If it's been a while since you've been to a show, or if this is your first time, you might be wondering what you need to prepare in advance. From packing lists to vendor booth etiquette, the following trade show tips are helpful for all eyecare professionals who want to maximize their time at VEW 2019.
How to Prep for Trade Show Success
Trade shows are an important chance for you to nurture relationships with your vendors. It is also your opportunity to shine as a representative of your dispensary or practice. That's why it's important that you take some time to carefully plan your trip. Some advanced planning can help make your experience less stressful and more successful. Here's a handy check list of things you should do before and after a show that will help you get started:
At Least 1 Month Before the Show
Book your flight and hotel: Don't leave this for the last minute! The last thing you want is to be inconvenienced by a hotel that is far away from the venue or an overpriced plane ticket. We recommend booking flights on a Tuesday, this is when prices tend to be lowest.
2 Weeks Before the Show
- Drop off dry cleaning: When attending meetings and networking events, you want to look your best. Have your suit dry cleaned and pressed or plan on getting it laundered at your hotel.
- Schedule meetings: Be sure to reach out to everyone you'll need to meet with at the show; vendors, colleagues, and everyone in between. Set aside a date, time, and place for your meeting and get it on your calendar.
1 Week Before the Show
- Tickets and vouchers: Print and pack your plane tickets and hotel vouchers. You don't want any travel-related mishaps before the show even begins. At least two days before your flight, confirm with the airline and hotel that your reservation hasn't changed.
- Pick up dry cleaning:
Make sure everything you sent to the dry cleaners came back in order.
- Trade show badge: Your badge is your key to the show. Be sure to have it with you when you're packing up. If you're picking it up at the venue, come a little early before the show opens to grab it at the desk.
- Map your route: Trade shows tend to be huge venues with many events things going on at the same time. It's easy to get lost or distracted. Check out the show's official website for a map of participating exhibitors, and pin down the booths you want to make stops at. Map your route so you have an easy way to get from point A to point B.
- List of booths to visit: Stepping foot in the trade show for the first time can be overwhelming. Having a list of must-see booths will help you feel accomplished from day one.
Pack Your Essentials
You have to be prepared for anything during the show. Here's a list of essentials you shouldn't leave behind.
- Small bag: Bring a small bag with you when you head over to the venue to store all of your essentials.
- Itinerary: Keep of schedule or your meetings and list of booths you want to visit, either on your phone or day planner, so you don't miss anything important.
- Business cards: If you're going to be attending meetings and networking events, it's important that you have your contact information to hand out. Keep a whole stack on you and make the most of those new connections.
- Pen and paper: You never know when you'll want to write something down. Maybe a name, number, or booth to visit.
- Healthy snacks: Just like needing to stay hydrated, you need to have some filling snacks on hand in case you're too busy for a full meal.
- Portable charger: Depending on how much you rely on your cell phone, you may find your battery drained midway through the day. Invest in a portable charger to keep your phone alive the whole time.
- Mints & Tissues: Networking means you meet a lot of people, and of course you want to give the best first impression. Be sure to have a pack of mints and tissues to help you freshen up.
- Tide to-go pen: Accidents happen! This miracle marker lets you erase that sloppy food stain on your shirt.
- Lip balm: Event halls can get really dry and it's only a matter of time before you feel your lips start to chap. To avoid feeling uncomfortable, carry some lip balm on you.
- Receipt envelope: Chances are if you're attending for business, you will need to submit an expense report. Collect all of your receipts in one place for easy filing.
- Petty cash: You never know when you'll need cash for emergencies or tipping. Keep some on you to avoid ATM fees.
- Extra bag: If you plan to do a lot of buying on the spot, make sure you have a way to haul your new inventory around.
At The Show
- Hydrate: The worst thing you can do at the show is not drink water. It's important to keep hydrated, especially when you're spending most of your day on your feet. Plan to buy a bottle to carry with you at the show.
- Big healthy breakfast: If you're not a breakfast person, a trade show might be the time to pick up this morning habit. Breakfast could be the only sit-down meal you have time for during a busy event where your schedule can change at any moment. Fill up with a nutrient rich, high protein breakfast, and avoid sugary treats that can lead to a dreaded sugar crash.
After The Show
- Expense report
: Don't wait to file your report so you can get reimbursed quickly.
- Touch base with new connections: Maintain relationships with the new people you've met. Maybe send a quick email to recap what happened at the show or to share your contact info.
- Evaluate: Get together with your colleagues and determine what parts of the experience were successful, could be improved, or could be eliminated entirely. Take notes and review them prior to planning your next show.
We'll be at Vision Expo West 2019 if you want a demo of our software or advice on money management in your practice. Stop by Booth MS9035 to talk to us or watch our demo below.