Being prepared is a key skill for any trade show professional.
There is limited time before, during, and after each event day's hours. Use that time wisely as you want to be focused on achieving your goals, not wasting time chasing down a ziptie to hold your booth's backdrop together.
Make sure you pack these essential items for your next event
The obvious first items for the toolbox are the tools. It's not that you're constructing a booth and need power tools, you simply need these tools in the event you need to fix something on the spot. Make sure you have the most common tools (and anything display specific):
- hammer (and small variety of nails)
- variety of screwdrivers (small pack of screws)
- allen wrench set - just in case
- zip ties and a heavy tape
Snacks & Water
It's futile to schedule snack and lunch breaks in advance, and you'll have limited control of when people will visit your booth. So make sure you always bring refillable water bottles (and a few backups) as well as a variety of snacks including good sources of protein. This will help make sure you and your staff can remain attentive throughout a daunting, exhausting day. Plus, convention center food can get expensive quickly. If you bring your own you'll save on your budget.
These seems like a given. However, it's very common for exhibitors to forget to bring office supplies to a trade show.
Above all else make sure you have pens! But don't forget to also pack office essentials like:
- business cards
- stapler and extra staples
- notepads, sheets of paper
Mobile Device & Hotspot
Leave the laptop at the office or at home, and bring a tablet or simply your smartphone. While guest wifi is included at many convention centers, it tends to be unreliable depending on time of day, bandwidth and traffic.
Make sure you have a mobile device that you can look up things on the fly if necessary. Get a hotspot if necessary. But don't get carried away, you don't want to be distracted when you have booth visitors or they'll leave.
First impressions are everything at a trade show, so be prepared to tidy up your space. A quick list of supplies you will want to bring are:
- glass cleaner
- paper towels
- disinfecting wipes
- broom and dustpan
- stain remover - just in case
At the end of each day, dust your shelves, clean your touchscreens, wipe down your table tops, pickup trash on floor, and reset chairs. If you want to level-up your preparedness bring a small vacuum to make fast work of your floor clean-up.
Hopefully now, you'll be ready for whatever the day brings you.