Planning an exhibition stand? You must read this!

Planning an exhibition stand? You must read this!
Exhibitions and tradeshows are a powerful way to showcase your brand and the products/services you offer. But it is vital to have an exhibition stand that works. Here are some things you must do to stay on track and ensure poor planning doesn’t let you down on the day.

Planning an exhibition stand starts early!

If you can, it pays to start planning your exhibition stand 9-12 months before the big day. Things to consider at this stage include:

  • Your objectives for the event. For example, raising brand awareness, networking, showcasing a new product, or sales
  • Your target audience. For example, are you hoping to appeal to all the show visitors or just a select group?
  • The size of space you need to make your exhibition presence work for you
  • The size of space you can afford. Including floor hire, exhibition stand and design, marketing and promotion, etc.)
  • What you need to do to register and reserve your exhibition stand space
  • Any information that you will need for the event planning process. For example, Health & Safety and installation policies from the venue
  • Developing a marketing plan to reach your potential customers, communicate the messages you want to share, and boost your presence at the tradeshow.

Time to make some vital decisions

Six to nine months before the tradeshow, you will need to make sure the basics are in place. This includes:

  • Pulling together a design brief to meet your objectives. Including all the features you definitely need, and some that would be ‘nice to have’. Your contractor can help you with this
  • Agreeing on a project budget
  • Choosing who you want as your exhibition stand partner (and signing an agreement with them)
  • Agreeing what kind of stand you will need (e.g. modular, custom-built, etc.) and whether you might want to reuse it at another tradeshow
  • Establishing what you need to achieve ROI. To do this, set out how much the exhibition is costing you to attend (including the cost of your exhibition stand) and attach a monetary value to each new customer/lead. Doing this will help you see the tangible value of your exhibitions (and help you decide whether to reinvest in the show next year)
  • Confirming your exhibition stand layout and design
  • Agreeing on a production schedule with your exhibition stand company including submission deadlines
  • Deciding on any stand attractions to help you increase customer engagement
  • Determining the marketing materials you will need at the show, and beginning the design and print work
  • Creating a communications plan with agreed messages
  • Making sure you have adequate Exhibitor Insurance in place.

Don’t leave it too late when planning an exhibition stand!

With three to six months to go before the tradeshow, you need to ensure everything is in order. This includes:

  • Agreeing on all screen content. Either existing or commissioning new material
  • Making sure you have ordered any on-stand promotional items
  • Keeping on top of your exhibition planning timeline and delivery dates
  • Confirming that electrics and internet will be in place if needed
  • Submitting all plans and Health & Safety documents (via your chosen contractor partner)
  • Submitting your name panel and marketing profile info
  • Design the printed graphics necessary to dress your stand
  • Determining staffing requirements. Moreover, you should arrange a rota including breaks, booking accommodation and sorting travel and parking
  • Starting any pre-show marketing initiatives
  • Ordering your exhibitor badges, parking permits etc.
  • Making sure you have all the AV equipment ordered and arranging testing
  • Agreeing any furniture, floral and catering requirements
  • Reviewing the budget updates
  • Reviewing your objectives.

Not long to go!

One to three months before the show, you should:

  • Keep on top of your exhibition planning timeline and delivery dates
  • Approve all the final artwork for graphics
  • Arrange a screen content testing day
  • Continue with your pre-show marketing initiatives
  • Check and confirm all travel and hotel arrangements
  • Carry out any staff training where necessary
  • Arranged a time and suitable access for the final dressing of the stand with your contractor
  • Agree when your exhibition stand supplier will deliver the stand for you, how it will be set up in its final position. And agreeing a handover time
  • Book a photographer and PR launch activities
  • Finalise promotional and marketing materials (and confirm delivery dates and location)
  • Arrange a viewing of your completed exhibition stand with your manufacturer
  • Arranging storage for your stand (for before and after the tradeshow)
  • Review the budget updates
  • Review your objectives.

And, one week before the show you should:

  • Double-check that all actions on your plan have been completed. Also, ensure all subcontracts are ordered
  • Continue with your pre-show marketing initiatives
  • Make sure you have everything you need to take with you. For example, cleaning equipment, tape, first-aid box, etc.
  • Ensure resource is in place to follow up all leads during and after the event
  • Arrange a ‘wash-up’ meeting with your team, and with your contractor for after the event.

Planning an exhibition stand? Get our tradeshow checklist for exhibitors

If you want to make a big impact and put the competition in the shade, you’ll need an exhibition stand that has the elusive wow factor. But how can you make sure that poor planning doesn’t let you down on the day?

Brought to you from the experts at Apex, our handy checklist ensures your tradeshow presence is maximised.

In this tradeshow checklist for exhibitors

  • Deciding on a scheme. Make sure the system you choose works for your business
  • Putting the basics in place. Ensure your stand has everything it needs to succeed
  • Whistles and bells. Add some magic to ensure your stand is a winner
  • Energy savings. Introduce green initiatives that help your stand to work more efficiently
  • Promotion. Attract and retain visitors ahead of your competitors
  • Lead capture. Capitalise on your exhibition presence, long after the show is over.


Apex creates award-winning modular and custom-built exhibition stands that look fantastic, and are designed specifically around your objectives. Click here to find out more or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.