Exhibition Checklist for Exhibitors with a Free Template to Download

After months of exhibition planning, your show is right around the corner. Unfortunately, hard work isn’t over for you yet. The exhibition checklist 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.

This exhibition checklist 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. That’s how you know that the last-minute exhibition checklist is accurate and reliable.

Download the template to make sure you don’t forget anything important. We’re confident that your show will be a huge success by the time you’ve worked your way through all thirty-six points.

Before you go: Planning an Exhibition

This 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. Doesn’t sound like too much trouble, does it?

In total, our project managers have identified thirty-six things that you have to do before you go to an exhibition. Rather than bore you, we thought we’d create an easy-to-follow checklist that you can download by clicking here.

Call and Confirm

The most important thing that you will have to do is confirm everything. And by that we mean 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 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 can’t take all the blame for things that go wrong. Quite often there is a problem on the other end as well – that’s why 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 to ensure you don’t miss anything out. Fill these out quickly to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Fine Tune your Staff before your Exhibition

Once everything is confirmed you can relax a little bit. You’ve done your bit, now it’s time to see what the staff that you have chosen to work on your exhibition stand can do.

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 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 (or not enough) 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 can be done in minutes with a few key questions.

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 strategy. 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 place 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.

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. It isn’t worth the risk.

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

  • Understand their role
  • Know 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

Pre-Show Marketing

You’re either extremely well organised 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 like, the good news is you’ve still got time.

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 who are using the hashtag to gain a bigger social media presence.

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

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

What to Pack for your Trade Show

The final section on the last-minute exhibition checklist 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.

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 checklist so that you can add items that you, your team, and your exhibition stand needs.

Last-Minute Exhibition Checklist Template for Exhibitors: Wrapping it Up

Downloading this free checklist 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.

Start by confirming everything that you have arranged over the past few months. Call the venue, your exhibition stand supplier, travel companies and accommodation to check all the details of your booking.

It is your responsibility to make sure your staff are ready. They have had two months to prepare for the exhibition, so put them to the test by asking them to show you how they qualify and capture leads. Make sure they have meetings booked in and go over the follow-up strategy with everyone to boost your trade show ROI. Lastly, make sure everyone knows the travel plans.

You’ve also got plenty of time left for pre-show marketing. Letting people know that you’re going to be at a show is just as important as going there in the first place.

Use the last two weeks to interact with your audience on social media using the event hashtags. Post content on your website that tells people where you are going and what stand they can find you at. Send out an email marketing shot to all of your customers. And distribute a press release to industry-specific publications and local press. This combination of tactics has proven successful for a number of our customers.

Last but not least, pack your bags. It’s amazing how many people need help with this step. Our project managers have over twenty years’ experience planning and managing exhibitions, trust them when it comes to knowing what to pack. You’ll find the list freely available to download on our last-minute exhibition checklist.

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