Trade Show Tips to Prepare Attendees and Vendors

Trade Show Preparation Tips for Attendees & Vendors

Popular Trade Shows 2024 > Trade Show Guides > Trade Show Preparation Tips for Attendees & Vendors

Getting ready to attend a trade show can be difficult, especially if it’s your first time. Whether you’re going as a visitor or a vendor, it may be hard to know what to expect. While there may be a million questions on your mind, attending a trade show doesn’t have to be super stressful. It can be a lot of fun!

Read on for some trade show tips to consider before showing up at the event.

Preparation Tips for Attendees

Why attend trade shows in the first place? To have fun and learn! If you’re visiting a show on your own rather than working at an exhibitor booth, you have the freedom to systematically explore it on your own schedule. However, the day can be overwhelming if you’re unprepared, especially for larger trade shows and expos. To enjoy it to the fullest and get the most of the experience, follow these tips:

  • Register far in advance: Tickets can sometimes sell out quickly, and even when they don’t, waiting in a long line for tickets puts a damper in any show. Trade show attendance can be hard to predict, so don’t take any chances and be sure to register early.

  • Give yourself more time than you think: Whatever amount of time you think it will take you to get through an expo, double it. Chances are there will be more to see than you think, or there may be speakers, or the area is too big to walk without breaks and there’s simply too much information to digest in one full session. Give yourself plenty of time so you’re not rushed and don’t miss out on anything.

  • Dress comfortably: You’ll be standing up and walking for a good portion of the event, so don’t wear shoes that hurt your feet after an hour, tight jeans that restrict your movement, or clothes that make you either too hot or too cold.

  • Grab a show guide: There are so many shows, rows, and booths at an expo that it can quickly become overwhelming. To avoid getting lost or missing things that you’d come there to see, grab a show guide. It often includes a map to help you navigate the event.

  • Take breaks: Taking breaks helps your mind to comprehend and process everything you’ve seen and heard, and also gives you a chance to make decisions rather than getting pushed from one slot to the next. Take these opportunities to eat, drink plenty of water, and go to the restroom. Don’t worry - if you pace yourself and have a show guide, you won’t be missing out on anything.

  • Don’t linger too long at booths: Spending too long at one trade show booth limits the amount of time you have to spend throughout the rest of the expo. It also doesn’t help you when you’re trying to compare one business, product or service to another.

    Finding out as much information as you can and getting answers to your questions is important, but it’s not the only goal. Once you’ve received enough information, grab their card or other contact information and any samples or fliers they’re handing out and continue your journey.

  • Take advantage of deals and discounts that are only available at the show: More often than not, businesses like to entice the attendees with deals that are only on offer while the show continues. Going in with a goal or intention to take advantage of deals will not only help you to spot them but also ensure that you’re going home happy - with exactly what you’d gone there to find.

  • Bring your samples: If you are attending a show with vendors that do custom work, it’s a great idea to bring a flash drive full of photos of areas that you want repaired, replaced, updated, or completely renovated. Bring photos of your inspiration, or pictures or drawings of things that you would like to be used in your customization. These samples also help the vendor to provide you with their best service. Doing so also means that you might be able to get the work done or put into their customer list straight away, so you can get what you want even faster.

  • Bring pen and paper/notebook: This will allow you to record important information from vendors It will also be handy to store phone numbers and other contact details - because let’s be honest, business cards are easily lost.

  • Bring a bag and water: Water because you’ll want to be able to walk around without searching for a fountain every time you get thirsty (which will be often, as anyone who attends trade shows often will tell you). A bag to store samples, goodies, fliers and anything else you get from the show.

Preparation Tips for Vendors

To make the trade show valuable for your business, you’ll want to adequately prepare. To avoid that, follow these tips for attending a trade show:

  • Register in advance: There are only so many slots available for vendors, and the best spots tend to go first. By registering in advance you are securing your spot, and a good one, so you can start planning accordingly. You’ll need to know where you’ll be located so you can design your booth set up, displays, and learn traffic patterns. It will also help you to know who will be positioned around you, as this will also impact your chances of getting noticed.

  • Make sure you’re going to the right show: It might seem obvious, but you want to make sure you’re registered and attending the right show. Sometimes there are multiple conventions at the same time or in the same place. Other times, registration dates are limited to certain times of the year. Missing the window means missing the show (or registering for the wrong one).

  • Research who else is attending: Preparing for your competition is the best thing you can do for your business. Knowing what they’ve done at past expos or what they have on offer, and even following some on social media is just one way of getting ahead of the competition. Besides, forming bonds with businesses in your vertical has its advantages. Take your cue from social media influencers who have built their platforms by networking and learning from other influencers.

  • Book your room at the same hotel: A lot of expos are held at hotels due to their convenience and available space. By staying at the same hotel where the expo is located, you’re only making it easier on yourself and your team.


Attending a trade show can be an amazing experience! The people you meet, new innovations you learn about, new leads you develop and products you see can stay with you all year and beyond. Following the points suggested here will set your trip up for success.

Cardboard Cutout Standees is ready to help by supplying your booth with life size cutouts of your product or brand (if you’re a vendor), or hand-held Big Head signs to bring with you to the show of whatever you want! Contact us now to learn more and get started.