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Beacon Building Products at IRE 2021 in Las Vegas

2021 Trade Show Travel Cheat Sheet 

Traveling Confidently During The COVID-19 Pandemic 

Dec 2 2021 UPDATE: All foreign travelers (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) age 2 years+ must have proof of a negative Covid test no more than one day prior to travel to the U.S.  (or proof of recent recovery of Covid-19) 

As of December 2, 2021, fully vaccinated people may now travel to the United States. However, certain restrictions, including a negative COVID test or proof of recovery, are required. Check the CDC site for the latest regulations. 


If it’s your first time traveling to a trade show or conference since the beginning of the pandemic, then you may be pleasantly surprised with the changes that have—and have not—been put in place at every turn. After more than a year of shutdowns and shut-ins, even tradeshow veterans may feel a bit unsure of what to expect their first time out. 

But there is good news: According to the U.S. Travel Association, there is clear data showing that professional travel is safe. For instance, The Aerospace and International Airline Medical Associations found that the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel is lower than contracting the virus while in an office building, classroom, grocery story or commuter train

Bookmark this trade show travel checklist for your next trip to avoid surprises and give yourself peace of mind: 


    • Supply chains are being challenged at every step.  U.S. exhibit houses (including Metro Exhibits), printers, promotional item vendors, etc. are all requesting clients to act as early as possible to ensure all requirements can be met. 
    • Here is a list of the airlines’ cancellation policies. Keep in mind that though flight insurance can be purchased up until the day before departure, independent “Cancel for Any Reason” flight insurance must be bought immediately after booking.  
    • Many hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies to allow for COVID-related changes. Here is a good reference and list of hotels’ cancellation policies.  

    • Check out the CDC’s list of State and Territorial Health Department websites to learn the most updated, official information about the locations you’re headed to. Include any places you might be stopping at on your way. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit .

Here is a shortcut to the sites for the main convention destinations: 


Local and federal health regulations can change quickly; you never know what you will need. 2021’s must-pack additions to your travel go-bag:  

    • Face covering  

Depending on your location, certain trade show, convention and exposition venues may require a mask for admission.  

For air travel, that bandana you wore last April isn’t going to cut it, nor are those plastic shields (they’re okay to wear with a mask, but don’t replace a mask). Check out CDC guidelines to be sure you have the right type of mask before you leave for the airport.  

Vaccinated or not, if you plan to apply for a mask exemption because of a disability, make sure you arrive very early to the airport. Some airlines, like Delta, have a “Clearance-to-Fly” procedure that you will need to complete. There are no guarantees—and it can take more than an hour.  

And if ever there was a time for gum or mints (for your own comfort), it’s now.  

    • Vaccination Record Card or App (like ShoCard or Verifly)  

Currently, air travelers originating from within the U.S. do not need proof of vaccination or negative COVID test (however, it is required for travelers originating outside the U.S.). Some airlines provide access to in-home testing and testing facilities at the airport. 
There are other instances where proof of either vaccination and/or negative test may be required such as convention halls, and indoor dining and entertainment venues. That ranges from zero restrictions in some states, to New York City, where only vaccinated patrons may dine indoors or attend certain entertainment venues. 

Vaccination apps are available, but best to keep your hard copy with you, too.  The digital version may not be accepted, or a specific app may be required.  

    • Alcohol-based sanitizer (containing 60%-95% alcohol) or disinfecting wipes  

It’s not a bad idea to take a swipe at surfaces like armrests, tray tables, hotel doorknobs, remote controls…anything that you are likely to touch and then accidently touch your face.  


Federal CDC guidelines maintain that passengers using any form of public transportation, including taxis, buses, trains, subways, Uber and Lyft be masked at all points, including airports, waiting areas, and on platforms.  


Everyone is required to be masked at all times throughout the airport.  

  • TSA  

Masks are still on for everybody. Unless you have TSA PreCheck, you’ll also still be required to remove shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops, and 3-1-1 liquids.  


One of the silver linings of the pandemic—keeping middle seats open—is no longer common practice; flights are back to full capacity. Passengers and airline employees must be masked throughout the flight at least through January 2022 (possible silver lining: masks do hide Sleeping-Mouth-Breather-Face). 

Here are the major carriers and their online COVID information  

  • HOTEL 

Most business hotels have upgraded their facilities with policies that minimize virus spread, such as mobile check-in, keyless entry, enhanced social distancing in public spaces, hand sanitizers, and extra cleaning protocols.  

Hotel staff will typically be wearing masks, regardless of their vaccination status, depending on the location. 

Some hotels now also require guests to proactively request room cleaning during their stay.  

Check your hotel’s website for current information on restaurants, gyms, spas, pools, buffets and other amenities that may be temporarily unavailable. 


Tradeshow attendee requirements and behavior vary widely, depending on location and industry. 

