What Role Should the Location of a Tradeshow Play in Your Exhibiting Decision?


Often, when attempting to determine whether to exhibit at a tradeshow or not, some exhibitors quickly look at the geographical location of the show and make an instant decision not to exhibit because the show is not in their region.

While in some cases this may be the right decision, I believe every exhibitor serious about building or maintaining brand visibility and awareness and growing their businesses should take a closer look.

The real decision to exhibit should be based not necessarily on the geographical location of the show, but on a bigger and important question:

Will there be enough of the right attendees for me?”

When an exhibitor takes a few extra minutes to analyze the attendee base of the show – even when the show is not located in the exhibitor’s geographical area – they are often surprised to find that there are more than enough attendees coming from the geographical areas the exhibitor serves.

Here are four practical steps you can take to make sure you are making a well-informed decision that is in the best interest of your company:

1. Determine how many attendees are enough by calculating your Exhibit Interaction Capacity:

# exhibiting hours (x)  # booth staff  (x)  # interactions/per hour/per booth staffer = Exhibit Interaction Capacity

Example calculation: 14 exhibiting hours x 2 booth staff x 3 interactions/hour/staffer = Exhibit Interaction Capacity of 84

2. Define your Ideal Visitor. As a starting point use 1) company type, 2) job function/title, and 3) geographical location. Add any other criteria that helps create a clear picture of your ideal visitor.

3. Work with the show organizer to determine how many attendees match your Ideal Visitor Profile. Start by looking at the show’s website and the exhibitor prospectus. They will usually provide attendee demographics, along with what parts of the country attendees come from. If this does not give you the data you need to accurately estimate how many attendees will match your profile, then send an email or pick up the phone and call your account exec and ask them to help you.

4. If the number of attendees is 3 to 5 times your Exhibit Interaction Capacity, exhibiting at this show is probably a smart decision for your company. Using the Exhibit Interaction Capacity of 84 above, if the show has 252 to 420 Ideal Visitor Profile matches, there will be enough of the right attendees for you to succeed at this show.

Now obviously, you still have to do your part by developing a targeted pre-show marketing campaign to make sure you’re “in the mind” and “on the agenda” of the right attendees, but you can rest assured that this show, regardless of where it is located, is a good marketing and sales opportunity for your company.