So You’re Traveling to a Trade Show

trade show tips_emg_blog

By Rachel Peck

Heading to a trade show or event? Whether you’re a seasoned attendee, or a new PR and marketing professional heading to your first event, you should take time to ensure you and your clients are as prepared as possible for a few very hectic days. From comfortable footwear to media briefings, here are EMG’s top trade show planning tips:

Being prepared is key
While it might seem obvious, being prepared can sometimes be the hardest rule to live by. The days and weeks leading up to a show are busy, to say the least, and it’s easy to find yourself disorganized. However, you should focus on taking time to learn the event schedule, formulate comprehensive media briefings and educate yourself on the contacts your client’s are meeting with. Have a plan A, then B and definitely a C. Though the one thing you can count on is that not everything will go to plan, having a few contingencies can help alleviate trade show induced anxiety for both you and your clients.

Arrive a day early – if possible
Often times, the only thing more stressful than air travel, is hearing your flight is delayed and knowing you might miss your first round of meetings. This is just one of the reasons we suggest you arrive a day early, if possible. Not only does arriving a day early leave time for the inevitable travel delays, but it allows you to check in, get settled and maybe explore the area. Additionally, you can take care of any last minute details, like discussing strategies with your clients and familiarizing yourself with the show floor layout and general surroundings. These little details can help ease you into the next few days.

Plan your outfits
First rule of running a marathon (or any race for that matter) is don’t try something new on race day – especially clothing or shoes. The same can be said for trade shows. That pair of dress shoes, which seemed so comfortable when you first tried them on, will have you wondering if you can quietly remove your shoes during a media meeting, without anyone noticing. Plan your outfits for each day, so you can eliminate over packing. Make sure you’ve worn each outfit at least one time before, to gauge comfortability and efficiency. If it’s uncomfortable after three hours, it’ll definitely feel much worse after 12. Trust us. We have the blisters to prove it.

Have a “go bag” on you at all times
Any expert trade show attendee knows when you arrive at the conference center, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be leaving for anywhere from 8 to 10 hours. Once the show closes, your chances of making a stop back at your hotel, before heading to a client event, is also unlikely to happen. With this in mind, we find it important to have a “go bag” on hand at all times. Essentials, such as, Advil, hand sanitizer, floss, gum or breath mints are a must. Also, along with planning your outfits, pack a pair of comfortable, more casual shoes for after the show closes. Trust us on this one. Finally, don’t forget to pack some snacks. A top 10 rule of attending an event is you’ll never know when your next meal is. So keep a few energy bars, or other light snacks on hand.

While you can’t plan for everything, you can certainly give it your best shot. A little extra time spent setting yourself and your clients up for success is guaranteed to pay off in the end. Through it all, make sure you’re having fun!