Your booth is set up perfectly, you’ve got a full schedule of appointments, and you know exactly what your trade show campaign is all about. But did you remember to grab your new stack of business cards?
Forgetting about the small details can keep even the most seasoned trade show veteran awake at night. Make sure your toolkit isn’t missing the most necessary components and stay prepared for the season with this checklist of essential trade show items.
Items for your booth
Signage — Signage helps attendees identify your brand, your trade show campaign messaging, and any demos or giveaways you want to feature. Make sure signage is cohesive with your overall theme and that you’ve got a way to hang or set up any signs you bring along.
Promotional items — From show swag to product samples, bring plenty of promotional items to give out to prospects and attendees.
Business cards — Business cards are a trade show’s currency. Keep plenty of cards on you at all times so you don’t have to go searching for them when you’re ready to exchange info with an attendee.
Giveaways — Giveaways are an incredibly effective way to draw attention to your brand and increase engagement with attendees. The better the giveaway, the more excitement you’ll create.
Business card collector — You’re going to collect a lot of business cards. Keep them tidy with a business card collector so you don’t look disorganized when you exchange cards with an attendee.
Name tags — Name tags make it easier for attendees to find you when they have an appointment. Also, when attendees see your name, you become more memorable than brands whose teams are anonymous.
Comfortable shoes — Do your feet a favor with super comfortable shoes adequate for long trade show days. Insider tip: Look for aftermarket insoles that can make your best-looking shoes also your most comfortable.
Sales pitch — Have your sales pitch worked out with plenty of time to rehearse before the show. Keeping a note card with your main points can also help you jog your memory between meetings.
Velcro — Velcro strips with adhesive backing enable you to hang signs and other booth materials anywhere at a moment’s notice.
Portable steamer/vacuum — A steamer keeps your clothes looking fresh in a pinch and a vacuum ensures show snacks don’t leave your booth looking messy.
Office supplies — Always carry a backup of the most essential office supplies, and not just pens and pencils. Here’s a list of standard supplies to get your toolkit off to a great start.
- Post-it notes
- Rubber bands
- Paper clips
- Duct tape & clear tape
- Wire or string
- Dry erase marker
- Headache medicine
- Safety pins
- All-in-one tool (screwdriver & knife)
- Raffle tickets
PCs, laptops, and tablets — Bring what you need and then bring extras just in case your tech decides to get buggy at the worst possible moment.
TV — Bright, bold digital displays are one of the best ways to up the ante when it comes to booth signage.
Media player — Media players like Roku, Chromecast, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick allow you to stream videos right from your phone or laptop.
Device chargers — Keep a well-stocked supply of chargers for every type of device you need. Bonus if you bring extra chargers that attendees can use while they check out your booth.
Extra cords and cable wires — From HDMI video cords to extension cords, you can never have enough ways to connect, so always bring extras. (HDMI, power, extension cords)
Zip ties — Zip ties help keep cords orderly, especially when you have last-minute electrical additions that didn’t get bundled when your booth was first set up.
Batteries — Check remote controls and other devices to see what kind of backup batteries you need. Also consider USB battery packs so you can charge your devices on the go.
Snacks — Snacks are one of the best ways to attract attendees to your booth, so stock up. But don’t forget about your team too. Keep extra snacks behind the scenes to keep your team members fueled up throughout the show.
Water — Keep your team and your prospective clients hydrated with bottles of water, or go green and offer a water bottle refilling station for those who brought their own bottles.
Gum and breath mints — Close quarters and lots of talking mean that your breath is on display every moment of the show. Keep it fresh for everyone’s benefit.
Hand sanitizer — Shaking hands is a given at any trade show, but that doesn’t mean you have to get sick when the big day is over. Keep germs away with a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
First-aid kit — From Band-Aids to headache medicine, a first-aid kit can help you stay on track when accidents happen.
Ziploc baggies — Keep anything smaller than your hand organized with the convenience of a baggie.
Stain remover — Don’t let that drip of coffee ruin your shirt. Keep a small stain remover pen with you at all times, and consider packing an extra shirt in case your spill is more than a pen can handle.
Want to create the ultimate Las Vegas experience for your next trade show? Check out this guide on planning the ultimate experience — without all the logistical headaches.