Packing Tips for Event Planners

Packing Tips, Event Planning, Event Planner, Packing Tips, What to Pack, Preparing for a Trade Show

Expert advice and packing tips from professional event planners and exhibitors.

As event planners, we understand what it takes to get packed for a trade show especially one that is out of town. The key to not forgetting anything important is to be (and stay) organized. Understand what you need to bring for each day of the event including day and evening wear, laptop, phones and other mobile devices, personal items, and trade show booth supplies. This will help you focus to keep the packing to a minimum.

Make a list.

You won’t know if you have everything you need if you don’t know what you need to bring. Before you begin stuffing a week’s worth of conference clothing and tech gadgets into your suitcase, make a list of what you need and contingencies.

  • Outfits for daytime
  • Outfits for nighttime
  • Shoes
  • Chargers for phone(s), e-readers, laptops, and other mobile devices
  • Business cards
  • Trade show booth supplies

Contingency items might include an extra belt, jacket, pair of shoes, and an emergency kit of personal items.

TIP: With most airlines charging for luggage, your best bet may be to ship trade show booth supplies ahead of time.

Dress for Success.

If we’ve learned anything over the years of doing trade shows and trade show marketing, it’s that how you present yourself and your business is the difference between success and failure. As event planners, it’s easy to go into auto mode and pack the same outfits we always pack for events. The next time you prepare for an event take into consideration:

  • Location – city, venue type – A Midwest American city probably calls for different attire than a European city, for example.
  • Event type or industry – Tech shows call for less formal attire than a financial event, for example.
  • Your role – You might choose your outfits differently if you’re an exhibitor or an organizer, for example.
  • Special events – Typically large trade shows include after parties or evening events that may have a dress code. You may need a costume or black dress or tux, for example.

TIP: Make sure your shoes are clean and shiny. Ladies, check the heels to make sure they are in like-new shape. Ladies and Gents, if your shoes aren’t in top condition, invest in a new pair.

Don’t come home bruised and battered.

We know you’ve done this because we’ve done it too.
You bring the best looking shoes for your favorite outfit.
You wear the shoes all day.
Your feet swell.
You get blisters.
And you pay for it the next day.

Don’t let your feet come home bruised and battered from your next trade show!

Ditch fashion and go for comfort by choosing shoes that are stylish and comfortable. Save the fancy ones for the evening or leave them at home. You’re here to work not win an award for best shoes.

TIP: Choose day and evening wear that is interchangeable. Ladies, wear a suit jacket over a dress that can be worn in the evening. Men, change the shirt, tie, or pants for evening. This can save you space in your suitcase.

Don’t forget the gadgets.

In today’s world it’s as important to have the right gadgets as it is to dress for success. You have to be able to reach business and personal contacts via phone, text, email. You may also want to check in and/or meet exhibitors via social media.

TIP: Give your next event a unique hashtag where attendees can chat with each other on social media. This will not only increase their level of engagement but also provide insight into their event experience.

Bring an extra power strip. Hotels are notorious for not having enough of them. You don’t want to get stuck without a phone or tablet when you need it most. You’ve got to be able to communicate at all times. On that note, make sure to pack power cords and chargers for phone(s), e-readers, laptops, and other mobile devices

Download appropriate apps such as those used to check-in on flights and at hotels. You may also want to see which exhibitors are featuring apps and give those a try before you get to the event. You can then ask app-related questions when you visit their booth.

Speaking of the booth, don’t forget to pack supplies that you need!
At EXHIB-IT! we are focused on your trade show success and look forward to hearing your packing tips for event planners. Contact us today to learn how we can help you design a trade show booth that will attract your target audience.

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Create a Digital Display Stand that WOWs Your Audience

Trade Show, Digital Display Stand, Exhibit, Event Marketing

Create a Digital Trade Show Display

How are you using digital display stands to create a memorable experience for your guests?

Forget a simple slideshow on a screen or throwing a logo up at the back of your trade show booth. Todays’ consumers aren’t impressed with simple anymore.

Why is simple not working at your events?

Consumers are already getting a lot of information in the day-to-day marketplace of social media making it even more important to create a digital display stand that WOWs your audience. They’ve seen – and even created – photo slide shows.

