Travel Tips for Event Planners

Are you prepared for travel changes to your next event?

Corporate event planners will be among the first to say that the best laid plans can go awry. From venue changes and vendor requests to airline and weather changes, it is often more overwhelming on event days than pre or post-event. Pre-event planning can help alleviate some of the stress of your trip.

travel tips, event planners, what to pack, how to pack, trade show, marketing

Travel Tips for Event Planners

Here are a few tips:

  • Charge and pack mobile devices and batteries.
  • Check clothes for smudges and stains.
  • Polish or clean your shoes.
  • Print and review the itinerary.
  • Learn how to fold clothes for the least wrinkles upon arrival.
  • Register for loyalty programs of airlines and hotels to maximize the benefits.

What to Pack

The overriding tip for what to pack is to think about a variety of scenarios. What if the Wi-Fi isn’t as good as promised? What if your presentation isn’t available electronically? In addition to technical difficulties, pack for the different events happening over the course of the trade show or expo. Is there a formal event? Will you be doing walking or a lot of sitting in cold conference rooms? This will help you know what to pack to wear.

Here are the most common items for event planners to pack:

  • Walking shoes and/or dress shoes that are comfortable to wear all day.
  • Appropriate business and party attire per the itinerary. And then bring an extra. You don’t want to take out your favorite dress or dress shirt and have a stain on it and have nothing else to wear. We’re not saying you’re messy; we’re saying sometimes things don’t go as planned. We want you to have a plan b even if it’s just a pair of socks or a clean shirt.
  • Chargers for mobile devices including cell phone, tablet, and laptop
  • Presentation materials if you’re an emcee or presenter. Bring the electronic and paper versions in case of technical challenges at the event.
  • Business cards. I can’t tell you the number of times I have almost forgotten to bring business cards to an event. Don’t be left without them! You want people to be able to reach you post-event.
  • Update apps on your mobile devices so you can check flight status, confirm travel plans, and make changes as needed.
  • Giveaways and trade show display for your business.
  • Event itinerary and map of trade show floor. Don’t count on someone else to know this or bring this information or rely on Wi-Fi especially if you’re at a new venue.

Whether you’re shipping or packing the trade show display, confirm where you are setting up at the event before you get to the venue. As an event planner, you also want to be sure vendors know where they need to pick up and set up pre and post show. It will cut down on the chaos at the venue if people know where they need to go.

Mobile Devices

Charge mobile devices before you depart and have extra batteries in your carry-on bag. More than likely there isn’t going to be an available charging station at every airport especially if you aren’t the only one stranded. In the event of weather related delays, you will want to have your mobile device – cell phone or tablet – readily available to reschedule flights or find alternative transportation.

No one likes to be left out especially if you’re the event organizer. Stay in contact with your team for any event-specific changes as you’re traveling to the event location. There’s nothing worse than being the event planner who doesn’t have the full picture about their event when they arrive at the location.

In the event that you just can’t make it or will be late, you can reach your team and anyone you may have meetings with to let them know and to reschedule.

Opportunities to Connect

Business travelers often say they feel alone or disconnected from family and friends while they are away from home. Add a couple days onto your trip and connect with people you may not be able to see on a regular basis. There’s a lot to be said about the benefit of face-to-face meetings even in today’s digital age.

Make your next trip feel more like home when you take connect with friends and family in the event city. Go see a friend’s new baby or house in real life instead of on social media. You can also use this as an opportunity to connect with business contacts. Schedule appointments with key players or prospects while you’re both in the same city.

You might be tired after your event but the time spent connecting will prove to be refreshing. At EXHIB-IT! we love connecting businesses to their target market through trade shows and expos. We look forward to working with you. Be sure to contact us or check out our online catalogs for more info.

15 Trade Show & Event Planning Resources

If you’re a professional event planner or trade show organizer, you know there is a sea of information available from a variety of sources. From professional associations and industry news to event planning blogs, it’s hard to know which websites are the most reliable sources.

Trade Show, Event Planning, Marketing Blog

15 Trade Show and Event Planning Resources

Keep in mind you don’t have to attend or exhibit at every industry event. You don’t have time to read every event planner blog. And you don’t need to know ALL of the industry trends, just the ones that matter to your business.

