Are you attending your first trade show this year? Don’t settle for the simple opportunity to check out your industry’s latest. Make connections with suppliers and industry partners to add value to your investment.

If you’re like any other local business owner, you’ll want to keep your costs down. And to do that, you’ll need a plan so you can spend your time wisely making connections that matter. Who are the people you need to talk to? Do you know the best places to stay when attending a trade show. We’ll give you a hint, it’s not your friend’s spare room.

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your first trade show.

Choose the right show

Depending on your industry, you may have a handful of trade shows to choose from each year. Choosing the right show depends on your business objectives. Do you need to meet marketing partners for a new product? Perhaps you want to diversify your vendor list. The right show for you will be attended by exhibitors and colleagues who can move you closer to your business objectives.


Be the early bird

Is there still have time before early registration closes?  Pre-registration perks are the best – priority seating, exclusive access, swag. You really can’t go wrong. Also, you’ll be able to do more planning for events outside of the show. Often, local industry leaders host independent events for attendees. Since you’ve already committed, prioritize your time, so you can check out alternative events in the local area.


Book a room at the hosting hotel

Room blocks, as they are often referred to, are held for show attendees and usually at discounted rates during early registration. Staying at a hosting hotel is a smart networking move because you can mingle with industry professionals you may miss at the show. Also, the atmosphere will be way more sociable than your friend’s spare room.


Map your route

Most trade shows will give you a map, if not a list, of exhibitors and their booth numbers. Hit your prioritized booths first, while you still feel fresh. Did you pack an extra pair of comfy shoes? After making the necessary visits to your targeted vendors, you can enjoy the rest of the exposition at your leisure. These expos can be massive, so use the exhibitor list as a resource to map out your route.


Get out of your comfort zone

Take your business cards with you everywhere you go, and don’t be shy about striking up conversations with strangers. Get out of your comfort zone, you never know who you’ll meet or how the next opportunity can advance your business goals. Good luck!

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