What if you could create a memorable EXPERIENCE?

Digital display stands are just part of the solution to helping you create a memorable experience for your customers and clients. Technology is increasingly being included in trade show and event displays.

Give them an unforgettable customer experience.

As an event planner, it’s your job to create an unforgettable experience for guests at a variety of occasions. Digital display stands provide a unique way to showcase brands, people, and events.

  • Wedding Planners – Utilize a display customized for the bride and groom to show a slideshow of their love story at their reception. Guests will never forget this extra touch – and neither will the happy couple.
  • Schools – From slide shows and movies to presentations and special events, show your school spirit when you have a display designed in school colors and logo.
  • Networking Events – Be a step ahead of the competition when you showcase your business at events and expos. From solopreneurs to big brands, digital display stands can help grow brand recognition and attract target clients.
  • Red Carpet Galas – There’s no better way to make an impression on your VIPs than offering a red carpet experience that includes a professional photograph in front of a display designed specifically for your red carpet gala.
  • Press Conference – Stop standing in front of a blank wall and create a digital display to showcase your city, town, event, company, or whatever you’re celebrating in the press conference.
  • Chambers of Commerce – Stop standing in the shadows and show the local businesses how you’re making improvements and growing the community. Showcase your city or town, sponsored events and member businesses as part of your digital display. It’s a sure way to make a great first impression!

Let’s talk about how you can set yourself apart as a leader of technology at your next event.

  1. Know the competition: If you’re not studying the competition, you’re missing out on an opportunity to see how you can do it better. It’s that simple. Competitive intelligence means attending events and studying the competition, reviewing their online presence (website, social media, online profiles), and researching trends in your industry.
  2. Go where they go. You might opt to attend an expo as a visitor rather than exhibitor to research how the competition is using trade show displays.
  3. Take notes. You aren’t doing competitive intelligence to waste your time. Make the most of it by noting which booths are attracting visitors and which are not, the type of product(s) being showcased, how the booth staff are dressed, how educated they are about the company and featured product(s) and any other factors that are important to you.
  4. Know your WHY for creating a digital display stand. We often ask clients why you are creating a trade show display. We want to design a booth that meets your needs. The same holds true for a digital display stand. Your WHY will drive what you showcase. We might feature a particular product, for example, or new branding.

Elements to include in your digital display

Whatever your reason or what you choose to display, be sure the digital media featured is clear to those seeing the display. Here are some ideas for event planners:

  • Clearly display the company logo or event information.
  • Include all sponsors of an event. (No one likes to be left out.)
  • Feature the main stars – the product, the branding, the bride and groom – don’t get lost in the details and forget the who or what of what you’re creating.

Make it more than a slideshow. Create an experience. Bring wedding guests along on the journey from the couple meeting to their wedding. Remind employees of how they are part of the bigger organization. Show customers and prospects how your product can change their lives.

Contact the design team at EXHIB-IT! today to learn more ways to create a digital display stand that WOWs.

5-Step Shuffle to Trade Show Success

trade show, exhib-it, marketing, displays

Learn the 5-Step Shuffle to Trade Show Success, from EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Marketing Experts.

Trade show success doesn’t happen by accident. Whether you’re new to the industry or are a veteran, it’s important to recognize that there is plenty of planning that needs to happen before, during, and after events. Today we will talk about the 5-Step Shuffle to trade show success.

Originally developed by Jonathan “Skip” Cox, the 5-Step Shuffle defines the steps that should be taken to ensure trade show success.

  • Communication with the marketing and sales teams is essential to understanding how trade shows, expos, and events can attract target clients, and generate leads and sales. Without this valuable information, you could be talking to the wrong audience about the wrong product or service.
  • Gather feedback from current and prospective customers about events they attend. You have to know where to find your target audience! Once you know where they will be, you can…
  • Create a master list of shows where you can find your customers and prospects. Rather than wasting time trying to find customers, go to where they are and bring your products to them!

Exhibiting at trade shows is about more than setting up a table or a booth, gathering business cards, and showing off your products. It’s about connecting with your target audience that brings positive results to the bottom line.

