Trade Show Planning Timeline

Your Trade Show Planning Timeline

Trade show planning doesn't have to be daunting. Whether you're a first time exhibitor or an old pro, success all comes down to one thing: preparation. It's important to start early and have a clear outline of the tasks needed to get your brand show-ready. That's why we've broken down the planning process into three different phases. So let's get started - here's your trade show planning timeline:

Trade Show Planning Timeline - Phase 1 (12 Months Before)

If it's your first time exhibiting at a trade show, you might be surprised to learn that planning should start at least a year out. Registering early for your trade show booth space is the best way to secure a prime spot on the trade show floor. It also gives you enough lead time to design and fabricate a custom trade show exhibit. But first, start by outlining your brand's strategic goals. Is it lead generation or increased brand awareness? After you define your focus, set your budget and target return-on-investment (ROI). By setting your goals and budget at the onset, you can use them to make informed decisions throughout the trade show planning process.

Phase 2 (6 Months Before)

At this point in your trade show planning timeline, your planning starts picking up. If you're working with a full-service exhibit agency, they'll take care of handling your exhibit logistics, from shipping, installing, dismantling, and even on-site management. If not, you'll need to coordinating with vendors for those services as well as check in on the progress of your exhibit designer/builder. If doing it on your own, it's also time to start designing your trade show booth graphics and any marketing materials for your team to hand out at the show. Additionally, start making sure your team and new products will be ready to go.

Phase 3 (3 Months Before)

Your trade show is coming up! With a few months to go, check in on your orders to ensure they'll be ready and delivered in time for the show. Then get your team ready, which involves more than training. Make the most of your team's time at the show by contacting attendees and planning meetings in advance. Setting breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings can be a great way to fit more in. At the same time, increase your trade show ROI and booth traffic with pre-show marketing like press releases and email campaigns.

If you follow this trade show planning timeline, you'll be more than ready for the big day. Go more in-depth with pre-show planning, or check out our top creative ideas for your exhibit.


For more display ideas, take a look at some of the custom trade show exhibits we build. If you would like to discuss how we can help design your next project, click here to contact our team.

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"DesignShop did an extraordinary good job. We loved it very much; especially the colors, shape and white carpet in the booth. "

Andreas Kees, Managing DirectorMedmix

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