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
- 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.