Organizing all the trade show materials you'll need is a lot of responsibility. While you're focused on big-picture items, it's far too easy to forget the tiny details. Here is a list of items to remember:
1. Shipping/Packaging Materials for Your Return Trip
You're understandably focused on getting everything shipped to your location and set up properly. But in the rush to get everything in place, you may forget about having the materials you'll need for the return trip. Make sure you have shipping labels and packaging materials to get your items back home in one piece. And remember, don't throw out your boxes once you set up your booth! Plenty of people lose track of their boxes after everything gets set up for the show. Stash your boxes and packing materials away safely so you can find them right away after the event wraps up.
2. Binders and Report Covers
Is anyone in your company leading a presentation? Will you offer mini-meetings in your booth? Invest in plenty of binders and report covers to present your trade show materials in the most professional way possible. A stapled report will often get tossed after a presentation is over, but something with a protective or decorative cover will be kept for later reading.
3. Writing Implements
Some of the most frequently forgotten trade show materials are writing implements! Yes, of course you can walk through the other booths and grab a pen from someone else's table, but do you really want to sign papers while brandishing someone else's logo? Stock up on pens and highlighters for the booth, with extras for the employees attending. Order extra writing implements with your company's logo on them and pass them out as promo items.
4. Extra Power
Don't rely on the venue for all of your electricity needs. Packing one or two extra power strips and extension cords will give you the peace of mind of knowing that all devices will be powered up during a presentation or at your booth. Include charging cords for all your electronics, too. Note that it's a good idea to label all of your electronic cords and power strips with the name of your company — otherwise, someone might assume they belong to the event venue and hand them over to venue organizers by mistake.
5. A "MacGyver" Kit
The most important of all trade show materials is an emergency box filled with the random items that one wouldn't immediately think to pack on a work trip, but actually come in the most handy. Your kit will be tailored to your business's unique requirements, but a few ideas include twist ties, scotch tape, scissors, duct tape, and blank stick-on labels.
6. Multi-Pocketed Travel Bags
Sure, you can toss everything into a rolling suitcase, but how you pack it is just as important in travel as it is in shipping. Travel bags with lots of pockets will keep your items organized and safe from rolling into each other and breaking. Proper storage will also save space, allowing you to pack most, if not all, of the goods in one suitcase.
7. A List of Everything You've Brought
Once you've packed successfully for a trade show, make a list of every single item you're bringing. This will help prevent your team from forgetting anything at the venue after the show, and stop you from getting the nagging sensation that you're leaving something behind. After the show, keep this list safely stored away so you can access it when planning for future events.