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The Ultimate Trade Show Display Checklist

Updated: Apr 20

Planning a booth for an upcoming trade show? Whether you have experience or not, participating in a trade show can be a huge undertaking. You want to make sure everything goes smoothly and looks professional for the big event.


This trade show checklist will help guide your preparations to ensure you have every detail planned out and nothing is forgotten.

6 Months Out

Ideally, you should start your preparations at least 6 months out from the date of the trade show you are attending. At this point you should:

  • Establish a game plan for your trade show program with at least 3 main goals outlined. What do you hope to gain from participating in this trade show?

  • Register with the trade show administration to reserve your place. Sometimes space in a particular venue may be limited, so you want to be sure you have made your reservation.

5 Months Out

Now that a month has passed you should have an even better idea of your goals and plans for your trade show program. At this point you should:

  • Set your budget. Evaluate your current financial situation, look at budget data from last year, and take into consideration any other financial information. Your budget will be a major factor in what your trade show display options are. If you participated in a trade show last year, calculate your return on investment to help you set a realistic budget.

  • Brainstorm ideas for your program and display booth. It doesn’t have to be set in stone at this time, just gather some basic themes for now.

  • If you have a display booth from a previous trade show, look it over and give it some serious thought. Decide if you need a brand new display or if just certain elements need to be changed or updated. Will it help you achieve the desired goals you established a month ago and your current goals today? If not, it’s time for something new.

4 Months Out

  • Find a trade show exhibit designer. Have you decided to get a fresh new look for this trade show? Now is the time to look for an exhibit creator who can turn your ideas into a professional, eye-catching display that will ensure your program gets the attention it deserves. Meet with them to get the ball rolling on your project.

  • Look into technology. Research and download a tradeshow app to help you manage your preparations as well as details during the event itself.

3 Months Out

  • At this point, your exhibit designer should have a concrete plan for creating your display and the process should be underway.

  • Confirm trade show details and double-check your reservation with them.

  • Choose a booth location if possible. Some shows will allow you to sign up for a certain location in the venue ahead of time.

2 Months Out

  • Check-in with your exhibit designer. Ask for a progress report on your display including pictures to make sure the design is in tune with what you requested.

  • Make sure your promotional items are ordered and ready to distribute in plenty of time before the show.

  • Have your literature printed, such as brochures, business cards, etc.

  • Choose your team. Which coworkers will be accompanying you on this endeavor? Check-in with them now so they can get the event on their personal calendars.

  • Arrange travel. Will you need to fly? Definitely book those tickets now. If you’ll simply need to rent a car or a van, make the reservation now with a rental company. If your equipment will require more space, rent a Uhaul or commercial-size vehicle.

  • If you and your coworkers plan to have matching clothes, order them now, especially if it is something that will have an embroidered logo or anything else complicated.

1 Month Out

  • Mail out your promotions to give people plenty of time to make plans to attend.

  • Check in again with your exhibit designer. Make sure the display is ready to go and find out if it will be shipped or delivered to the location and venue for the trade show.

  • Coordinate with your coworkers to ensure they are still planning to attend and set up any necessary training sessions.

2 Weeks Out

  • Check to see that your display has arrived at the trade show venue.

  • Have information packets with favors ready to give out at the show to interested parties.

  • Go over your checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

At the Show

  • Put your best face forward. Smile, be personable, share pertinent information, and be the best representation of your business or organization that you can be.

  • Give out the information packets to anyone who stops by the booth.

After the Show

  • Evaluate your results. Do you feel that your goals were met during the show?

  • Calculate the costs of participating in the trade show so you can weigh them against the new business you gain as a result.

  • Follow up with any leads who were willing to give you their information.

  • List what went right and what went wrong.

Get the Ultimate Trade Show Display from Hatch Exhibits

Do you want a display that looks professional and creative? Do you want your booth to stand out from the rest? Hatch Exhibits capabilities go beyond anything you’ve seen before. Our design services allow us to create your trade show display to reflect exactly what your company or organization stands for in an innovative way.


Call (844) 22-HATCH or (844) 224-2824 today to discuss your trade show display ideas with the creative minds at Hatch Exhibits or contact us.


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