    • Most venues do not require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test, but that can change quickly.  
    • Some require that attendees record their temperature before entering. 
    • There is a movement to replace paper badges with digital, which could stress your phone’s battery throughout the show, so don’t forget your charger. 
    • Some exhibitors and visitors wear masks, depending on location (some require them for everyone). 
    • Distancing signage is up, but not everyone is complying.  
    • Show floorplan layout and spacing is usually the same, including aisle widths.  
    • Some exhibitors have added acrylic dividers in their booths. 
    • Many booths offer masks and sanitizer samples. 
    • Open food samples are gone, but onsite cafes are open. 
    • Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the venues. 

If a venue or show requires vaccination or proof of negative COVID test, registrants are likely to be alerted beforehand. You can double check current conditions at the show’s website and/or the venue’s COVID information page. Here are some of the larger venues’ COVID links:  

Anaheim Convention Center 
Los Angeles Convention Center 
San Diego Convention Center 

Orange County Convention Center 

McCormick Place 

Las Vegas venues 

New York 
Javits Center 

Dallas venues 


Support from the Trade Show Experts 

Your full service trade show partner, Metro Exhibits, provides wrap-around support services to help exhibitors maximize their tradeshow investment safely and with confidence. For instance, we can store, ship and manage your event inventory for you (great for event planners now working from home), or provide exhibit personnel at your show to represent you. 

Metro is always available and eager to help exhibitors and visitors make the most of their tradeshow investment. Contact us with any questions you have any time.

NOTE: Certain medical conditions, and children under the age of 2, are typically excluded from mask regulations. Check in advance with your venue, carrier or other provider to confirm current practices and any steps needed to confirm exclusion. 

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ippe trade show booth

IPPE 2020 Trade Show Recap

About the Show

The 2020 International Production & Processing Expo, otherwise known as IPPE, took place from January 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta.

IPPE, which is one of the 30 largest trade shows in the United States, is actually a conglomeration of three shows: The International Feed Expo, the International Meat Expo, and the International Poultry Expo.

It is branded as the “world’s largest annual poultry, meat, and feed industry event of its kind.” IPPE includes educational sessions and interactive exhibits that apply to everyone “from feed to fork” in the egg, poultry, and meat industries.

The show has experienced rapid growth in recent years, requiring expansion to three exhibit halls within the GWCC in 2019 and now four in 2020.

IPPE has four stated goals that the show is intended to focus on:

  • Innovation – Bringing together buyers and sellers of the latest technology in products and services to make the industry, and the businesses within it, successful.
  • Education – Learning from experts in free and paid educational programs on topics that cover industry interests. IPPE includes over 160 hours of education sessions, covering topics like food safety, plant operations, sustainability, and other relevant themes. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a newcomer, there is something to learn from these sessions.
  • Global Reach – Attracting more than 8,000 international visitors from 130 countries. IPPE offers services including buyer matchmaking and meeting prearrangements, in which translations are provided if necessary.
  • Networking – Meeting new people and rekindling old relationships with leaders across the sectors.

In an effort to stimulate business growth, IPPE gives back 100% of its revenues to the industry. Sponsoring organizations use the money to provide critical research, education, crisis management assistance, public relations, and regulatory assistance to help businesses.

The Exhibitors

The 2020 show brought in more than 1,300 exhibitors from all over the world, demonstrating their products and services in over 573,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Exhibitors showed off a variety of technology, equipment, supplies, and services used in the production and processing of eggs, meat, and poultry as well as feed manufacturing. The expo encompasses industry players at every step of the supply chain, from animal feed producers to human food distributors.

Some prominent industry segments that were represented at the show include feed milling, hatchery, live production, processing, marketing, and support activities.

Below are selected exhibit categories from IPPE:

  • Animal Health & Sanitation Products
  • Facility Design & Engineering
  • Feed & Pet Food Ingredients
  • Feed Manufacturing Equipment
  • Packaging Equipment & Supplies
  • Processing Equipment & Technology
  • Slaughtering Equipment
  • Transportation & Storage Services
  • Wastewater Treatment

Read on to learn more about the people who attended the show and the activities available to them.

The Visitors

Because the exhibitors covered a wide array of functions within the industry, it makes sense that the pool of attendees was just as diverse. Some 32,000 visitors graced the trade show floor; these people included operation and plant managers, purchasing agents, engineers, researchers, and consumers.

This show is known for producing a strong international showing. 8,063 visitors were registered as internationals, hailing from 129 different countries. The most well-represented region outside of the US was the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico, and South America, which brought in a total of 3,334 visitors.

In addition to the traditional exhibits on the trade show floor, there were a variety of activities available to IPPE attendees. Show floor activities included a Hot Wing Eating Contest, as well as “Taste of IPPE,” where Atlanta chefs showed off top recipes featuring beef, pork, and poultry.

