Exhibitor Tips

Choosing a Home & Garden Show

Whether you are deciding on a show that’s a member of this organization, or anywhere in the country, here are some tips, and questions to ask, to help you make a good decisions.

Determine who you are dealing with.

  • Is the person calling you an employee of the company that owns the show, or someone hired to sell exhibit space?
    • Will he or she be at the show
  • Who is the owner of the company?
  • Who is the manager of the show?
  • What other shows does that manager manage
    • Note: If it’s more than four, ask how much time they are devoting to the show you are considering.
  • How long have they been in business?
  • How many shows have they produced, and where?

Explore their website.

  • Is the name of the company owner, and/or the show manager listed
    • Does it give you the ability to contact them directly?
  • Are the photographs taken at their shows, or simply purchased stock photography?
  • Is there a separate site, or page, for the show you are thinking about exhibiting in?
  • Does the website list the features and special happenings at the show, or is it general information?
  • Does the website list the participating companies
    • This is important not only for seeing who is going to be there, but also for post-show business from attendees trying to find you after the show. Many shows will even link your listing to your web site.

Research the show.

  • Has it ever taken place in your city before?
  • What other companies plan to exhibit?
    • Ask for a current list of confirmed companies.
      • Advice here is to trust, but verify – call companies you know, or even ones you don’t, and find out if they are really signed up.
    • Hint: If they are signed up, ask how much they are paying for the space.
      • Many new shows will discount space to get exhibitors.
      • If you are going to exhibit, you need to make sure you are getting the same deal everyone else is.
  • What will be happening there? There are two types of shows.
    • One type consists of exhibits only.
    • The second has exhibits, and supports those exhibitors with activities to create excitement and media attention.
      • Those activities can include gardens, designer rooms, celebrity guests, homeowner workshops, giveaways, feature area, and special events.
  • Who is involved?
    • Are there trade associations, like the local Home Builders Association, who are sponsors?
      • That’s normally a good sign.
    • While it’s easy to think otherwise, radio and TV stations as sponsors do not always mean much.
      • Shows can buy their way into media sponsorships.
  • Look at the floor plan. Count the number of booths and compare it to other shows you know.
    • Again caution – just because they have 200 booths on the floor plan, does not mean they will sell them all.
  • How do they plan to promote the show?
    • Which stations? What papers? How many ads? What size?
    • How much do they plan to spend on advertising?
    • Remember that they can promise anything, but if they are having trouble answering your questions, they probably haven’t done their homework.
  • How many people will be there?
    • If a show producer guarantees an attendance figure, beware.
      • Although a professional show producer will have a good guess of how many people normally come, attendance should never be guaranteed.
      • Ask if you get your money back if the guaranteed amount of people don’t come – you’ll find how good their guarantee is.

Understand the costs beyond the boothspace.

  • If you do decide the show makes sense for you, make sure to find out what other costs are involved. They can include:
    • Electricity
    • Internet / Wi-Fi access
    • Parking
    • Decor
      • Does the show mandate carpet in your booth or other decor items you may not have?
    • Labor
      • If the show is held at a union facility, you may have to pay union labor to move in and set up.
    • Tickets
      • Do you get free ones with your exhibit?
      • Will the amount given be enough for your staff?

Red Flags!

  • A deal on space.
  • High pressured selling.
  • Too many promises.

In Summary.

  • None of these items, by themselves, are deal breakers. But if they start adding up, be cautious.
  • Good luck finding the right show for you!