Deciding When and Where to Launch a New Event













There are many aspects that go into the successful planning and organizing of an event. Two of the most critical components are the venue and the dates. These two factors can ultimately make or break any event, especially a new one. Before you choose your venue and date, consider these four tips for planning your best event yet.

Make Traveling a Breeze

You never want to make getting to the event a challenge.  Know where your exhibitors and attendees will be coming from prior to selecting your venue.

Some will be traveling great distances to come to your event.  In this case, you will want to choose a city with major airports, train stations, and other convenient modes of transportation.  Be considerate of any existing or potential attendees that will be traveling from outside the country by selecting a city with an airport that can facilitate international flights.

Perhaps, your show will be more local to a region where most exhibitors and attendees will find driving to be more convenient.  Conduct research to see where the majority of potential exhibitors and attendees would be coming from.  If your show covers the Northwest of the country and there is a heavy concentration of potential exhibitors and attendees in the Bay Area, be sure to choose a venue in San Francisco or Oakland rather than Portland, Oregon.

Understand the Industry You Serve

To be an effective Show Manager, it’s vital that you understand the industry that you are serving. If your show is in the retail shoe industry, it’s important to know there are two cycles to consider.  Buying trends are twice per year (Spring and Fall) so coordinating with prime buying cycles or seasons is a must.  In addition to knowing what season is associated with a particular industry, it’s important to take the following factors regarding timelines into consideration:

  • Know how your industry buys per fiscal year.  Is your industry seasonal with several highs and lows in sales throughout the year?
  • When does their fiscal year begin?  
  • How does your industry budget purchases?  Do they prefer to make transactions at the beginning of the fiscal year to ensure availability of funds or wait until the end and use allocated funds?

Know Your Competition

Competition among trade shows is growing, with regional shows competing against larger well-known national shows.  You want your show to be the most talked about with the best attendance.  In order to set yourself up for success, you need to do some research on your industry competitors.  Know who they are and what they are doing.  Research can be done by checking out their marketing presence in various forms of media.  Get a first-hand look by attending your competitor’s show.  You can also gain information by tracking what an industry analyst firm says about your particular industry.  

Once you understand how your competition approaches your shared industry, it’s time to consider the logistics of your show.  One of the most important factors for success are the dates you select for the show.  You’ll want to make sure the dates for your show does not overlap or come too close to competing shows.  Attendees will be taking several factors into consideration when choosing which show to attend, especially if they have to choose between the competition and you.  Factors that can tip the scale in favor of your competition can include estimated attendance, cost, and how convenient the location is for them.  

Choose a Venue that Meets Today’s and Tomorrow’s Needs

Picking an event venue can have the biggest impact on your trade show’s performance.  There are several factors that need to be considered when making this important decision:

  • Does this venue meet attendees expectations?  The venue setup, amenities, and decor might be suitable for a manufacturing show but would it also fulfill the needs of a health and wellness show?  The venue should be able to reflect the image that you need to portray.
  • Does the venue offer inclusive packages like technology and audiovisuals?  
  • Does the venue offer opportunities for future growth?  As attendance and exhibitor interest increases, is the floor space large enough to accommodate them?
  • Is the venue situated in a strategic location?  Is it in close proximity to conveniences that attendees will desire, such as restaurants, hotel accommodations?  Does it enable exhibitors to host off-site events within a reasonable distance?
  • Are there rooms within the venue that can be used for seminars or educational workshops that is separate from the main expo floor? Be sure these rooms have the technology needed to facilitate your seminar or workshop.

Planning a large event like a trade show requires a lot of work and attention to detail. Selecting the right location at the best time can ultimately make or break the success of the event.

Make sure that when you are in the planning stages and establishing your goals for the event, you take serious care of the time and venue. Building a long-term event that attendees and vendors look forward to participating in every year should be a goal that motivates you to select the venue that is easy to reach, at a time that is convenient.