When’s The Best Time To Start Planning Your Trade Show?

Published October, 2023

If you’ve ever attended a trade show, you already know how overwhelming it can feel for visitors with the crowds, exhibits, and so much to take in. However, that’s still a trifle compared to the effort required to participate in a trade show, working with a full-service exhibit company to create your own display and space. There is a lot of planning that you should undertake if you want a successful trade show. When’s the best time to start? As with many things, this depends on your goals and your level of familiarity.

First Trade Show

If you plan to exhibit at a trade show for the first time, the best way to avoid stress is to plan your trade show beyond when it gets underway. At a minimum, give yourself over a year to do your planning because you will have a learning curve, and you want to take your time with this rather than being railroaded by looming deadlines into decisions which—with more education—you’ll realize weren’t the right ones for your business.

The more time you can give yourself, the more learning you can do, so a year and a few months before you actually attend is the best time as a first-timer.

Large Or Custom Exhibit

If you’ve got experience with trade shows but are a bit more ambitious with your planning, then 6-12 months out from the trade show is probably sufficient time. This is especially crucial if you’re finally committing to a large exhibit space or creating a custom exhibit space that won’t have a lot of easy, standard, “off the shelf” features and requires a lot of design and collaboration with a full-service exhibit company.

If nothing else, the extra time is required for custom pieces to be properly fabricated in time for your trade show, and if you’re working with a larger venue, you’ll want more time to plan space allocation and manage your staff at the various spaces.

Experienced Or Running A Smaller Space

If this “isn’t your first rodeo,” and you’ve attended plenty of trade shows, or you’re working with a smaller, standard space of, say, 8 x 8 or 8 x10, then you’ll not only have less extensive activity, you’ll also require less planning time.

This exhibit activity normally requires only 4-6 months of preparation to ensure that the show floor activities are successfully planned.

If you’d like help to plan your exhibit, we can help. Contact ,Lighthouse Exhibits, and we can assist you with designing and constructing your trade show exhibit.