Before you dive into our list of resources:

  1. Identify your industry
  2. Define your target market
  3. Define event goals

Once you’ve narrowed your focus with 1-3, you can begin researching the best places to exhibit and market your business.

15 Tradeshow & Event Planning Resources

  1. Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) is the premier source for tradeshow industry research and trends. For more than 30 years they have been promoting the importance of tradeshows to building a business and have the research to prove it. A go-to source for anyone in or near the exhibition industry.
  2. Exhibitor Magazine provides tips for best practices in the industry including thousands of articles. Topics include planning and executing, marketing and promotion, events and venues, and career tips for event professionals.
  3. Exhibit and Event Marketers Association is a community of marketers providing education and training, and advocates for best practices at events and tradeshows. As an association member, you can receive a Certified Manager of Exhibits designation for those with industry-recognized and demonstrated expertise in all areas of exhibit and event management.
  4. Velvet Chainsaw by Jeff Hurt is an amazingly information packed site tracking the latest trends to help you improve your annual meetings, conferences, and education by an industry leader. The downside? If you’re looking for an easy-to-navigate site, you might consider looking elsewhere. The amount of information, and categories and tags is a bit overwhelming.
  5. Trade Show News Network From the Top Trade Shows list to the Tech Guide, this website provides the latest news and insider information.
  6. Trade Show Expo is THE hub for trade show managers, meeting planners, and exhibit builders who conduct face-to-face business in Las Vegas. If your trade show is in Vegas or you’re thinking about Las Vegas as a meeting destination, you need this resource.
  7. Exhibit City News offers a variety of industry related news. Most notably is their coverage of green and eco-friendly trends.
  8. Events in America is where you can find tradeshows, events, expos, and conventions across the country. It’s not just a database. Users can share events with colleagues, save them for future reference, build local and regional event calendars and more.
  9. Trade Show Advisor is great for event planning professionals seeking ways to grow your trade show success, making the most out of your trade show investment. Identify the best trade show displays and how to maximize efforts at your next event using the resources offered on this site.
  10. Social Media for Planners is perfect if you’re seeking new or innovative ways to reach your audience using social media. You know you need to be sharing on social media, but do you know how much is too much? Don’t scare your audience away with sales-y posts; check out this site and get some insight from the professionals before your next event.
  11. Bizbash is THE place to go for trendy ideas for your next event. Get creative ideas and see what the leading event professionals are doing to create memorable events for their clients.
  12. Event Manager Blog: This blog offer useful tips (making your event more eco-friendly, how to use social media to promote events) and information for event planners, they also post a month-end best-of post.
  13. Event Planning Blueprint: This blog truly does what it says – provides a blueprint for planning events. From posts about themed events to building your event planning business, new and seasoned planners will find this information useful.
  14. Eventjuice is a hip, clean site offering a youthful approach to event planning with tips for new and seasoned event planners alike. Recent posts include who to follow on Twitter, interview questions for event planners, and expert interviews.
  15. EXHIB-IT! Blog, well we can’t forget the resources we offer here! It is our mission to help tradeshow professionals get the most out of your event investment. For those of you in New Mexico, check out our Local Event Calendar.

The team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you create the perfect trade show display solution for your brand. Contact us today to learn more.

Beyond the Noise: 8 Ways to Exhibit for Success

beyond-the-noise-8-ways-to-exhibit-for-success-4-2-15

You’re ready for your next trade show or expo. You’ve created a booth to attract the type of prospects you desire. You’ve trained the booth staff and you’ve got the swag bags ready to hand to visitors. Are you ready to exhibit for success? Maybe.

  • Have you clearly defined the goal of this event for your business?
  • Do you have a post-event action plan for all the leads you’re gathering?
  • What will attendees do or be shown when they visit your booth?

All too often we think we’re prepared for a trade show and when we get there, we don’t have a clear plan. Pick one or two areas in which you can showcase your business at your next event. Introducing a new product, checking out what the competition is doing, or reclaiming your market share are just a few of the ways to exhibit for success.

