Event Management & Data

4 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Planning an Exhibition

Victoria Rudi
August 2, 2019

In this blog post, we’ll uncover common trade show mistakes you can avoid when preparing for your next event.


Unfortunately, when it comes to planning a successful trade show, the devil is in the details. Because one missed detail or bad decision could throw off the entire event. Mistakes happen regardless of whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro.

While it is impossible to foresee the obstacles that may come your way, learning from other event planners’ pitfalls may help in the future.

We spoke to several seasoned veterans to find out some common mistakes they’ve made and how you can avoid them when planning your next trade show or exhibition.

Let’s take a look at four common mistakes to avoid when planning an event:

Failing to set goals and objectives

Goal setting is extremely important when planning a trade show. Forgetting to set goals and objectives is like driving cross country without a GPS. Having clearly defined goals and objectives will help you navigate the trade show planning process with ease.

Goals and objectives will help you really measure what success looks like for your team at each show.

Without goals and objectives, you won’t be able to understand the return on your investment for exhibiting at the trade show. If your organization’s budget includes exhibiting at multiple trade shows, you’ll need to report on the value of attending each show.

Underestimating your budget

Many people don’t know what a trade show budget looks like and they just grab a figure out of thin air. Now that you’ve decided you are attending a trade show, it’s time to start talking about money and the actual amount you need to plan this event successfully.

Overspending is easy to do when organizing a trade show. That’s why having a budget is critical to the success of the event. When building out your budget, be as detailed as possible.

It’s important to have a clear understand of the costs associated with exhibiting at a trade show. Make a list of every little expense that you can think of like labor costs, transportation needs, giveaways, and technology tools. These are fixed costs that can quickly eat up your budget.

Not having a good grasp on your staffing needs

Too often, businesses forget to assess their booth staffing needs beforehand and send the wrong person or amount of people to man the area. It’s extremely important that you send the right team of people to represent your brand at the show.

You’ll need to determine the size of the show and how many people your company can afford to staff the event. One big mistake that happens often is that a company will send a team of untrained people to represent their company at a trade show.

The team standing at the trade show booth should be a company employee or someone who is well informed about the background of the brand. Having a trained staff is critical to having a successful trade show experience. The trade show booth should be outgoing, friendly, and ready to answer any questions about the products and services of your business.

Not following up

Time and time again, businesses invest a lot of time and money to participate in a trade show but forget to follow-up on leads. This is one mistake that happens often. Salesforce found that 80 percent of exhibitors failed to follow up on leads after major trade show events.

You should follow up on leads received during the trade show immediately after the show. Timing is everything. By ignoring potential sales opportunities, you are wasting company money and missing out on opportunities to grow the business.

Trade shows are a great opportunity to generate brand awareness for company and connect with potential long-term customers. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll represent your brand well while achieving your marketing goals at your next trade show.

Talk with one of our event planning experts to learn how Eventtia can simplify your events.

Victoria Rudi
Marketing director
With a Master’s degree in Event Management and a keen follower of SaaS technologies, Victoria is an event content master, producing insightful and valuable for Eventtia’s blog and beyond

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