A 49 point checklist for planning a successful exhibition

Planning for an exhibition involves bringing together a number of different disciplines ranging from the decision-making process, design and stand considerations, to personnel and marketing strategies. With so many moving parts to consider, careful and methodical preparation is required in order to ensure a smooth and successful event.

While the exact details of each show will differ, this checklist provides a solid framework for identifying and completing the most common actions before, during and after the event.


1. Select appropriate show

2. Set budget

3. Decide type of stand:

  • Shell scheme
  • Space only

4. Agree stand size and location

5. Learn about the most common exhibiting mistakes before you book

Setting objectives

6. Define your audience

7. What does success look like to you?

  • Set sales target
  • Set leads target

Show offering

8. Decide which products and services to exhibit

9. What’s your ‘big enticement’? Will you:

  • Launch a product / service?
  • Offer a show-only discount / deal?
  • Provide demonstrations or free trials?

10. Review speaker opportunities

11. Research workshop or breakout session opportunities

Stand design and requirements

12. Write a good stand brief for your provider

13. Decide stand requirements:

  • Location
  • Lighting
  • Utilities such as water, electricity, internet, phone lines
  • On-stand furniture
  • Carpets / floor covering
  • Catering / refreshments
  • Cutlery / cups / plates etc
  • AV equipment and/or presentations
  • Formal / informal meeting areas
  • USB sticks, adaptors, chargers, cables
  • Waste bins

14. Do you have a data capture system?

15. Will your stand meet safety regulations?

16. Do you have insurance?

17. Do you need security or night sheets?

18. Does the stand need to be stored after the show?


19. Decide on your exhibition team

  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Are they experienced events professionals?

20. Create stand rota

21. Is branded clothing required?

22. Book hotel rooms and transport

23. Create name badges

24. Set expenses budget

25. Brief team (exhibition goals, lead targets, dress code, stand rules, etc)

Pre-event marketing

26. Learn how to attract more visitors to your stand

27. Promote event on website

28. Promote event on social media

29. Notify clients and prospects

30. Create press release and distribute to target media

On-stand marketing

31. Decide on promotional gifts

32. Design and print sufficient collateral

33. Design and print sufficient business cards

34. Design and print pop-ups / roller banners etc

Paperwork and timelines

35. Sign and return order forms and declarations

36. Note shipping

37. Note set-up and dismantle times

38. Note artwork deadlines

39. Note show guide deadlines

At the event

40. Take list of important contact numbers

41. Take contract

42. Take stand layout plan

43. Take show stationery box containing cleaning materials, staplers, hole punch, pens, scissors, tape measure, velcro, Swiss Army Knife etc.

44. Take a First Aid kit

Post-event activity and evaluation

45. Have all scheduled leads been followed up?

46. Have all non-scheduled leads been followed up within 3 days of the event?

47. Evaluate results against objectives

48. Evaluate results against investment.

49. Communicate outcomes to stand team and thank you’s.

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