade show survival kit

Planning an Exhibition

Our exhibition checklist will guide you through the last two weeks of exhibition planning. By this point, we are assuming that you have already chosen booth staff, organised your exhibition stand, sourced promotional items and completed everything else we’ve laid out in this exhibition planning template.

In the two weeks before your trade show, you can expect to spend a lot of time on the phone confirming all your bookings. You’ll also be getting close and personal with your exhibition stand staff to make sure everyone is fully-trained and ready to go. There will be a final push on your pre-show marketing, and you’ll have to pack your bag.

In total, our project managers have identified thirty-six things that should be on your exhibition todo list before you go.

Call and Confirm

The most important thing that you will have on your exhibition todo list is confirm everything. Over the last four months, you’ve been working hard trying to get your exhibition organised. If you don’t confirm the dates, times, venues and arrangements with every business involved in your exhibition planning you are running a huge risk.

Why? Mistakes happen. All it takes is a typo in an email and things could go wrong. Although your exhibition stand suppliers aren’t likely to turn up at the wrong venue, your florist or caterers might. Your hotel room could be booked for the wrong dates, or your airport transfers might never arrive.

We suggest confirming every detail that you’ve been working on over the last four months. This includes:

  • Floor space and stand number
  • Exhibition stand design and manufacture
  • Exhibition stand installation
  • Venue arrangements
  • Additional on-site services
  • Accommodation booking
  • Transport and travel documents
  • Transfers to/from the venue
  • Client meetings
  • Restaurant bookings
  • Exhibition stand staff – agency and in-house
  • Badge scanner rental

This is a general list. You may have more things to confirm when your exhibition is just a few days away. Our customers have hired equipment as part of their stand activities or a videographer to get social media content at the show. These will all need to be confirmed.

Don’t worry, we’ve left some empty spaces on your last-minute exhibition checklist template to ensure you don’t miss anything out. Fill this out to make sure you don’t forget anything.

stand pre-built, exhibition checklist

Exhibition Staff Preparation

Now it’s time to prepare your exhibition staff for the upcoming show.

In terms of checking that your staff are trained and ready to go to the exhibition, make sure that they:

  • Understand their role
  • Are aware of the travel arrangements
  • Know how to qualify a lead
  • Know how to use the lead capture software
  • Have important meetings booked in
  • Understand the follow-up strategy

Allocating Roles

Everybody must understand their role on the trade show floor. You’ll want a crowd gatherer out in the aisles, taking delegates back to the booth. You’ll also need someone who knows your business inside out so that they can answer questions and give product demonstrations with confidence.

Different people may excel in different areas, so make sure everyone knows what you expect from them at the event.

Something we see at trade shows is booth staff spending too much time talking to individuals. There will be people that have no interest in your business but are keen to get their hands on the branded USB stick. Qualifying a lead should be done in minutes with a few key questions.

Qualifying and Following-up on New Leads

Make sure your team can qualify leads at the trade show fast and effectively. While you’re at it, go through the lead capture software with them. The more streamlined this process, the more quality leads you’ll walk away with.

You also need a strong follow-up lead strategy on your exhibition todo list. This could affect how you talk to leads or the data you want to collect at the show. Too many exhibitors hit a wall when they leave the event, costing them valuable ROI. Make sure everyone understands your follow-up strategy before you go.

Exhibitions are a great opportunity to organise meetings with your important clients and prospects. In most cases, it’s more cost-effective than visiting someone’s office, so booking these in should be a priority. Make sure your staff have meetings scheduled with key clients before you go.

Travel Arrangements

Finally, run through the travel arrangements with everyone. Although they’ll all insist they know what the plan is, you’re guaranteed to have someone turn up at the office when you said to meet at the station or airport.

Exhibition stand surrounded by people

Pre-Show Marketing

You’re either extremely wellorganised or things are getting a bit frantic in the weeks before your show. If you haven’t done as much pre-show marketing as you would have liked, the good news is that you’ve still got time.

Pre-show marketing is crucial in the last two weeks before your trade show. And you still have time to:

  • Update your company website
  • Share content on social media
  • Use the event hashtag
  • Interact with other businesses who are attending
  • Distribute a press release
  • Email marketing

Initial Blog Post

Start by creating a blog post for your company news page. This can be simple and effective, highlighting the show you are attending and your stand number so that people know where to find it.

Share your news update on all of your social media platforms. Most events have a hashtag which will help other attendees find you. It’s worth including this hashtag in your social media bios as well. Interact with other accounts that are using the hashtag to gain a bigger social media presence.

Email Marketing and Press Release Distribution

We always recommend that you utilise email marketing and press release distribution before an exhibition as well. The more people that know you are visiting the event, the busier your exhibition stand will be. With two weeks left, you’ve got plenty of time. Get in touch with us to find out about our free client PR service.

Lastly, on your exhibition todo list, make sure that you update your automatic replies on your email address. Even if you have access to emails at the event, an outofoffice response will let people know where you are and could inspire some last-minute meetups.

planning the exhibition checklist

What to Pack for Your Trade Show

The final section on the last-minute exhibition checklist template gives you a breakdown of some of the most important things that you should pack. We’d say that this is the most important thing that you’ll be doing in the last week.

Packing your bag for a trade show isn’t like packing for a holiday. It’s only a few days, but you’ll find yourself switching between long-days on your feet and client meals in the evenings. You’ll need all of your important documents, such as the travel and accommodation confirmation. Comfy shoes are essential. And then you’ll need a trade show survival kit.

Trade Show Survival Kit

Your emergency trade show kit will include things like stationery, bin bags and first aid. You have to be prepared for the unexpected. Exhibition venues are massive. If anything goes wrong, you won’t be able to abandon your stand to pop to the shops.

It’s worth going through some of the essentials with your team. There is no point everyone bringing Sellotape and bin bags, especially with luggage restrictions.

Also, think about your exhibition stand and stand dressing. You may need accessories for your stand entertainment, or additional beverages for a mini-fridge.

We’ve left a few lines empty on the exhibition checklist template so that you can add items that you, your team, and your exhibition stand needs.

Conclusion

Downloading our free exhibition checklist template is the easiest way to ensure that you don’t miss any of the important steps leading up to your trade show. Avoid the stress by ticking things off one-by-one as you work your way through.

Ensure that you’ve confirmed everything, prepped your staff, made travel arrangements, completed your pre-show marketing and packed a bag! By ensuring that you’ve done all of these things, you’ll be in the best position to succeed at the trade show.

Finally, all that is left to do is enjoy your exhibition! And gather lots of hot leads, of course. Our team is always travelling to exhibition venues to attend a variety of industry-specific events. Hopefully, we’ll see you there.