Our Clients

While there were many impressive displays among the 1,300-plus exhibitors at IPPE, we were particularly interested in nine of them. Why? Because there were nine booths at IPPE that Metro Exhibits designed and fabricated for our clients. These innovative brands are some of the market leaders in various production and processing industry sectors, such as animal health & nutrition, feed additives, processing equipment, soil fertilization, and biocidal technologies. Continue below for a summary of each client we worked with to create an innovative and inspirational booth at IPPE 2020.


island trade show exhibit

APC is the global leader in the manufacture and sales of blood-derived functional plasma proteins and red blood cell products. In other words, they help animals and plants thrive and maintain normal immune function. They pride themselves on sustainability, global reach (9+ countries where facilities operate and 58+ countries in which products are sold), and research and innovation.



10x20 trade show booth

Biochem is a family-owned German company that produces and sells feed additives for animals. They particularly focus on supporting gut health and optimizing nutrient utilization. Biochem sells its products to farmers and veterinarians to help them maintain and improve animal health. The company employs over 220 employees from 30 different countries, within Germany and abroad.


Devenish is a global agri-technology company, based in the UK, that specializes in animal nutrition. They start with research and development in areas such as nutritional solutions to diseases, improving feed conversion rates, and gut health. Their diverse range of products and services apply to the swine, poultry, and ruminant sectors of the industry. Devenish has its global headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and exports products to over 25 countries worldwide.


trade show exhibit for ippe

ICC Brazil provides health and animal nutrition solutions. Specializing in innovative products, many of which are made with yeast, ICC strives to add value to the nutrition chain on an international level. They are esteemed in the industry for their developments in increased productivity, biosafety, and animal welfare. While based in Brazil, ICC provides logistics and production to serve over 55 countries.


innovad trade show display

Innovad is a Belgian company that develops products to create a safer, more sustainable, and more productive livestock industry. Their animal health solutions target animal stress control, intestinal health, feed attractants, and antibacterial digestive aid, among other issues. These solutions are specialized for many different animal categories, including cows, pigs, poultry, seafood, and house pets. Innovad’s products are distributed in over 70 international markets.


knecht trade show booth with hanging sign

Knecht is a manufacturer of sharpening equipment for all kinds of knives used in the food industry. They produce a wide variety of grinding and polishing machines – both automatic and manual. Knecht also specializes in cutter knife systems that are intended to make handling as easy and safe as possible. They also offer custom machine development to suit specific client needs. Knecht offers consultation services in over 30 countries worldwide.


trade show display ippe

Liptosa is a family-run company that specializes in animal nutrition and disease prevention. They offer feeding additives designed to enhance animal health and development while combating a variety of illnesses. Their products offer solutions for a wide range of animal feed types, including poultry, swine, cattle, bees, fish, and pets. The company is based in Madrid, Spain, and is present in over 56 countries across five continents.

OCP Group

ippe trade show exhibit

OCP is a Moroccan-based company that specializes in soil fertilization. They strive to bolster plant growth and increase crop yields to sustainably feed the world population. OCP, which has been operating for almost 100 years, claims 31 percent of the global market share of phosphate in all its forms. The company operates worldwide, with locations in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.


trade show exhibits

Virkon, a brand under German chemicals company LANXESS, is a range of biocidal technologies used to produce disinfectant solutions for commercial livestock producers, veterinary hospitals, and farmers. These disinfectants are engineered to promote animal health. Virkon’s products help to inoculate a wide variety of animals from diseases, including horses, pigs, poultry, pets, and even first responders in the midst of an emergency disease outbreak.


All things considered, IPPE 2020 was a great success. Key industry players gathered to network, teach, and learn, all for the benefit of the production and processing industries. Here at Metro Exhibits, we’re proud of the work we did to help several great companies show off their products and services in a unique and engaging way on the trade show floor.

Looking ahead, IPPE 2021 will be held from January 26 to January 28, once again at the GWCC. We’re eager to see what exciting new activities and educational sessions will be announced leading up to the show.

It’s never too early to start planning for a big trade show, so if you want to exhibit at IPPE 2021 (or any other upcoming show), check out our custom design and rental exhibits here. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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top medical trade shows

The Top 10 Pharmaceutical and Medical Trade Shows in the US

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industry is one of the most important and rapidly expanding sectors in the world – and medical trade shows are one of the most effective industry tools for professionals to meet, network, and share ideas.

Every healthcare company shares the goal of providing the best medical facilities and technologies possible. With this in mind, pharmaceutical and medical trade shows are designed to display the latest innovations in healthcare, empowering major industry players to learn and grow.

Trade shows effectively facilitate networking between multiple stakeholders in these fields. They also introduce the newest medical equipment and products to retailers and consumers.

Exhibiting at a trade show is a fantastic way to network and open up new possibilities. Here, we’ll outline the top ten pharmaceutical and medical trade shows in the United States. To start, let’s give a brief overview of medical trade shows and their benefits.

