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Outdoor exhibitions…what you need to know

How to Successfully Prepare for an Outdoor Exhibition

While the goals of indoor and outdoor exhibitions may be the same, the preparation involved with the two are quite different and require different planning. From the overall style of the event to considerations given to the weather, there are many aspects of preparing for an outdoor trade show that you need to consider for your exhibit to be a success. One of the biggest hurdles of an outdoor exhibition is the unpredictable weather, which can quickly derail your stand if you’re not well prepared. If you’re thinking of attending an outdoor exhibition, here are some tips to make sure your show runs smoothly.


Visit the venue before the show and plan ahead

Once you know you’ll be attending a trade show, it’s helpful to visit ahead of the event to gain a clear view of the venue, and the space available, so you can set up your display effectively. Many outdoor events do not provide outlined areas for exhibitors, so there are plenty of opportunities to be creative and innovative with your stand. It’s important that your stand captures the essence of your brand and evokes the type of spirit you want your customers to associate with your business. Think about your target customer and the services or products they will be looking for, so you can tailor your exhibit to attract the right prospects.

Visiting the location will provide an insight that you can’t obtain from a website or brochure.

You can identify where extension cords and generators will be situated and foundations you will work with at the event. The earlier you plan, the better, as anything left until the last minute will add unwanted stress to the day.


Protect the stand from the weather

Mother Nature can have a devastating effect on your exhibition if you don’t plan properly. Some venues don’t have an indoor alternative, so you need to think ahead and have a plan B. When you’re budgeting for your exhibit, add extra for display covers that will protect the stands and promotional materials from damage. You also need to have elements in place to secure items to the ground in case of unexpected gusts of wind. During the design phase of your preparation, these features should be factored in.

It isn’t just rain that can make or break your trade show success. Over time, harsh daylight can damage displays. Consider the addition of tents or awnings to protect your marketing materials from sunlight so you can use them for longer periods of time. These coverings can also be useful during spring showers, so your exhibit doesn’t fall flat as a result of unpredictable weather.

Select your staff carefully

The staff who manage your stand are representing your brand so it’s imperative you choose appropriate people. Whatever the time of year, rain or shine, your staff need to be able to handle what’s thrown their way and provide an excellent experience for visitors. You may want to consider how you can equip your team to be prepared – branded jackets will not only keep staff covered if the weather turns sour, they also serve to promote your brand. Similarly, if your event is taking place during the warmer months, having branded hats and t-shirts will keep your team comfortable while also promoting your business.

It’s no secret that running a stand at a trade show takes a lot of effort, particularly if it’s outdoors as the weather can make it more tiring. If you’re busy handling an influx of customers and networking, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you all need food and drinks. Provide your team with plenty of breaks and ensure that you all work in shifts so that everyone has adequate time to recharge.


Pack spare supplies

Whether you’re intending to play music, use lighting, or you’re in need of a power source for another aspect of your exhibit, it’s useful to pack extras. It’s also handy to have other supplies at the ready for any unforeseen circumstances, such as the wind bringing a cover down. Extension cords, tape, pens and a first aid kit are all well worth packing, as well as business cards to hand out to prospects and other business owners. You don’t want your exhibit to fall apart just because of a small hiccup that could have been avoided by a bit of forward planning.

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Have a means of communication

Trade shows can get busy very quickly and when you’re outside and contending with the weather as well, it can be difficult to communicate with your team. If you have multiple stalls or displays, you need an effective way to contact them. Work phones or walkie talkies make life easier on the day, as will having a rota in place so everyone knows what is expected of them.


Make your business visible

There’s no point in investing in a trade show exhibit if nobody can find you. It’s a good idea to attract attention with marketing materials such as advertising flags, which will make your stand easier to find. There are plenty of outdoor advertising materials you can choose to provide a great experience for visitors. If you have a brick and mortar business, you can also use those displays after the event, so they will provide ongoing value.

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