STEP 1: Learn More about Your Customers and Prospects

You wouldn’t roll out a new product without testing the market so why would you pay to be an exhibitor at a trade show without it? You shouldn’t and here’s why:

To make the most of your trade show return on investment (ROI), you’ve got to acquire an understanding of your company’s markets, products and services, and marketing strategy and goals. Otherwise you could be exhibiting at events that are not helping the company reach its goals.

More importantly, without research, you could be exhibiting at the wrong events and not be reaching your customers with products and services that can change their lives.

Talk to internal marketing and sales teams in your organization.

They will have an understanding of the ideal customer and can provide a picture of that person or people to you. From geographic to demographic, you will begin to see who you need to reach at events.

The marketing and/or sales team of an established organization should be able to also define buying habits and sales cycles and have an understanding of the competition. This will help you clearly define which trade shows align with the vision of the company and the needs of the ideal customer(s).

STEP 2: Ask for Feedback

We often make the mistake of only asking current or former customers about their customer experience. Trade show success can be maximized when you also ask prospects what they are looking for in a product or service in your category:

  • Which trade shows are they attending?
  • How interested are they in your products?
  • Which products are they most interested in?
  • What was their experience at a particular trade show?

The answers will help guide you to events where you can find your target market and which products you will highlight at those events.

STEP 3: Create a List of Trade Shows that Fit Your Business

Once you’ve established the marketing and business goals of your business and gained an understanding of your ideal customer, you can begin to develop a list of trade shows, expos, and events that have the greatest value to your business.

Using the Global Event Calendar, you can search upcoming events using a variety of criteria including industry and location. Consider the following as you’re developing your list:

  • Reputation of the event
  • Ability to network with colleagues
  • Communication of trade show staff and exhibitors (Can you get the information you need in the timeframe you need it or will you go to the event with lingering questions?)
  • Quality of event speakers
  • Size of the event vs. needs of your business and/or industry (Is the event too big or too small for your business and goals?)
  • Value for the money (What’s my estimated ROI?)

Create the master list and then…

STEP 4: Analyze the Master List

Now that you’ve taken the 10,000+ trade shows that take place in the U.S. and found the ones that fit your business, it’s time to find the best shows for your money. Talk to the show’s organizers about results from past shows. While it is somewhat subjective, it will give you an idea of the types of exhibitors and results.

  • Total attendance
  • Net attendance which excludes exhibitors
  • Ask if the information provided is audited by an outside agency.
  • If it is a first-time show, review past events

If the organizer is non-responsive or will not provide information, cross them off the list. It’s a clear indicator of how well they communicate with their exhibitors – and why take a chance when there are better options available.

STEP 5: Create a Short List of Shows

The master list is a wish list. If your business had an unlimited budget and your customers were confirmed to be at all these events that would be the perfect scenario. While we can all hope, that’s probably not the case. Take the master list, your research (marketing, sales, customers, prospects), as well as time and budget to create a short list of events where you will showcase your brand.

The team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you create a trade show display to showcase your brand, attract target clients, and bring you trade show success in the form of sales. Contact us today to learn more.

4 Ways to Host an Eco-Friendly Event

eco friendly evnt planning

Eco-Friendly Event

Businesses around the globe are searching for ways to decrease their carbon footprint, including event planners and trade show professionals. Hosting an eco-friendly event doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, oftentimes you can offer the same (or better) experience to attendees while doing your part to be kind to the environment.

As a member of The New Mexico GREEN Chamber of Commerce, the team at EXHIB-IT! educates the community about green business practices across the state. We also encourage business practices that reflect your investment in the community through our combined desire to protect land, air, and water. We believe if we each do our part as individuals, business owners, and trade show professionals, we can protect the environment and make positive changes in communities.

  • Start small. While we wish we could make global changes, we know it starts in local communities. Grow the movement from local to regional, bringing eco-friendly events to the region, state, and nation. Eventually the change will be felt around the globe.
  • Green Marketing. Don’t be afraid to announce your business or event has embraced eco-friendly practices. Not only is this newsworthy, it helps people connect to your business. That helps build brand recognition.
  • Support Eco-Friendly Practices. Participate in events where event organizers are conscious of how their event is impacting the environment. Perhaps they offer recycling or give discounts to businesses who are using promotional products made of recycled materials. Remember, every little bit helps.

