The final event management steps

Here we cover the final stage in how to prepare for a trade show. Find out how to book your stand dressing, choose the best lead capture software and so much more!

Welcome back to another bitesize guide to steps how to organise a trade exhibition from Quadrant2Design. Our goal is to make planning your exhibition as easy as possible by laying everything out in these short guides.

In the previous guide, we covered the first event management steps you should take, including selecting your trade show booth staff, ordering promotional giveaways and more. This guide wraps up the final steps of this stage of organising your trade exhibition, including:

  • Booking your stand dressing
  • Choosing your lead capture software
  • Transfers to/from the venue and/or parking passes
  • Organising client entertainment

Before we get into the final steps to prepare for a trade show, click here to download your free exhibition planning tool!

Book your Exhibition Stand Dressing

Another step about how to prepare for a trade show is the stand features or extras. Once you’ve planned your exhibition stand, you can start thinking about the details. These are the added extras that draw people into your trade show booth and encourage interaction.

Some of our clients choose to work with florists or caterers to bring their stand to life, but you’ve probably got ideas. Get this planned early, you may find your stand dressing supplier gets very busy during exhibiting season.

how to prepare for a trade show

Download lead capture software

The main reason that people exhibit at trade shows is to generate leads and close deals. Having the right lead capture software to help you will automate this process and remove the need for lengthy data entry after the event.

The old fashioned ‘drop your business card into this fishbowl’ technique isn’t enough these days. You need a system that makes it just as easy to follow up as it was to collect in the first place. This exhibiting guide gives tells you our favourite lead capture apps.

Transfers to/from the venue and/or parking passes

If you’ve been following these bitesize guides to organising your trade exhibition then you’ll have already booked your floor space at the right exhibition and chosen your team. That means that you can start thinking about transfers or parking passes when it comes to travelling to/from the venue.

Every venue has a different offering for exhibitors. For example, the NEC in Birmingham has a free bus service from the car park however it is also serviced by public transport. Check the venue’s website to see the best (and most cost-effective) ways to travel there.

If your staff intend to drive you need to arrange parking permits for the venue and supply them with a map of where they should go.

Organise Client Entertainment/Meals

You’re not the only business trying to woo the big bosses will all-expenses-paid evenings out. Remember, your competitors are more than likely to have a space at the same trade show as you. You have to plan early to avoid being stuck with the worst evenings!

There are two reasons that we recommend planning early:

Firstly, as mentioned, you don’t want your competitors to nab the best nights with the best clients. These tend to be the first and last nights. Some people don’t arrive on day one, other people leave early or are too exhausted by the end of the show.

Secondly, restaurants will book up fast. Trade shows attract thousands of visitors, and they all need to eat. Booking a table early avoids any embarrassment when it comes to organising your client event entertainment.

purple and white stand


The venue will require you to submit some documents to ensure you are complying with their regulations. The forms may differ depending on the show or what space you have booked.

Typically, you will be required to submit technical drawings of your stand, a risk assessment and a two-way lead recording form. There may be more depending on the show. The deadlines for these forms will be in the exhibitor’s handbook.

If you are using an exhibition stand contractor they will ensure all documentation is filled in and submitted for you so you don’t have to worry about it.


The early bird deadlines are important for anyone looking to save money on their exhibition preparation. These dates offer deadlines for reduced rates on on-site services and other things that you book through the venue.

Occasionally, the early bird deadlines will be printed in the exhibitor’s handbook alongside all the contact information. This is handy and can save you some time so always check the handbook when you receive it.

If it’s not there you’ll have to reach out to the event organiser and ask them to provide you with deadlines so you can continue your trade show preparation and venue arrangements.


There are a lot of additional services that you will have to order in your trade show arrangements through the venue to have a successful show. These include things like electricity, water, waste and the internet. Ordering your onsite service depends on two factors: space only or shell scheme. And the early bird deadlines.

Shell scheme spaces are sold as part of a package, which usually includes the cost of electricity but could include more or less of the onsite services. If you have chosen space only then you will have to factor in the cost of flooring as well as the other onsite services.

To save money on onsite services, make sure that you order them before the early bird deadlines. This is the one time that you will be permitted to go against the trade show planning template, use it wisely.


Event organisers like to show off their impressive lists of exhibitors in a show catalogue. This will usually be an online magazine or PDF that visitors and exhibitors can download to find out who else is attending.

It’s also a great opportunity for you to kick-start your pre-show marketing. We’ll go into much more detail on this step in an upcoming bitesize guide.


By now, I’m sure you are not surprised to learn that we have worked with people who forgot to book their exhibitor passes. Obviously, this isn’t the end of the world. But it will cause you a lot of unnecessary stress and panic in the run-up to your show. That’s why it’s on the list.

You will also probably need car park passes if your booth staff intend to drive to the venue.

Download this free exhibition planner designed by our expert project managers to make sure that you don’t miss any of these crucial steps.

To discuss your next event preparations with one of our experts, call us on 01202 723 500, or email