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Planning a booth for a trade show is a project that often takes months, but sometimes a situation arises where you have to work within a much shorter time period. We recommend the following steps to help you prepare for a great last-minute trade show exhibit in a minimal amount of time.


Analyze the Show and Set Goals

Begin by calling the show management to secure your booth space. Make sure to find out the exact size of your space as well as where it is located and how much traffic you are likely to get. This is also a good time to ask about attendee and trade show data. All of this information is important in creating a booth most suited to attracting your target audience. During this phase, you should also set realistic goals for your participation in the show. Having your goals in mind while preparing not only helps focus the booth, but it also gives you a way to measure your success after the show and evaluate ways to improve next time.


Staff the Booth with Your Best People

When you are planning in a pinch, it is likely that details will slip through the cracks and your booth may not be at its best. Compensate for this by staffing it with the best people you can; if your staff know your company and products well, they can fill in any gaps missing in your display. Friendly, outgoing and engaging people are a huge benefit at any booth. Your staff should be ready to initiate conversations with show attendees and be enthusiastic about your company.


Review and Update Your Display

Figure out the essentials in your booth as you begin planning a display; this includes determining what display features will best communicate your message. Take a look at any banners, displays and other show graphics you have. Assess their condition and their relevance in the current situation, making sure anything they advertise is still applicable. If you must create new graphics, look for company artwork that you can reuse to create your design. Keep things simple, remember that you have limited time and creating new graphics tends to be time-consuming. Using the company logo, name and a background design can result in a smart display quickly. Once you have a booth design, create a plan for transporting your supplies to the trade show.


Order Additional Supplies

Plan to have something to give attendees to provide further information about your company. Flyers, business cards, brochures and catalogs are good options for marketing collateral. Adding QR codes can be a great idea, they allow attendees to quickly find more information about your products and will increase your website traffic. Always take more marketing collateral than you think you need; a good rule of thumb for business cards is to double your estimate.


Create Incentives

Plan something that will draw attendees to your booth. Giveaways, discounts, samples and raffles are great ways to attract attention. Choose products that represent your company and that people want to have, then consider asking for contact information in exchange. Offer discounts for purchasing products at the trade show, or offer existing customers discounts to bring friends to your booth.

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Spread the Word

Begin reaching out to your target audience before the show through social media, blog posts, local media, email and phone calls. Pick an aspect of the display that you are excited about and promote it in your advertising to give people a reason to stop by. Consider sending current customers wearable items with the company logo, such as hats or T-shirts, and offer a special gift if they wear them and visit your booth during the show. This tactic can increase the traffic at your booth as well as promote awareness of your company at the trade show.


Plan Your Strategy

Prepare a sales strategy beforehand and train your staff so that everyone working your booth will know what to say. This handy guide can help to train your booth staffers of the do’s and don’ts of the show floor. Remember that gaining new leads and contacts is a critical part of trade show strategy; you should always have an easy way for people to give you their information.


Review the Essentials

Go over all the details in the week before the show. It is easy to miss things when you are in a hurry, taking extra time to carefully review all your plans can greatly contribute to the overall success of your booth and save you last-minute headaches.



After the trade show is over, follow-up on the leads you gained by contacting booth attendees to thank them for visiting. Post an update about the show on your blog or social media. Finally, use the goals you set to measure the success of your booth and make notes about how to improve your performance in the future.


Planning a last-minute trade show exhibit can be stressful and overwhelming, but with Nimlok Louisiana, our team of trade show specialists are experts in helping you survive your next trade show—even if you’re crunched for time. With Nimlok as your trusted trade show partner, even last-minute exhibiting can be a successful experience!