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Knowledge & Insights

Managing Your Tradeshow Presence: Top Tips

Posted by
Alice Paines Event Manager

I have supported Outsourced Events' clients at many tradeshows all over the world, and I love using the knowledge I’ve gained to help our clients maximise their tradeshow presence.

Whether you’re a tradeshow veteran or just starting out, here are my top tips on getting the most out of the experience.


Stagger Your Shipments

My top tip! Storage and shipping are often overlooked in the planning process but can be the biggest pinch points. Get your shipments booked-in early and be prepared for obstacles like delays at Customs and budget hits caused by Brexit. 

Outsourced Events’ self-service online inventory management system gives our clients total control. With strategically placed warehouses in the UK and EU, pick and pack service, and dedicated account managers, it’s cost-effective and efficient.

Booth Artwork and Branding

Be Creative With Space

Size doesn’t matter! The key to a knockout tradeshow booth or stand is creative use of space. Even the smallest stand can deliver real impact with careful planning.

Whatever your budget, your overall considerations are the same: 

  • What’s the purpose? (Brand visibility, product demos, in-depth conversations?)
  • How do you attract people there?
  • How do you keep people there?

No Blank Screens 

If you have a screen, use it! I’ve seen so many stands with an unused blank screen detracting from the rest of it. You can upload animation, films, social feeds.

Highlight Your Distinctiveness

Use the accent colours from your brand palette to stand out from the crowd. Lots of tech tradeshows are full of blue and white, the tried and tested colour combo that conveys the message ‘we are trusted’. Think about how you can use pops of colour to differentiate your booth from those around you.

When Outsourced Events supported Spot by NetApp at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, our colourful graffiti-themed booth was the busiest on the floor!

Handouts and Giveaways

Paper With a Purpose

Tradeshows are very busy and loud, which can be overwhelming for some, and I’ve found that lots of people still like to hold paper collateral. Handouts are also good ways for stand staff to initiate conversations. 

I like to use paper that can be reused or repurposed, such as paper sheets with wildflower seeds embedded, which can be planted afterwards. You can carry the theme through with plantable pencils and even plantable eyeliner!  

Be Thoughtful with Language

Your tradeshow presence will likely represent a sizeable chunk of your company’s marketing budget. Have you considered matching your giveaways with the key marketing messages? By that I mean, if your company fixes things, give away a tool of some kind. If it solves problems, give away a puzzle. 

Source Locally

I like to use local suppliers as much as possible for merch and giveaways. I suggest local games, stickers, items delegates can take home as gifts, as well as useful things they’ll use again.

Check out the Outsourced Events Guide to Events and Sustainability for some more ideas.

Useful Swag

When I’m helping clients source swag for tradeshows I always take long-distance visitors into account. Whatever region you’re exhibiting in, many delegates will not be local to the venue. 

Think about swag that’s useful to delegates who travel a lot – my number one consideration is weight. Make everything as lightweight as possible so it’s not a burden to carry and won’t affect baggage allowances.

Branded charging cables, travel adaptors, phone holders that clip onto airplane seat backs, reusable water bottles that don’t leak… these are just some of my go-to items. 

Instagrammable Comestibles

Branded food and drink items make for great stand giveaways, especially later in the day when foot-weary delegates might be flagging a bit. Make them visually appealing and they’ll help boost your brand visibility when delegates share them on social. 


Pick Your Onsite Staff Wisely

Think critically in terms of what the audience is looking for, what they’re going to ask. What are their expectations in visiting your stand?

If you’re expecting an expert audience, make sure you have an expert on the stand, not just sales staff.  If you’re expecting a general audience, pick happy, smiley, sociable people with lots of stamina - like the #TeamOE #eventprofs!

Look After Your People

Tradeshows are a marathon for onsite staff as well as delegates. Be kind to your people, make sure they’re fed, watered, and rested, with enough breaks. And that they’re wearing comfy shoes! No one wants sore feet at a tradeshow.

Catering at large tradeshows can be miles away from your booth, so we always make sure we have lots of snacks and drinks on-hand.

Download a copy of the Outsourced Events' handy 'Event Kit List' here

Get in Touch

Find out how Outsourced Events can help you make your next tradeshow a success. Call us on +44 (0)330 460 6007 or email us:

People talking at the PagerDuty tradeshow booth
Two people talking at a tradeshow stand
The Spot by NetApp tradeshow stand

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