10 questions for trade show organizers

10 questions you must ask trade show organizers before renting a booth


Are you ready to participate in a trade show? Great for you! Trade shows are the best place to reach new markets and meet new people , you should definitely join!

But there are so many events out there – how to pick the right one for your business?

We have prepared a series of 10 questions you must ask your trade show organizer to define whether there is a fit.

1. What type of traffic will I get?

Trade show organizer will not tell you who will visit your booth – that is YOUR job to drive crowds to your stall.

However, it is the organizer’s job to bring the right quantity and quality of visitors to the aisles.

Find out more about the event’s traffic:

  • how many people are expected?
  • what is the breakdown? What is the percentage of these people who are actually your target?
  • where are they coming from? Are they part of your distribution territory?
  • why are people joining? What are they looking for? What have they been promised by the organizer?
  • what is the percentage of buyers / decision makers versus visitors?

This is a crucial question: even if the event drives one million people, if there are not your target customers, why bother?

Find out more about how to qualify prospects visiting your trade show booth.

2. How much?

Let’s cut to the chase. We can beat around the bush for hours but, at the end of the day, the price is an essential element of your decision.

Yes, a trade show is an investment and if you manage it well you could multiply each dollar invested by 2, 5 or 10. But you have no guarantee of that and you first need to pay before you can get that money – so, how much?

Don’t ask the question before you have a clear budget in mind.

3. What’s in it for me?

Yes, you will get a booth, that’s what you are paying for. But are there other opportunities?

Marketing campaigns, ad space, PR, logo placement, etc.

What can the organizer do to maximize your ROI and how much extra will it cost?

4. Where will I be located?

You can usually pick your booth location (if you commit early on), but you may be restricted to a specific area based on your product category: 3D printers and smartphones usually don’t exhibit in the same corner. Similarly, your company’s HQs will impact your location as trade shows like to regroup booths by country.

Tell the organizer the type of products you are showcasing and your country of origin to find out where you will be parked. Ask how large is your section and how many similar products will exhibit: you need a full picture to make a thought-through decision.

Find out more about how to select the perfect booth location.

5. What is the difference with other similar events?

Very few trade shows are unique. Most events have similar counterparts within the same industry and region.

You need to find out which is made for your business, so bluntly ask the question: why you?

6. How old is your event?

If the event is new and this is the first edition, you are taking a risk: the event may be canceled before it even starts or attracts very little traffic. On the other hand, that is a great opportunity because you may be able to negotiate much lower prices and get long term advantages for being an early adopter.

If the event exists for a few years already, you can access past record. Ask for previous years figures, reports and surveys. While the content would obviously be biased to support the trade show, it would contain interesting data for you to review.

Keep in mind that long established events often consider they have nothing to prove anymore: there will certainly be less flexible, less interested in negotiating prices or packages and offer less innovative tools or tech. You will trade flexibility for security.

7. Do you offer WiFi?

Be very careful when listening to this question’s answer and read the fine print. “Yes” usually means “yes, we offer WiFi, for a very expensive price and an highly unstable connection“.

Ask what are the options and what they include. Never assume that a venue will provide free quality WiFi and consider alternative solutions, such as buying your own 3/4G.

Find out more about why you need WiFi in your trade show booth.

8. How will you help me succeed?

Some trade shows focus on their clients’ success, others only care about selling booths.

You can easily find out which category your event belongs to when asking this question.

More and more trade shows provide event apps but most of them are purely serving the organizer’s interest, collecting data and offering very little value to the exhibitor.

Others will provide free courses for event management, lead capture, booth best practice, etc. Some will even provide you with actual tools (appointment tools, promotion page, etc.) that could help you improve your business results.

If nothing has been prepared to help you succeed, ask yourself whether this event even cares about your satisfaction.

Remember, you can always use myfairtool for your trade show, regardless of the event you pick. It will help you efficiently plan your show, capture leads and convert prospects.

9. Am I free to choose my suppliers?

It does sound like something obvious, but it really isn’t.

For some event, especially in the US, you have no freedom to choose your suppliers and you must use the ones vetted by the union.

In such case, prices will often go through the roof as there is a monopoly situation and you have no alternative but to pay the price.

While this may seem like a secondary consideration, it should actually be part of your main focus as it may seriously impact your original budget.

10. How efficient is your support team?

Except if you are a trade show expert who’s been working with the same event for the past 10 years, chances are that sooner or later you will need the organizer’s help.

The person who sold you the booth will stop caring about you the minute the contract is signed – you will need to contact the support team.

Some shows provide an incredible “Exhibitor Manual” that contains everything you need and clearly explains each detail. For most shows however, the Exhibitor Manual is really difficult to navigate and the show support will become the most-used-contact in your address book.

How many customer service departments do they have? Do they work together to solve your problems or will they reject any responsibility and ask you to see with their colleagues? How fast do they respond to inquiries? Are they reachable by phone or only email? Do they provide 24/7 service? The last part is especially relevant if you participate in an event abroad.

 

You know the top 10 questions you should ask event organizers before renting a booth? Great, then you are ready to pick!

What are YOUR secret questions before choosing an event?

The Exhibitor.

10 questions you must ask trade show organizers before renting a booth
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  • Stuart Bailey

    There are nine good questions in here that any good organiser should be able to answer with confidence. I’d ignore question 6 though, as the age of an event often doesn’t mean mean a guarantee of quality. In fact it’s often the newer events that target focused niches better.

    • Thank you Stuart.
      You have well proven with the HR Summit & Expo and many other events you organize that event quality isn’t necessarily related to the event’s age – you can do absolutely great with a new event or prove great quality year after year with a more established one.
      Yet, the event’s age still give you indication of expectation, in terms of popularity and flexibility.
      Thank you for sharing your opinion with us!

  • These are helpful tips right here. My company EventsCase has been investing in trade exhibitions in the events industry. While being an exhibitor may be expensive, it always pays off once quality leads are acquired and once these questions are asked beforehand to the organisers. We are in fact going to the International Confex in London next Wednesday. There are a lot of things to look forward to!

    • Thanks a lot for your input Jose, and best of luck @ Confex!