What Are Medical Trade Shows & What Are The Benefits?

medical trade shows

A trade show or trade fair is an exhibition at which businesses or individuals in a particular industry gather under one roof. Together, they share ideas, listen to speeches, and promote their products or services. In addition to allowing industry professionals to trade ideas, these shows allow for potential consumers to come and learn about all of their different purchase options within the sector.

While there are trade shows for just about every industry you can think of, this article is dedicated to specifically discussing medical and pharmaceutical trade shows. These shows form a critical and exciting aspect of the medical field. They provide the ideal environment for learning, presenting, and collaborating, which are all essential functions in moving the industry forward.

Many health professionals are required to attend a certain number of conferences and shows per year in order to stay updated on the latest research and best practices in their field. This means that if you are an exhibitor targeting professionals in the medical field, a pharmaceutical or medical trade show is ideal for reaching potential clients and business partners.

Also, businesses focusing on medical supplies or pharma equipment will benefit greatly from trading at a show, as trade shows often showcase the cutting edge of technological innovation within the industry.

Trade shows offer many benefits that make them worth the investment if done correctly. One reason to attend is that they have huge potential to build brand visibility and improve outreach in a cost-effective way. Products and services are also showcased in an accessible way to customers.  It’s an ideal space to learn and exchange ideas in a casual yet organized manner.

Having clarified the definition and purpose of trade shows, we encourage you to continue reading to discover ten of the largest medical and pharmaceutical industry trade shows in the US.

1. BIO International Convention

This medical trade show is held annually in June, finding its home in a new city each year. Its official website boasts an impressive 8,400+ companies and 17,000+ show attendees. These biotechnology and pharma stakeholders gather here for a week of intensive networking.

The goal of this trade show is to bring together a wide range of life science and application areas. This includes biomanufacturing, drug discovery, biofuels, and cell technology, among others. Attendees are encouraged and supported in their efforts to discover new opportunities and partnerships at the event.

If you’re looking for a trade show that focuses on expanding the future of the biofuel and biomanufacturing fields, then the BIO International Convention is worth checking out.


The Florida International Medical Expo, or FIME, is one of the top medical shows in the country. It touts itself as the leading Medical Trade Fair in the healthcare market. It’s held annually during the summer at different Florida locations each year.

FIME showcases exhibitors from surgical equipment and laboratory suppliers to medical technology providers. There are over 1,100 exhibitors every year, and the show has attracted an incredible 52,000-plus attendees in past years. One of the unique aspects of FIME is its truly international nature; over 45 different countries are represented in the exhibitor list.

Due to the size of the event, FIME is a must-see for those interested in sourcing or selling medical supplies. The range of products available is unmatched. FIME has the largest collection of healthcare service providers and product manufacturers under one roof. If you’re interested in learning more about healthcare sourcing and procurement, FIME is the place to be.

3. The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

The Clinical Lab Expo is “the world’s largest exposition for clinical laboratory products and services,” according to the event website. The meeting is usually held in late July or August, with its location switching between Anaheim and Chicago each year.

This show aims to offer an incredible chance to link with worldwide leaders in laboratory medicine. Delegates at the expo learn the most specialized technical skills in the field.

Attendees can expect to gain relevant, up-to-date knowledge of essential research in the industry. This show features involvement by over 800 top brand exhibitors in the pharmaceutical industry and over 20,000 attendees. The AACC’s Clinical Lab Expo is a tremendous opportunity for healthcare professionals to learn more about the latest in clinical laboratory advancements.

4. Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine

This congress is run by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) and occurs annually in Las Vegas, usually in December.

The event website boasts that it is distinct from any other healthcare conference, “due to [its] extensive educational offerings and programming.”

5,000+ people attend this event and get a range of exclusive opportunities, including 85+ educational sessions and access to over 400 companies in the industry. With this experience, they’ll receive an immersive education in Anti-Aging & Integrative Medicine. Attendees can expect engaging, interactive talks by hundreds of world-renowned keynote presenters, and representation from over 50 different countries.

The latest research on nutrition, hormones, and gastrointestinal treatment approaches will be presented at this conference. Attendees receive information about redefining their ideas of medicine. Additionally, they’ll get a set of resources to take back into their own clinical practices.

5. National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention

The NCPA Annual Convention is the country’s “premier event for community pharmacy owners and their teams.” It takes place annually during October, in new locations each year. Upcoming shows will be in Nashville (2020), Charlotte (2021), St. Louis (2022), and Orlando (2023). This show expects to bring together around 3,000 attendees and over 200 brand exhibitors.

Attendees should expect over 30 hours of education covering every aspect of the pharmaceutical business. They’ll interact with hundreds of vendors showcasing services, products, and technologies. The conference aims to assist people in succeeding within a variety of roles, whether you are an entrepreneur, technician, pharmacist, or student.

This show is a unique opportunity for students in the field to attend and learn from others further ahead on their professional journey. Independent pharmacy is an $80 billion marketplace, and therefore interacting with local pharmacists at a grassroots level is a priceless benefit for the industry as a whole.