Here are 8 Ways to Exhibit for Success:

  1. Introduce New Products: Have you ever seen a New and Improved product? Most of us have! I remember being a kid going to the local swap meet where the local magic mop guy was demonstrating the latest feature of his new and improves mop. Sometimes he even had a new product – a squeegee or sponge that would, in his words, change our lives. His over the top enthusiasm for a simple chore helped sell the product. Not only could we touch the product, but he let us use it! I don’t know how much he knew about marketing but he sure got us interested. Experiencing a new or improved product at an event is a great way to generate sales and get the market interested in your business.
  2. Facilitating and Nurturing Relationships: Do you go to events to see your friends or network with other business owners? If you’re trying to grow your business or nurture friendships, you do! Trade shows do the same for business – they offer you the opportunity to foster relationships you’ve already built or are establishing. Not only can you meet clients and prospects, you have the opportunity to nurture relationships with complementary businesses.
  3. Generating Qualified Leads: Qualifying leads is about more than gathering business cards and shaking hands. You need to learn about the other person’s needs in order to understand and articulate how your company can help them. You might not gain full knowledge from the trade show floor, but you should get an idea of who is a lead and who isn’t by asking the right questions and engaging visitors.
  4. Brand Building: Trade shows, expos, and events are an effective way to bring your brand to the marketplace and make people familiar with who you are and what you do. By being out in the community, you will build a reputation of how your product or service can help others.
  5. Level the Playing Field: If you’ve got the chance to attend a larger scale event, take it! Attending these events gives you the opportunity to see the same people as a larger brand in your industry. WOW attendees with your customer focus, make them feel special, something larger brands may not be able to do. Illustrate your team understands the products by training booth staff to answer a variety of questions; it’s another way to set yourself apart from the competition.
  6. Research the Competition: Are you exercising competitive intelligence when you attend trade shows? Consider it an opportunity to learn from the competition. In fact, some of the greatest lessons in business are watching others and learning what NOT to do at your event. Observe who has the greatest and least number of visitors to their booth – What are they doing to attract or detract visitors? For the most popular booths, duplicate or translate for your business and brand at a future event.
  7. Gain or Retain a Market Share: Ever feel like the competition is creeping up on you? Maybe your old tactics aren’t as effective. Maybe the competition has attracted a market segment that you want to attract. Trade shows can be an opportunity to get in front of your target audience and win them back with your unique brand of business.
  8. Test a Market: Rather than spending time and money on a product that won’t see, consider testing a beta version with your target audience at a trade show. Ask them what they like and dislike about the product. Find out what they would improve. Make it better before mass distribution or move on to the next project.

Exhibiting for success is about more than paying for space and showing up. It’s about having a plan for before, during, and after an event. Select a goal or two and focus on that at your next event or trade show. We’re sure you will see success!

Trade Show Booth Design Strategies for Success

Envirotech, Trade Show,  Exhibitor, green trade show exhibit

Envirotech, Nomadic Trade Show Exhibit

According to trade show research, 76% of attendees arrive at the show with an agenda. They have studied the exhibitor list and know who they want to see, making it important to create a memorable experience when they visit your trade show booth. Giving visitors a memorable experience begins by understand your business goals – the WHY of being a trade show exhibitor.

We all want to grow our businesses. Have a clear understanding of why you are exhibiting at a trade show before making the investment. Designing a trade show booth is about more than making a marketing statement; it’s about telling the story of your business to attract attendees that want what you are offering.

Think about what you like about your current display and study the competition. Begin to identify design elements that you like and that will help your business get recognized at events. Identify the target client or trade show booth visitor. You want to bring visitors to your booth through brand recognition and a desire to connect with your product or service using trade show booth design strategies for success.

Start with a Trade Show Booth Designer

Envirotech, Trade Show,  Exhibitor, green trade show exhibit

Trade Show Booth Design Strategies for Success

If you’re unsure of where to start in designing a trade show booth, consider working with a professional trade show exhibit designer like the ones we have at EXHIB-IT!  We ask questions, listen to your business needs and goals, and help you create a display that helps build your business brand while maximizing your budget.

Perhaps you want to have meetings with clients or prospects or you want to include technology in your booth. Maybe your biggest concern is being more eco-friendly in trade show booth design elements. You may want to attract corporate clients or small businesses. These are all important to understand as you create a new trade show booth.

Who is your target client?