With 10,000+ events in the United States annually producing 600,000+ tons of waste, it’s worth your time to figure out how much your business is dumping. And how you can produce less waste. For event planners, you can look at ways to make your event more eco-friendly for vendors and attendees. Here are a few ideas:

Traveling Green

As an event planner you’re traveling across the country or around the globe for weeks at a time. It’s challenging to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle when there are so many opportunities to increase, rather than decrease, your carbon footprint. We believe traveling green starts before you leave and ends when you return home.

  • Before you leave home, unplug any light or appliance that doesn’t need to be plugged in while you’re gone. Close blinds and set the thermostat to a temperature that will keep your home safe but not waste energy. In cold climates, consider pipes freezing, and in hot climates, consider the summer heat.
  • Use eco-friendly displays made of lightweight and/or recycled materials. It’s less cost to ship and less fuel the plane or truck will use to get it from point A to point B.
  • Lightweight packing materials will not only save you money on shipping costs but will decrease your carbon footprint.
  • Pack a light suitcase for yourself to decrease the amount of fuel used to get you and your suitcase to your destination. A simple solution is to take less pairs or lighter weight shoes for the ladies. Men can take less business suits and more shirts and ties.
  • Rent a vehicle that is energy efficient.
  • Utilize public transportation, especially in big cities like New York and Chicago where driving and parking conditions are less than ideal.
  • Take public transportation to/from the airport.

That’s just the beginning of your eco-friendly event. Consider ways your business can market before, during, and after the event that are better for the environment.

Marketing Green

When you think about marketing your business or event, consider ways that use less paper, electricity, and still get your message to your audience.

  • Ditch the business cards and opt for a QR Code that attendees can scan to get your contact information.
  • Use an event-only texting code that attendees and vendors can use to get a link or download event or company specific information.
  • Add technology, such as a laptop or tablet, to your trade show display where attendees can interact with your website or products. (Sidenote: this is also a great way to gather contact information from prospective customers for future marketing efforts.)

Speaking of trade show displays…

Displaying Green

Consider how you can make your trade show display more eco-friendly including:

  • Materials used to make the display and promotional products
  • Ink used on banners and promotional products
  • Weight of the display which impacts shipping costs
  • LED lights which use significantly less energy than traditional lighting

Eco-friendly trade show displays are available in the same designs and colors as other displays, they just leave a smaller carbon footprint. Encourage vendors to use these displays to help conserve energy and natural resources.

Repurposing Green

With more than 600,000 tons of trash produced by trade shows annually, it is important to consider how much your business contributes and how you can produce less trash at your next event.

  • Promotional products with purpose. Rather than wine openers, for example, give away pens and pencils at your next event. When the event is over, donate leftovers to local schools or charities. Saves you the cost of shipping items back to your office and you do something good for others. (And let’s face it, that’s good PR for your business and brand.)
  • Recycling with purpose. Rather than shipping dated marketing materials back to your office or throwing them away, donate them to a local college or organization that supports young entrepreneurs.
  • Rebranding with purpose. It’s the last trade show with your existing display and you’re wondering what to do with it. Rather than throwing away a display that you’re no longer going to use, utilize social media at the event to find a business interested in purchasing your used trade show display. You’re saving the display from the landfill and helping another business.

If you’re interested in learning more about making your events more eco-friendly, contact the team at EXHIB-IT!

Welcome, The EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Blog

EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Marketing Blog

EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Marketing Experts

EXHIB-IT! and the entire team of Trade Show Marketing Experts would like to personally welcome you to our new and improved Trade Show Marketing Blog.  We hope that this Blog will be an important, informative and innovative resource, providing Business Owners, Professionals, Marketers, Managers and Trade Show Exhibitors with the resources they need to remain visible & successful in their field.  We post new Blogs bi-weekly on Thursdays, so be sure to follow us and sign up for updates and notifications to stay up to date and informed.

Thank You,

The EXHIB-IT! Team
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