Attending the show will help you to keep up with the newest trends and developments, and share ideas with peers from all over the country.

6. MD & M West

This show is one of the most prominent showcases of MedTech suppliers in the country. It takes place in a different US city each year, generally in the West or Midwest. Whether you’re looking for testing solutions, intelligent sensors, or smart packaging, you’ll be able to source them from MD&M West.

The conference showcases a full spectrum of MedTech solutions. You’ll be able to network with and learn from 20,000+ industry professionals and 1,900+ suppliers. Additionally, the conference offers interactive events, free presentations, and educational activities.

This gives delegates the exciting chance to get involved in their own learning. Activities facilitate new ideas and perspectives that are shared among those who attend.

7. Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association Summer Meeting & Expo

The Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association is a division of the American Psychiatric Association, which is accredited by the Medical Association of Georgia to provide continuing medical education for physicians. They’re the only statewide organization representing Georgia psychiatrists and their patients. Their members are dedicated to promoting professional values and ethics in the practice of psychiatry.

This conference takes place annually in early August at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Fernandina Beach and aims to improve patient access to quality mental healthcare. The GPPA encompasses about 700 psychiatrists who come together to share ideas, protocols, and treatment strategies to ensure the mutual improvement of its members – as well as the psychiatric field as a whole.

The GPPA Summer Meeting & Expo offers informative talks and activities. These focus on lifelong learning, professional development, and supporting education and advocacy for the profession. For those who attend, the show guarantees new insights and fresh perspectives in the world of Psychiatry.

8. Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) Annual Meeting

This annual meeting takes place in June, with a different city hosting each year. The event features as one of the top trade shows in the pharmaceutical industry, due to its status as the “premier educational, scientific, research, and networking event” in the fields of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

The show expects thousands of attendees ranging from leading physicians, radiologists, cardiologists, and pharmacists to scientists, lab professionals, and technologists. Those who attend will gain a deeper level of understanding of relevant clinical, scientific, and academic concepts. Delegates have the chance to network during interactive events.

The interactive activities are the perfect chance to break the ice and to facilitate discussion and collaboration at the event. This is a wonderful way to grow in your professional career if you are interested in the nuclear medicine industry.

9. Society of Critical Care Medicine Annual Congress

This conference takes place annually in February, with the location changing each year. The Society of Critical Care Medicine is the largest non-profit medical organization in the critical care industry.

This Congress unites members from the critical care field under one roof. It’s an exciting mix of multi-professional, multidisciplinary experts in one place.

Delegates have the amazing opportunity to witness participation from leading experts. Top researchers in the domain of critical care medicine are expected to present cutting-edge research. It’s the event of the year if you’re interested in staying up-to-date on critical care advancements.

The purpose of Critical Care Week is to raise awareness of common issues faced by professionals in the field. The event encourages cooperation between critical care team members to improve the outcomes and experiences of critically ill and injured patients. If you’re interested in sharing ideas, learning, and improving patient outcomes, then the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Annual Congress is a great place to be.

10. OR Today Live Surgical Conference

The last trade show on our list is the exciting OR Today Live Surgical Conference. The show is a great place for perioperative nurses and SPD professionals to congregate, collaborate, and learn from one another.

The event is held annually in August, taking place in a new host city each year. Attending the surgical conference can be beneficial for different kinds of people – from those who are looking for inspiration within their established careers, to those who are simply looking to earn credits for their continued education.

The event provides an exciting space in which world-class speakers are brought together to empower, motivate, and facilitate networking between perioperative professionals. If you’re going, prepare to engage with top surgeons and experts in your field and to emerge as a more confident and knowledgeable professional at the conclusion of the conference.

The Next Steps

If you’ve reached this point in the article, it’s clear that there are many interesting and valuable medical trade shows from which to choose.

All of the expos mentioned above enjoy impressive attendance – both from contributors and attendees who are simply there to observe. One of the main reasons for the success of these trade shows is that they provide the much-needed space for professionals of a specific medical sector to teach, learn, and network.

These shows provide a unique opportunity to source the most innovative products, solutions, and ideas. For manufacturers, it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase some of their latest offerings to a captive audience who are passionate and already invested in their industry.

In most cases, people will have the chance to see the devices live and in action. This interactive effect means that people are drawn in and are encouraged to interact with one another, as well as the technology itself. This makes it the perfect place to start and extend business and professional relationships.

So, now you’re armed with the information, what are the next steps?

If you’re looking for more information about a particular pharma trade show or medical fair, please contact us. We provide information and support for trade show requirements – check out our Trade Show Checklist here.

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trade show booth ideas

Trade Show Tactical Ideas for the Most Traffic

Trade shows are a cost-effective way to reach consumers. A study concluded that the average cost of an in-person meeting at a prospect’s office is $259. The cost of the same face-to-face meeting at a trade show? $142.

Success at a trade show begins with planning far ahead of the event. First, you should set a measurable goal that guides your efforts. A clear, realistic goal motivates every member of your team.