Envirotech, Trade Show,  Exhibitor, green trade show exhibit, nomadic

At your trade show booth, you want to show people how your product can help them.

In the midst of building a business, we often lose sight of who we are trying to reach. Sounds crazy but it happens to the best of us. We’re so busy finding and closing deals, we lose sight of why we started the business and who we want to help. Before you design a trade show booth, think about who you want to attract to your booth, that’s your target client.

How does your company help clients or customers?

A marketing professional once told us that marketing isn’t about the drill, it’s about the hole you can make with the drill. You have to show people how your product or service helps them. It isn’t enough to say you have a great drill. Rather, you show people what your drill can do for them; it helps them solve the problem of how to make a hole. At your trade show booth, you want to show people how your product can help them.

Who are your competitors?

Nothing like competitive intelligence to help you market your business. Study what your competition is doing well and what they could improve. No one is perfect. There are opportunities to market your business a little differently than the competition, creating an edge for your business.

What do you like and dislike about your current trade show display?

If you’re in the market for a new trade show display, there has to be a reason why. More than likely, there are aspects of the old design that you like and dislike. In the new design, you want to capture what you like and change what you don’t like to create the right trade show booth for your business.

You may, for example, like the xSnap display design but feel it needs something to make it POP for attendees. Consider adding lighting to make the design more visible and attract more visitors to your booth.

What are the goals and how are you measuring trade show success?

In order to measure the success of the investment in a trade show or trade show booth, it is essential to define the goals. We all want more business but “get leads” isn’t a true goal. Make it measurable. X number of booth visitors, X number of leads, X number of prospective customers, and X number of deals closed, are all measurable trade show goals.

Trade show booth design strategies for success begin by understanding your business and trade show goals. Once defined, you can begin to design a trade show booth to help you meet your goals.

The team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you create the perfect trade show display solution for your unique business. Contact us today to learn more.

Guide to Trade Show Displays

Trade Show, Displays, Exhibits, Green Circle with white words inside

Trade Show Displays

Depending on your business needs, the team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you find the best solution for your trade show displays. Considerations to make before purchasing include budget, visibility, number of shows you’re planning to attend, and your need for either indoor or outdoor displays.

Banner Stands can be used for indoor or outdoor advertising. Whether you’re exhibiting at a trade show or event, or need to make your storefront more noticeable. This is a simple, lightweight and portable solution.

Table Top trade show displays are an affordable option especially when you are making a big statement in a small area. Showcase your brand and attract attention to your table with this solution. Great for new exhibitors, small businesses, governmental agencies and non-profits.

Nomadic Pop Up Displays can be used on the floor of your exhibit space to make a statement. Large, portable, lightweight, and easy to assemble, our customers love that they can be show-ready in as little as 20 minutes! These are a great way to showcase a variety of products in one place without overtaking your booth space.

Nomadic Custom Modular Trade Show Displays are perfect for trade show veterans and established businesses. Make a statement that will attract visitors to your booth by creating the perfect display with simple adjustments of pieces to fit the booth space.

The team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you create the perfect trade show display solution for your unique business. Contact us today to learn more.

4 Tips for Selecting the Right Trade Show Display

amazon kindle fire, web apps, trade show display, 10 by 20, branded exhibit kiosk

Save 10% on Select Eco Green Exhibits, now through April 30th, 2015.

What’s your reason for being a vendor at a trade show? Some companies want to have a presence that literally takes space away from the competition, especially new competitors. Others see it as an investment or opportunity to build brand recognition and generate leads. Whatever the reason, it is important to select the right trade show display to meet the needs of your business.

  • Develop a strategy so you can create a trade show display that attracts the visitors you want to meet.
  • Know the budget so you can design a booth that meets marketing and cost considerations.
  • Quality over quantity when it comes to who you want to visit. You don’t want to get noticed by everyone, only your ideal attendee.
  • Understand the options of what is available based on your needs.

1.  Develop a Strategy

It has been said that failure to plan is a plan to fail. We don’t want that to happen to you at your next trade show or business expo. That’s why it is important to understand your event goals.

  • Who do you want to attract to your booth?
  • What do you want them to learn?

The answers to these questions will help you design a trade show display that attracts visitors that you want so you can tell them how your business can help them.

