Strategies for a Successful Trade Show on a Budget

Marilena De Niear

December 21, 2022

    Organizing a trade show on a budget can be challenging. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can leverage to cut costs using event technology. 

    In other blog posts, we’ve reviewed the ways that event technology can eliminate manual effort and we’ve also featured some event technology industry trends

    What better way to continue the discussion about event technology than by explaining all the ways it can help you cut costs? 

    These strategies will help you organize and streamline a successful trade show on a budget.  


    Leave space in your budget for event tech.

    Make sure you add contactless solutions to your budget to run safe and seamless events.


    Save on staffing fees

    There is a lot of preparation that goes into planning a trade show, starting with the staff required to work it. To ensure that your event goes as smoothly as possible, it is best to have a plan and designated people to do each job. 

    But what if we told you that certain jobs could be done with technology?

    Event technology can offer you easy, contactless options to save on staffing fees. With event technology you can utilize online event registration, online event check-in, and online attendee tracking software. 


    Event registration made easy

    Online event registration is a great way to simplify the event registration process for everyone involved. Not only will you save money by not having to pay an employee to sit at a desk and help check guests in, but it’s easier for your guests, too!

    The flow of your registration will be much smoother with event technology. You can even decrease the time spent on issues and questions from attendees, which often leads to increased revenue and less registration abandonment. Attendees can also easily register from any device they choose.

    Another feature of online event registration is that you can create a unique experience for each attendee based on demographics and area of interest. With this, you can keep your brand front and center and match your registration with your brand identity.


    Conquer chaos with contactless event check-in

    Checking into a trade show is kind of like walking into a job interview. 

    It is the first thing your attendees are going to do and it is the first impression they will evaluate of your event — best to make it a good one by integrating event technology solutions. 

    With ExpressPass, your attendees can check-in faster and safer while also saving your team time.

    The days of highlighting each attendees’ name to check them in for an event are long over. Not only is this a tedious process, but there is more room for error. 

    With event technology, you can speed up event check-in from minutes to seconds, without requiring staff involvement. 

    Managing an efficient event check-in will likely require the most staff, which in turn will cost you more money. With event technology, you can eliminate this entire cost of staff while also getting so much more out of your event check-in. 

    Some features that come from a contactless event check-in are:

    • Real-time badge printing
    • Advanced segmentation and reporting
    • Several badge styles
    • Design, set-up, and admin of registration 
    • Email confirmations for attendees
    • Badge advertisements and sponsorships
    • Integration with registration and AMS/CRM
    • Mobile device check-in
    • 24/7 live registration 


    Track your trade show success

    An important part of any event involves gathering information about what made the event successful, as well as any details that detracted from the experience. 

    While you could task a staff member with walking around at your event and soliciting feedback, you can gain insights more efficiently and accurately by using advanced tracking technology.

    With attendee tracking software, you can quickly scan badges onsight for session check-in and gain insights by monitoring attendee activity. This way, you can discover what sessions are most popular, how certain content resonates more with different attendee types, and accurately award CEUs.

    There are so many benefits to using online tracking software at events including secure attendee details and faster and more convenient attendee session check-in and check-out.

    You can also gain a deeper insight into your events by better understanding attendees’ behavior. This will allow you to accurately award your attendees, manage session attendance, and uncover powerful event data. 

    Once again, you’ll protect your budget by not having to pay for staff to manage these processes. 

    It’s faster, more convenient, and will help you organize the most successful event on a budget. In other words, event technology is the trifecta of event management solutions. 

    Some finer points about the strategies that will help you organize your trade show on a budget… 


    1. Identify concepts

    What will your tradeshow design be? How will you all collaborate to supply attendees with the best experience? How will you use technology throughout this whole process? 

    Designing a concept that will appeal to your prospects is one of the most cost-effective things you can do to ensure a successful trade show. 


    2. Call for Vendors

    Show vendors how participating in your trade show will benefit them. 

    Find vendors who fit in with your specific niche and share all the details of your event with them. Make them interested in what you have to offer and they’ll feel inclined to join you!


    3. Establish Your Marketing Budget

    Developing a marketing budget is crucial to make sure you never waste money or resources. 

    Find out where your audience typically gets their information. For instance, if they’re on social media, you won’t want to waste precious marketing dollars on advertising in the newspaper, radio, or in trade publications. 


    4. Partnerships 

    Learn about some relevant businesses in your area and inform them how they can expand their professional portfolio by partnering with you. This will help you have a more successful trade show while also helping out other businesses in your community. 


    5. Finding the Right Venue

    When you think of a trade show, you probably think of it being held at a giant convention center. However, convention centers can be extremely costly and, therefore, out of reach for your budget. 

    To save some money, consider looking into banquet halls, hotel ballrooms, or some other possible rooms available for public rental. 

    A successful trade show isn’t about finding the most elaborate and expensive location, rather it’s about what the experience will look like for attendees and what you can deliver within the constraints of your budget. 


    6. Know Your Booth Necessities 

    Setting clear goals and objectives for booth design and exhibits is another way that you can cut costs. 

    By establishing these objectives, you will know how to best allocate funds when it comes to booth size and style. 

    To start, you should establish your primary goal at an upcoming show, so you can plan your booth design around that. Careful consideration can help you save money, while also allowing you to prepare the best booth.

    Cardinal Expo published a helpful general breakdown of how exhibitors typically allocate their budgets

    • Exhibiting space: 10%
    • Staffing and travel: 25%
    • Exhibit design: 40% 
    • Show services and premiums: 25% 

    If you consider what event technology solutions can offer, relative to staffing alone, you’re already realizing savings on what you would normally need to spend in order to host a successful trade show. 


    7. Distribute Freebies Consciously

    While it can be beneficial for your business to give out free things to ensure visitors remember your brand, make sure this distribution is a conscious decision. 

    The cost of even small gifts like pens, keychains, or stickers can add up fast. 

    One way to maximize the distribution of your freebies is to avoid making them freely available to every booth visitor. Instead, hand them out directly to attendees that come visit and talk to you. This will ensure that you don’t run out of supplies too quickly.

    And last but certainly not least…


    Utilize event technology

    One of the best ways to better organize a successful trade show on a budget is by integrating event technology. With Expo Logic’s end-to-end solutions, planning a trade show can be simple, streamlined, and cost-effective. Keep pace with event industry technology by integrating ExpoLogic’s innovative solutions into your event show strategy.

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