Do you want to gain new leads or to close sales? Is the goal to build brand awareness? Are you launching a new product or promoting an existing one? These are some of the questions you should consider when you’re setting your goal(s).

Your objectives inform decisions on marketing materials, giveaways, and booth design, among other things. Think of the trade show as part of your marketing strategy.

Even when you know what you want to get out of exhibiting at a trade show, it can be overwhelming when considering the best strategies to achieve your goals. Keep reading to learn about different trade show ideas that will help you to produce the biggest return on your investment.

Build Momentum Before the Event

It takes more than a free pen and candy to attract the right people to your trade show booth. To drum up excitement and anticipation for your exhibit, it is good practice to promote the event ahead of time. Here are a few simple yet effective ways to tell everyone you’re attending the trade show:

  • Add a notice to your company’s email signatures
  • Send a newsletter to current and potential clients
  • Engage with the trade show and its attendees on social media
  • Write blogs and other social posts about the show
  • Directly invite customers to attend the show
  • Create a hashtag for the event – or get involved with an existing one
  • Flaunt discounts that will be available at the trade show

Make sure anyone interested in your product or services knows where to find you at the event. Follow the organizer’s social accounts and share relevant posts with your followers.

These tactics create extra awareness and excitement about the upcoming show – and should lead to a higher volume of booth visitors.

Focus on Your Audience

Don’t try to appeal to everyone – it’s impossible to do so. Instead, do some research to understand who your target audience is, and what strategies they might be most receptive to.

Do your customers like loud and exciting displays? If so, then be sure to use bright colors, visuals, and sounds.

If your clients prefer calm, fill the booth with comfy seating and soothing colors. Always design your booth and marketing materials for your target audience.

See if you can access the registered attendee list before the event. Make sure to abide by any rules on what you can and can’t do with the list. Never spam all the attendees.

Look for current customers on the list. They’re your best source for sales and referrals. Contact them to arrange meetings, invite them to cocktails, and reveal special perks.

You can also leverage the list data to send custom messages to your ideal customer. Share useful information about the event and the host city, and invite them to visit you at the show. Make sure that you’re bringing value to the audience – instead of making it about your company, make it about what your brand can do to make their life better.

Include links and relevant hashtags so attendees can find you before, during, and after the event.

Embrace Technology

Ever-advancing interactive technologies offer more immersive and personalized experiences for trade show attendees than ever before. Use accessories like tablets, touchscreens, and digital signage to attract attention.

It’s much easier to engage attendees when your display contains eye-popping digital visuals. Adding that “wow” factor will encourage more social media posts and selfies, which provide you with more free publicity.

An interactive screen with a survey or contest is one way to capture email addresses. Visitors can provide their email addresses in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

It is also possible to successfully leverage technology that isn’t a part of your booth. Often, trade shows have apps that send push notifications to visitors in real-time. Exhibitors can use this technology to communicate with attendees through the app.

Utilizing app technology can allow your company to capture data, improve attendee engagement, and save money on printing. It’s also an intuitive and convenient method of communication for attendees.

Use the app to invite visitors to your booth for a presentation or contest. Always offer something of value and be sure to include a call-to-action.

Taking advantage of the endless possibilities to incorporate technology into your trade show exhibiting experience can pay dividends to your company if used correctly.

Offer a Special Discount

Trade show attendees expect freebies and discounts. Can you offer a special price for products or services purchased at the show?

This creates an urgent reason for attendees to buy. The discount can be anything from BOGO to a discount that’s only available at the event.

Customers often buy when they know they must act right away to take advantage of the deal.

Another option is to provide a discount code at your booth that works for a limited time after the show. You can track sales related to the code to determine the ROI.

No matter what kind of deals you decide to offer, establishing a sense of urgency can strongly encourage customers who are on the fence about your products or services to make a purchase on the spot.

Strategic Layout Ideas

Regardless of whether or not you have a prime booth location at the trade show, your booth’s layout is tremendously important.

What are people going to see first as they approach your booth? Are they coming from the side or front?

Will people pass your booth on the way to an auditorium or food court? Consider all the foot traffic patterns before arranging items in your booth.

A corner booth is a challenge since people can enter from more than one direction.

Lighting is an important component. The way your lights are set up can influence where passersby look first – which can, in turn, determine if they are interested in visiting your booth or not.

You can also create drama for a new product with a spotlight. Lamps convey a warm and inviting space. Lights in display cases can illuminate your products to bring your visuals to the next level.

If it’s your first trade show, get expert advice on your booth design. The pros can guide you on optimizing your lighting, visuals, and displays in ways that will look fantastic in any location.

Create a Seating Area

Trade show attendees spend a lot of time on their feet. Adding a couch and a couple of big chairs to your space can turn your booth into a much-needed resting spot for trade show attendees. Invite visitors to sit and relax.

Create a seating area that matches your message. Use colors and furniture that complement your brand and its products.