2.  Know the Budget

A business marketing plan should include a trade show budget for the cost of event space and the trade show display. Don’t worry that you will need an entirely new display annually. That isn’t the case for most businesses. At EXHIB-IT!, we offer trade show display options that are easily convertible for a variety of trade show needs.

Consider the following when determining your trade show budget:

  • How many trade shows are you planning to attend annually?
  • Are they local, regional, national, or international trade shows?
  • How big is your brand?

The frequency of event attendance plays a role in determining the budget as well as the design of the trade show display. If you’re exhibiting a few times a year at local or regional events you might opt for a smaller or simpler display than for national or international events, for example. If your brand is well-known, consider a larger, more prominent display so your customers can easily find you at events.

3.  Quality over Quantity

Would you rather have 100 visitors engaged in your product or 1,000 who grabbed swag and kept walking? Most of us want booth visitors who are interested in our business and how we can help them.

  • Who is your ideal booth visitor?
  • What would they find most engaging about your booth?

When you’re thinking about design, think about the ideal booth visitor. Create a booth that attracts them to your trade show display rather than to the competition. If your audience is older, for example, you might consider print marketing materials over a digital option.

4.  Understand the Options

Developing a strategy, knowing the budget, identifying the ideal booth visitor are key to creating a trade show booth display that represents your business and brand. A couple of other considerations:

  • Do you need a trade show display for indoor or outdoor use?
  • How much visibility do you need?

At EXHIB-IT!, we offer a variety of trade show display options. From banner stands for your storefront to double deck displays, we have solutions for business marketing.

Banner Stands can be used for indoor or outdoor advertising. Whether you’re exhibiting at a trade show or event, or need to make your storefront more noticeable, this is a simple, lightweight, and portable solution.

Table Top trade show displays are an affordable option, especially when you are making a big statement in a small area. Showcase your brand and attract attention to your table with this solution. Great for new exhibitors or smaller events and shows.

Pop Up Displays can be used on the floor of your exhibit space to make a statement. Large, portable, lightweight, and easy to assemble, our customers love that they can be show-ready in as little as 20 minutes! These are a great way to showcase a variety of products in one place without overtaking your booth space.

Nomadic Custom Modular Trade Show Displays are perfect for trade show veterans and established businesses. Make a statement that will attract visitors to your booth by creating the perfect display by simply adjusting pieces to fit the booth space.

Double Deck Truss Displays bring your display to the next level – literally. Create a second floor where you can meet with clients and prospects right from the trade show floor!

The team at EXHIB-IT! is here to help you create the perfect trade show display solution for your unique business. Contact us today to learn more.

If you’re interested in learning how to make the most of your trade show investing, register for our FREE WEBINAR series.

Using Social Media for Events

76% of event marketers are using social media for events.

76% of event marketers are using social media for events.

Whether you’re a seasoned event planner or are new to the scene, it’s an important part of your marketing strategy. From setting up corporate accounts to creating interest before the event to real-time social media on event day to post-event feedback, you’ve got to have a plan.

Social Media Examiner has a great article – 16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event, that goes into great detail about each social media platform, providing best practices. Here are just a few of the ways to use social media for events from EXHIB-IT!:

  1. Create corporate accounts. No matter how small your business, you must create an online presence for your brand. Rather than being you, create accounts for your business. Post and build a following as your business. It’s too difficult to convert followers from personal to business accounts once your brand is bigger.
  2. Be selective. As you’re planning your trade show strategy, be selective in the products that you’re highlighting at the show and on social media during the event. You don’t have enough time to put everything in the spotlight so pick the best of the best and market those.
  3. Hashtag it. Use the hashtag for the trade show in your social media posts. Tweet and retweet using the Twitter handle (username) for the event. Use Hootsuite, or other similar platforms, to track where you and the event are being mentioned.
  4. Be Social. Along the same lines as using hashtags, be social and talk to the other people using your hashtag and event name. Some of the best business relationships have started with a simple tweet or share.
  5. Picture this. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we need to add something about using Pinterest and/or Instagram as part of your social media strategy. Ask attendees to share their event photos on these visual platforms so others can see how much fun or how informative your event was.

Interested in learning how to make the most of your trade show dollar? Download our FREE WEBINARS to learn more.