5 Key Items when You Consider a Trade Show’s Location

Location is the final factor to consider when choosing the best trade shows for your business. Where is the trade show taking place? Shipping and travel costs continue rise, so you might find yourself rethinking how far, and how often, you’ll travel to exhibit. That’s fair — and makes good business sense. However, before you scratch a show off your list because of its location (near or far) here’s five considerations you must make:

1. Keep an open mind

Imagine the show was taking place right next door to your main office, negating almost all travel and shipping expenses. How does this show weigh in against the other factors we’ve discussed — attendance, timing, and history? Does it mesh well with the goals outlined in your trade show strategyIf it’s a strong show, the timing is right, and the audience is part of your key demographic, don’t miss it, no matter how far you have to go. You can always find ways to reduce your budget for the show — or other shows in your schedule — to make it work.

2. Go where you want to grow

Is the show happening in a location where your company is seeking new clients? Statistics show that even national shows have a strong regional draw. If you’re looking for leads in that region you may not want to pass up this opportunity. Are you a Winnipeg-based company thinking about expanding into Saskatchewan? Promising shows in Regina and Saskatoon should definitely be on your list.

3. Watch for new opportunities

Within every industry there is a certain amount of geographical movement and growth. Has your industry has recently expanded or shifted into new region? Watch for new shows to crop up in that area (or for existing shows to move there) and make sure you’re a part of that movement. It’s a great opportunity to reach new audiences, and it shows your existing customers that your business is on track with the industry. On the flip side, beware of shows that continue to take place in regions that have grown stagnant in your industry.

4. Make a plan… to plan ahead

You can significantly reduce the cost of exhibiting at a show just by planning well in advance. However, to be most effective, you need to be planning at least six months (if not a full year) ahead. Do you have that much time before the show opens? If not, you have two options: eat up the higher costs of a shorter timeline, or bump that show to your list for the following year. Either way, start planning. Book flights and hotels well in advance, and plan to ship your display with plenty of time to spare. Storage costs are usually much cheaper than shipping costs, so ship your display from show to show and pay for storage while you wait for the next show’s setup.

5. Don’t worry about your display

If a show is otherwise a great fit for your trade show strategy, but the location daunts you because of the cost to ship your display, don’t worry. Put the show on your exhibiting list, and then go back to your plan and adjust your display accordingly. Consider that you may not need to ship your entire display—can it be reconfigured to fit a smaller space? You can rent or buy a lighter, more compact display specifically for long distance shows. For larger shows at a greater distance, rent or buy a display from a local exhibit house in that region. Don’t let shipping costs scare you away from a great exhibiting opportunity.

We’ve now covered off the four key factors you need to consider when choosing trade shows that will provide the best exhibiting experience and ROI for your business: attendancetiminghistory and location. We’ve even provided a handy infographic to help you consider the key factors while you’re planning your next trade show. It’s time to put those all together. Weigh each show you’re considering by those four factors. Make it a big pros-cons list, or assign a value rating system—whatever system works best for you. Be sure to keep your overall trade show strategy in mind, but be cognizant that each show can have its own strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Now it’s time to choose your trade shows. However you score it, you should know exactly how valuable a show is to your business. Prioritize them. Plan to put the full weight of your exhibiting budget behind the strongest shows on your list, consider ways to reduce your budget on shows that aren’t so strong, and consider eliminating or reducing your presence at shows that don’t score well. You’ll have another chance to weigh those shows—when you examine your show list again next year!

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