Display these products in their natural setting. For example, a company that sells adventure gear could create a cozy, rustic cabin.

Once people sit, you can start a conversation and show them what you have to offer.

Add a Charging Station

People want to charge their phones as much as they want to sit in a chair. Provide both and you’ll have a popular booth.

A charging station is always appreciated. People stay as long as it takes to charge their phones, and this affords you an invaluable opportunity – a captive audience. Take advantage of the opening to engage them in conversation.

Provide Hydration

Attendees prefer water over candy at trade shows. A bottle of water helps people stay hydrated as they traverse the long rows of the trade show.

Brand your bottles with a custom wrapper. Other attendees who see the bottle will find your booth to get their own.

Make sure you have enough water bottles to accommodate the crowd. You can slow the number of giveaways by making it a prize for playing a game.

This is an effective way to provide value to customers while getting your brand out on the trade show floor for more people to see and hear about.

Use Visual Marketing

Use visual marketing more than text when designing your booth. People respond immediately to images, whereas they may not be willing to stop and read a long message.

Keep the message clear and concise. Always use your brand’s colors and style for recognition.

Extend the visual identity to your staff. Everyone should dress in brand colors. Incorporate a logo on a shirt or hat so booth staffers are easy to identify.

Choose matching outfits that suit the business. The staff for a finance company may dress in suits or business casual. Staff for an athletic shoe company could wear sportswear.

Either way, a cohesive team looks professional and builds an identity for your brand.

Entertain the Attendees

Entertainment is a popular strategy for increasing trade show booth traffic. It attracts attention and keeps people interested in what you’re offering.

For a complete win, make the entertainment about your product. A product demonstration that includes drama or humor is a good choice.

Effective branded entertainment has lots of appeal. If it’s connected to or complements your business, then it’s easy for staff to engage with visitors.

An experienced entertainer can include key brand benefits or products in the act. This works for magicians, fortune tellers, singers, artists, and comedians.

It’s a clever way to put your message in front of your audience in a memorable way.

Interactive games like money-blowing machines, game shows, and virtual experiences draw traffic. Make sure your staff encourages visitors to take part. It’s another way to begin a relationship with potential buyers.

Add a photo booth to your display for built-in entertainment. People love posing for photos with coworkers and friends. Add a branded backdrop and props to the photo booth.

When visitors enjoy their experience, they will remember your brand. Make sure your products and selling points are part of the entertainment.

Samples and Branded Giveaways

Trade show attendees expect freebies. They don’t care if it’s a pen, hat or flashlight. Most will take home anything they can get.

The best giveaways are samples of your product.

Demo the product in action. Show how your product solves a problem. Let them taste, touch, and try on the product in your booth.

Hand out samples people can try at home. People love the chance to try a product before they buy it. Use branded giveaways so consumers can find you online later.

If your budget is tight, use a game to distribute samples. Create an activity consumers must win to receive a giveaway item.

While people wait in line to play, your staff can engage them in conversation. Give out a variety of items to keep the game interesting.

Use Social Media During the Event

Start conversations on social media and continue them during the trade show.

Stay active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter throughout the event. It’s a good way to engage with followers and fans who attend the trade show.

Invite them to visit you. Announce demonstrations, giveaways, and samples happening at your booth.

Use These Trade Show Ideas at Your Next Event

These trade show ideas can help increase traffic at your next event. If you still have questions, contact us today.

We can help with everything from a portable booth to building a custom exhibit.

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The Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas of 2020

Trade Show Giveaways 2020

What makes the best promotional items?

There are many unique giveaway ideas that the consumer will find compelling at first, but ultimately end up in the trash on the way out of the exhibit hall. The goal is to find a trade show giveaway that is cost-effective, branded, and useful for the intended audience., and will be kept longer after the show is over.

A study done by PPAI Research claims that 81% of consumers keep promotional products for more than a year. The opportunity to remind your target audience of your brand in a pleasant and useful way can’t be overstated, and should be considered in your trade show budgeting. Depending on your choice of item, it can be a daily or even hourly touchpoint reminding visitors of your B2C or B2B brand.

Trade show giveaways attract visitors much like the overall quality of your exhibit design, but after that, it’s up to the exhibitor to make those visitors count.

Best trade show giveaways

Don’t leave it up to giveaways. Make sure your exhibit design catches the attention of everyone at the trade show, speaks your brand and show messaging, and invites engagement.

Giveaways, on the other hand, are a great way to get someone’s information so that your sales team can follow up with them after the show, and to be remembered after your visitor has returned home.

Ask your visitors questions and hand them their giveaway for a small piece of information, such as email addresses. Get to know their company name and create an experience that helps them associate their brand with yours. Now, what promotional products should you actually give them?

Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Key Chain Light – The key light is a concept so simple and yet so useful. The LED promo key light can attach directly to your car keys. Being one of the most cost-effective promo items to date, this giveaway is a great idea. Imagine having your product name on someone’s keys, in front of their eyes almost every day. You cannot go wrong there. Here are some trade show key chain lights

light up key chain for trade show giveaway

  • Power BanksPower banks are great at events because your prospects can now recharge their essential electronics while on the move. This makes it extremely useful. The major concern with technology innovation is convenience and providing your target audience with the ability to prevent themselves from being “device-less” while simultaneously having your brand name involved in their daily lives is like hitting the giveaway jackpot.
  • USB Flash Drive – With so much technology in today’s world there seems to be always a need for a USB flash drive. What better time for a brand to be visible than when you really need a USB? Sitting at my computer now, I have two different thumb drives; giveaways that I received at the International Franchise Expo. Every business is guaranteed to have a moment like this, which is why this trade show giveaway’s a hit wherever you take it.

usb flash drive trade show giveaway

Unique Trade Show Giveaways Items

The best giveaways are useful, retained, and memorable. Even better is something so new and exciting that your recipients talk about it throughout the show, bringing new visitors (including qualified leads) to your booth–and after! Try something like a coaster or phone stand with “5D” Tridelix technology–the image or logo appears 5″ deep, but is only 1/8″ –thinner than your tablet. Light but sturdy, and easy to transport, something unique like this is almost guaranteed not to end up in a hotel trashcan. Plus, the imagery is laser sharp, so it’s a great way to showcase your product.

Tridelix Steelers coaster with beer

5D Tridelix images look 5″ deep but are only 1/8″ –thinner than your tablet.

Time-Tested Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Pens Pens are a time-tested, giveaway classic that, despite not being very showy, pack a big promotional punch. According to a study done by the ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute), Most Popular Promo Products by Category, Writing Instruments were the most commonly received promotional product by far. This is because they follow the three rules of an effective giveaway item:
    • Cost-effective
    • Easy to brand
    • Useful to the majority of trade show attendees.

brown ball point pen

  • Stainless Steel Sports BottlesAlthough slightly more expensive than branded water bottles, stainless steel sports bottles have a much longer life-cycle. These are great because they not only provide a large print area, but they also come in a multitude of colors, so it is easy to match your brand’s colors to those of your giveaway. Additionally, these items serve as an eco-friendly item and help reduce plastic waste. Finally, they are available with a custom print logo for easy brand recognition.

 3 aluminum water bottles

  • Drawstring Bag– This cost-efficient trade show item is another perfectly useful and significant event giveaway that can be used right away. Drawstring bags will be continually used for everyday things, keeping your company’s identity front (or back) and center. Let the traffic to your exhibit walk away with an item that reflects the utility your company truly reflects. They are also light and easy to transport (your visitors may even use them on their way to the airport!). Drawstrings bags are perfect for this reason.

trade show giveaway drawstring bag

  • Reusable Bag or Tote With reusable bags/totes being as popular a giveaway item as they are, you would be surprised as to how few exhibitors receive these at any given trade show. Not only will your attendees and prospective clients use them at the trade show for toting around their other materials, but they will almost always make it home. Beyond the trade show floor, clients will use these for bagging groceries, shopping, and much more. In addition to these substantial benefits, they provide the largest print area of any trade show giveaway item on our list. You can also get Eco-Friendly bags if “going green” is part of your image. Tip: give a higher quality bag with wider handles or straps (for comfort) and a large gusset (the panel at the bottom) that will really hold groceries, toys, laundry, books, etc. to ensure your bag becomes the “favorite” of your intended targets.

best trade show giveaways

Bonus Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Padfolios and Notebooks What’s more relevant at a trade show than a padfolio and notebook? It’s a perfect giveaway for an event or conference where you have to take notes. This gift will be used often, especially in industries that require a lot of travel. Additionally, these items tend to have a high use rate than most other giveaways. Overall, this is another useful, and one of the best promo ideas. Here are some trade show padfolios

notepad trade show swag

  • Stainless Steel TumblersMuch like the water bottles, coffee is something a lot of people drink daily. This means more opportunities for your brand to be top-of-mind with a stainless steel coffee tumbler. In the book, “Contagious” by Jonah Berger, Kit Kat used coffee as a way to keep their brand top of mind with consumers. “Have a Kit Kat with your coffee break” was a slogan that increased sales tremendously, by simply increasing top of mind awareness. Associating yourselves with something done more often increases top-of-mind awareness. Here are some trade show tumblers

branded custom trade show giveaway ideas


When it all comes down to it, the absolute best giveaway at a conference, expo, trade show, or other event is one that is relevant and useful. Mix your brand in the scenario and you can’t go wrong. Take your time choosing a promotional item that is either relevant to your business or to an event scenario and you can create a branding experience that will last. Trying to be unique when offering an item is a slippery slope. When handing over something that is free, make sure it happens to be useful to whomever you are giving it to. Otherwise, the trash bin that’s closest to your exhibition space will most likely be full of your giveaways. Keep this in mind and you will do fine. Happy shopping!

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