What To Bring For Exhibiting At Your Next Trade Show

So, you’ve signed up to have a space at a trade show displays in your industry, you’ve gotten the display designed, transported and set up. You’ve prepared your marketing materials and PR and your staff is checked in at the hotel and all ready to go. Then, the big day comes, you get up early (fighting off the urge to hit the ‘snooze’ button), eat a good breakfast, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to head out to the expo. And then you realize? Wait, what exactly should I bring?

Maybe some of you may think, ‘Well, that’s a stupid question, I know what to bring.” But for those of you who are new to exhibiting, this may not be such an obvious question. And even for the veterans, I bet you have had at least a few situations where you’ve forgotten something at the hotel or wished you had brought some item when you were caught in an unexpected situation. So, how do you avoid this? Make yourself a checklist and cross everything off as you load it into the car or pack it into your bag.

To get you started, here is a list of items, broken up into important categories, which you should consider putting on your checklist to bring with you on the day of the trade show:

Personal items: These include important items that will help you and your staff stay comfortable throughout the day. This may include an extra shirt (if it’s really warm and you end up getting sweaty or spill something you don’t want to have to head all the way back to the hotel), breath mints, ibuprofen/aspirin, water bottles, band-aids, alcohol wipes or hand sanitizer.

Promotional materials: These should be a given. You need to have all of your brochures, signs, giveaways, cards and the like with you and available at your booth shortly after exhibit set up and before showtime.

Exhibit Repair/Maintenance items: God forbid something should happen and you need to do some last minute booth repair at the trade show, but you should always prepare for the possibility. Make sure you have a screwdriver and screws,  a hammer, touch-up paint, wrench, cleaning wipes, extension cords and powerstrips, spare light bulbs and anything else you feel may be needed for booth repair and/or maintenance. If you haven’t set up your display yet, make sure to get there extra early to allow for any issues with exhibit set up.

Basic Supplies & Storage: Don’t forget the basics like pens, pencils, paper pads, appointment book (and something to record leads in), tape, staples, folders, highlighters, scissors, rubber bands etc. Also, make sure you have plastic boxes or containers to store and organize things. You could use cardboard ‘bankers boxes’ but, be warned, they are prone to breaking at the worst possible moment.

Take what you consider to be the most essential of these items and put them on your own custom checklist. Then don’t leave until everything is crossed off and accounted for.