The reality of trade shows is that the best ones are never close to home, right? Those long-distance trade shows add a new layer of complexity to an event that already requires a lot of preparation and thought. But the benefits of visiting trade shows in another city are exceptional, getting your brand out there for other regions to see is a vital part of many marketing plans. Plus, you get to meet new people in your industry and broaden your network. It’s obvious: attending this long-distance trade show is a must. Now what?

Your budget and your planning will have to be flexible to accommodate for the additional expense and considerations of traveling for a trade show. That’s a no-brainer. We’ve put together this checklist for you to help with your planning and budgeting before you travel to a trade show far away. Use it well before your next long-distance trade show so you can get the most out of your preparation and have the highest degree of success!

  1. Decide what you want to focus on.
    Unfortunately, a distant trade show means travel. Travel means that you’ll have to be a bit conservative with your presentation and what you want to exhibit. What’s most important to your brand image? What do you hope to gain from the show? Is it about brand awareness? New customers? Networking? Are you launching a totally new product? What your objective for the show is regarding these questions will help you to identify what you need to bring with you for your booth. Ask yourself, does it fit into your objective? If yes, ask yourself if it’s economical and fits into your budget. If it’s a resounding yes, bring it with you.
  2. Consider your budget.
    You budget for a distant trade show needs to be a bit larger in most cases than for a local trade show. This is pretty obvious. You need to factor in flight and hotel costs for you and whoever you’re bringing with you from your staff. Will you be renting a car? How long are you staying? How much will it cost to transport your booth materials? Factor these into your budget to determine if your attendance at the trade show is economically feasible for your brand. It’s okay to say no. A trade show is great for brands in many aspects, but it’s not worth exerting financial strain on a brand if you don’t absolutely need to. There’s always next year! But if you do say yes…
  3. Make your bookings.
    Yep! It’s that time. Reserve your booth (this should typically be done about a year in advance to get the best spot and size for increased visibility, plus it’s usually cheaper to book far in advance), and soon you should book your flights and hotels, and rent a car if you need to. Flights should be booked at least three months in advance, and you’ll also save money on your hotel and car if you book sooner rather than later.
  4. Communicate your attendance.
    Just like with any trade show, you need to let people know that you’re going to be there. What good is going if nobody knows it? Let your email list know you’re going and send regular reminders on what you’re planning for the show, advertise it on social media, and post it anywhere else that you think is relevant. Keep your audience updated with happenings related to your presence at the event. Are you speaking? What are you showing? Let the world know!
  5. Plan your networking with other attendees.
    Before you go, check and see who else is going. It’s always good to be prepared for those you might run into so that you’re not caught off guard. You’ll likely be seeing competitors, suppliers, distributors, and a whole slew of other people that you can benefit from networking with. Know who is going to be there and what their company is all about so that you can be prepared for a conversation with them.
  6. Ensure your staff is ready.
    You should be picking the best of the best on your staff to bring with you. It’s advised to bring salespeople and perhaps even somebody to help you get and stay organized. Explain your expectations clearly to them, and what their objectives are. Give them training if need be. Your staff needs to be comfortable with being at the show, and bonus points if they’re excited too!
  7. Pack up and get moving!
    See? Getting ready for a far-away trade show isn’t so much different than a local show. Just adapt your preparation a little bit and you’ll be ready to go in no time. Good luck and safe travels!