Thinking of Heading to a Tradeshow This Year? Here’s How to Make the Most of It

Thinking of Heading to a Tradeshow This Year? Here’s How to Make the Most of It

Over the past few months, Yardline has been traveling coast to coast, hitting the tradeshow floor and meeting new sellers and potential partners. The networking and informational value of tradeshows is immense, and we hope you take advantage of the many events yet-to-come. However, we recognize that the uncertainty of 2021 may cause some to pause before snagging their tickets. To help you make the most of your tradeshow experience, here are five tips our team has developed from their time on the floor this year.

1. Book with an airline that allows for the greatest flexibility

While many shows are back in person, we’ve noticed some areas that are experiencing surges in COVID cases are shifting back to the digital or hybrid model.

Make sure your travel plans allow for easy changes. Certain providers such as United and Delta have extended their “no change fee” policy to allow you to book with confidence, but not every airline is so accommodating. Similarly, make sure to confirm your hotel and/or rental car cancellation policies.

2. Check the health and safety guidelines (for the event and the city)

Each show should supply its attendees with a copy of its health and safety guidelines. These are important not only to inform you about what the organizers are doing to keep you safe, but also to let you know how these precautions may impact your experience.

For example, at the recent RetailX event in Chicago, all attendees were required to wear masks in accordance with the city’s indoor mask mandate. Luckily, organizers and sponsors alike were able to supply attendees with masks if they forgot theirs. Depending on local mandates, proof of full or partial vaccination may also be required. When in doubt, send a quick email to the event coordinator to confirm.

3. Prepare for some great 1:1 time

Tradeshows are smaller this year than in previous years, meaning you’ll have ample opportunity for one-on-one conversations with vendors, more access to speakers, and more intimate networking opportunities. Take your time in the exhibit hall!

While larger scale events certainly have their own unique benefits, the limited capacity for tradeshows this year allows exhibitors the bandwidth to answer questions and engage with you in a way that was not possible in previous years.

4. Go with a goal

Define what you would like to achieve before you arrive. Are you evaluating new technologies? Looking for tips for industry leaders? Trying to solve a specific business challenge? Setting a clear goal ahead of time will help you to spend your time wisely once you hit the floor.

Many shows also offer matchmaking or pre-event scheduling for meetings. Take advantage of this concentrated time to pick the brains of leaders in the industry.

5. Have fun!

Tradeshows are a great opportunity to learn, but they are also amazing spaces to enjoy and engage with fellow entrepreneurs, create unlikely connections, and evangelize your business.

It is hard to unplug for a day or two, but make sure that if you are spending the time (and money) to attend a show, you commit your full attention to it. Pack your schedule and do your very best to respect your OOO message. Tradeshows are back and you (and your business) deserve to get the most out of them.

Not sure which tradeshows are coming up in your area? Check out our 2021 tradeshow guide for some great options and book a 1:1 with a Yardline team member to learn how we can help your business grow.