How to Host a Tradeshow Event or Vendor Event

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Happy person smiles with hands on hips at a business tradeshow event or vendor event.

Tradeshow events bring together different industry experts, which might include salespeople, suppliers, manufacturers, and inventors. This guide will look at how to host a successful tradeshow or vendor event and how you can benefit from it.

How to Host a Tradeshow or Vendor Event

Your event partners are central to the success of any event, which is why the first thing you want to do is partner with the right event experts to create the best experience for your sponsors and attendees. In most cases, you will have to work with different event professionals, such as a destination planner, designers, florists, entertainment managers, caterers, photographers, and event production partners, like Vario, to name a few.

Hosting a tradeshow event is different from a regular event, since it usually consist of a lot of moving pieces and setting two separate goals, one for your attendees and one for your sponsors. It often requires a team of event professionals who are experts in their field. Additionally, to be successful, you also will also need to:

  • Have a clear objective
  • Decide how you will host your event
  • Plan early
  • Target the right sponsors
  • Focus on building strategic connections
  • Consult a professional event manager
  • Build strategic business connections

Have a Clear Objective

Hosting a tradeshow event can be easy with a clear objective. Being very clear with your objectives can also help you get the most value from the event. Are you looking to build connections between sponsors, sell products, build business partnerships, or simply gain brand visibility?

After identifying the main objective of the tradeshow event, it will be much easier to make decisions that align with that objective. This way, you will be able to target the right people and encourage them to attend your event. Without a clear objective, you risk hosting a sub-par event and hurting your brand.

Decide How You Will Host Your Event

Now that you know why you are hosting a tradeshow event, it is time to which format you want to use. In this case, your decision will likely boil down to three choices:

  • In-person event – Sponsors will attend the event in-person. You will need a venue and everything else to host an in-person event.
  • Virtual event – Sponsors will attend the event virtually from different locations and you won’t need a physical venue.
  • Hybrid event – Sponsors can either attend in-person or virtually depending on what is most convenient.

Understanding how you want to host the tradeshow event will help you make appropriate logistical decisions and create a working budget. For example, if you plan to host the event virtually, you may want to consider having the right virtual platform with sponsor capabilities. This way your sponsors will still get the best value from your virtual tradeshow event.

Plan Early

Tradeshow events can be complicated because you are dealing with people who are experts in the events industry and can quickly tell a well-planned event from a disorganized one. That is why you want to start planning early, so you have enough time to ensure everything is in order.

Planning early will also allow you to market the event and give sponsors ample time to decide whether it is a suitable event for them or not. As part of the planning process, make sure that you:

  • Consult industry experts to help you create a memorable event
  • Send invitations to sponsors at least 3-6 months in advance of the event
  • Create a budget that prioritizes attendee experience and sponsor benefit

Target the Right Sponsors

Industry-specific sponsors for your event tend to be more successful than general ones. That is why your event should only target sponsors from a specific or closely related industry. Having clear objectives and understanding how to present the value to your sponsors will make obtaining sponsorships easier.

There are several ways you can reach out to potential vendors:

  • Utilize your network – If you are a vendor yourself, you probably know many other vendors that might be interested in your event. You can invite them and then ask them to invite other vendors they know.
  • Take advantage of your partners – Partners can help you cast a wider net and attract more sponsors to your event.
  • Market aggressively – This will allow you to reach more sponsors that are not part of your network and are interested in your event. Social media can be a powerful marketing channel for this purpose.

Focus On Building Connections

There are many things that you can do at a tradeshow event. For instance, you can market your products/services to a potential client or simply get the word out about your brand. However, the most crucial goal of any event for sponsors should be to build lasting connections that provide value after the event.

Yes, you might be able to sell a few products and make a profit. However, this will not supersede the value you’ll gain from building good and strong connections. When you nurture valuable relationships, you are investing in the future of your business.

So, by the end of the event, every sponsor should be more connected than they came. You can achieve this in several ways:

  • Make it easy for sponsors to share their contact information
  • Encourage speakers to mention the sponsors present and what they do
  • Find ways for attendees to visit the sponsor booth by creating a digital passport experience

Consult a Professional Event Production Partner

You can always go solo when it comes to hosting an event. However, if you want to impress attendees and achieve a more favorable reputation for yourself, we highly encourage you to work with a professional event production partner.

There are several reasons why we recommend this:

  • They allow you to concentrate on other aspects of the event
  • They have more experience and trusted resources utilizing technology to enhance your attendee’s experience
  • They may have additional vendor recommendations to serve other areas of your event
  • They can help you create a solid production schedule
  • They are more efficient when it comes to risk management

So, if you think working with a professional event management company would be a good idea, we welcome you to check out our event production solutions and feel free to reach out.

Conclusion

To host a successful tradeshow event, take time to think through all of the areas of the event and identify the value for your sponsors. This means you need to have a clear goal, start planning early, choose the right platform and target the right industry. Your event should allow sponsors to build strong business connections and continue working with you and each other post-event.

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