Get in touch

Creative Solutions Direct

Your Exhibition Checklist + Downloadable PDF Guide


Your Exhibition Checklist + Downloadable PDF Guide


Your Essential Exhibition Guide from the Experts

Preparing and planning for an exhibition can be daunting, but also creative and collaborative! It involves bringing together a number of different disciplines and departments in your organisation ranging from decision-making, design, marketing and staffing. With so many moving parts to consider, careful and methodical preparation is required in order to ensure a smooth and successful event. There is a lot to think about before, during, and after the event, and its easy to overlook game-changing elements. We have written this essential checklist to help guide you through the process, from booking your stand, to evaluation after the exhibition.

We have also put all this information into a handy downloadable PDF guide to print, share and add important meetings and milestones to your calendar.

Your exhibition and trade show planning schedule, meetings, collaborations, travel plans, merchandise, giveaways, printed stationary, budgets and post-event evaluation criteria — all in an easy to follow step-by-step guide.


So you want to Exhibit at a Trade Show or Exhibition Hall

Exhibitions and Trade Shows offer a multitude of benefits for both personnel/staff as well as the business and organisations they are a part of. From soft-skills, confidence, teamwork, fluency and product and service knowledge; as well as brand awareness, competitor research, meeting a customer need, networking, connecting with an in-person audience and an additional sales platform - Exhibitions are brilliant. However, they can also be costly and time consuming. Make sure the risk/benefit and environment is analysed properly beforehand to minimise these costs, and maximise your time management and inevitable success!


First up, you want to greet your team or manager with a viable pitch for your exhibition. Research the environment and relevant shows for your industry or sector. Can you cross-pollinate at a different type of show? What does your target audience want to see and where are they? Just as there’s usually nothing to gain by instinctively standing every show that comes around, it’s also not always helpful to target only the biggest-brand-name shows, expos and exhibitions. Research all options before shortlisting shows of interest, ultimately narrowing things down to ideally-suited events. Also add researching past events, competitor line-ups, promotions so you can know what to expect at the expo and so on.


You do not have to spend a small fortune putting on a good show, but in the same breath, you cannot expect a stellar exhibition for peanuts. Every cost needs to be considered. Remember to consider the size of your stand, its location in the expo (bigger stands in high traffic areas will cost more than smaller stands at the edges) transportation, overnight accomodation if needed, marketing materials, giveaway items, staff stationary, staff payment, your stand elements (graphics and accessories), design and printing, and also your time. Start to create a loose plan and allowance to give you your overall budget requirements.

Deciding on your Exhibition Stand and Location

You've got your research and your Budget outline to hand, now think about what type of stand you want.


Shell scheme is a term commonly used in the exhibition industry. It's the most common type of stand or booth that exhibitors are assigned when you book a space at an exhibition. To put it simply, a shell scheme consists of a box-style design supported by vertical aluminium poles, held together by aluminium cross poles at the top and bottom, and normally come in meter breaks (3m x 2m, 4m x 2m etc.). Whilst very basic in their nature, there is a lot that can be done to transform a shell scheme without spending too much. We've got a whole blog on Shell Schemes and how to make them look good here.


Most exhibition halls and trade shows will have a shell scheme exhibition layout with multiple sizes and locations to choose from. For some shows and outdoor events you'll be offered allotted spaces marked with tramlines, tape, or rope. These will call for most if not all of your exhibition accessories and features to be freestanding. You can explore the realm of banner stands, modular systems, flags, gazebo's and even pop-up displays to kit out your space. Nothing is off limits and even shell clad systems can be rented if you're set on getting wall panel graphic prints.

Involve The Team

Now is a good time to have a meeting with all strategic parties and exhibition staff. Your manager, sales and marketing team should be included. This is a discussion to talk about what the exhibition is going to look like, your stand and your general strategy for the next steps.



  • What product or service are you exhibiting?
  • What's your USP or 'big push'?
  • New Product or Service?
  • Offering a Show-Only Discount / Offer?
  • Demonstrations / Free Trials / Testers


  • Discuss a Design Brief for your Designer (your Graphic Designer, or us!)
  • Discuss and choose from the Exhibition Map the stands you have chosen using your research.
  • Discuss your budget, and extra factors for your stand (Lighting, Furniture, Accessories, AV equipment, Graphics, Meeting Area, Expenses, Travel etc.)
  • Does your stand need storing or transportation?


  • How are you going to capture data/discussions/client contact details? (QR Codes, Email, Social Media etc).
  • How are you going to follow up leads?
  • What are your KPI's and Metrics for success?
  • What's your Marketing Push? - Marketing your presence at the event.


  • Does your stand proposal meet safety requirements?
  • Do you have insurance?
  • Do you need security or night sheets?
  • Does the Exhibition/Event Manager have any safety requirements you must follow?

9 - TEAM

  • Decide your Exhibition Team (are they knowledgeable, experienced, approachable etc.)
  • Discuss and create stand rota if multi-day event
  • Is branded clothing required?
  • Is accomodation and transport required for them?
  • Do they have any personal requirements?

Implementing and Organisation

From your meeting, you should have covered a lot of ground and made decisions for the next steps. If you are prepared and have answers to all of the above, start ticking off those pre-event objectives. You should now be able to move forward and complete the following:


  • BOOK YOUR EXHIBITION STAND! - the sooner the better to not lose out. The best exhibiting spots at the top shows sell quickly, so plan well ahead of time.
  • Start thinking about the features and elements you want on the stand in line with your discussed budget.
  • Get in touch with your in-house graphic design team or us with your design brief and vision for your stand. The measurements for any graphic display should be detailed in the paperwork from your stand booking, or on individual products you have selected. Don’t forget to include important elements, like lighting, furniture, counters, AV equipment. We can advise you on all these features too.


  • Review all requirements and deadlines, making sure you carefully read all of the small print.
  • Implement into your stand any safety requirements and legalities you must follow.


  • Book hotel rooms and transport if required
  • Create name badges / lanyards
  • Order business cards (250-500)
  • Create a team brief - exhibition goals, lead targets, dress code, stand rules, etc. from your last meeting.


  • Promote your attendance at the event on your website and through your marketing content platforms.
  • Promote on social media - you can even make an event to gather information of your followers who are also attending!
  • Notify your clients and prospects that they can see you there.
  • Create a press release, be it a blog/case study or printed piece to distribute.


  • Decide on your extras, giveaways and merch!
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to think about these, speak to your sales team for input, and get them ready in advance.
  • Giveaways work well and can be anything that fits your brand from mugs, stationary, gift cards, teddy bears, testers and samples, branded food, swag bags, socks, hats, bank chargers, card holders, to trolley tokens.


  • Plan and organise how you will get everything to AND from the event venue. Note set-up and dismantle times.
  • Note Artwork and Show guide deadlines.
  • Is your kit compactible, can a colleague or courier service drive it? Does it need storage prior and after the event? Do you need to hire a van?
  • There's a solution for every budget, we also offer a storage option, and can discuss these logistics with you.

Getting your Stand Ready

Its time to get Creative! (no pun intended). Designing your stand needs time and experience, we highly recommend speaking to an expert to explore all your potential possibilities. We've got a great guide to designing exhibition stands to help get you started. 


Once you and your team are happy with the graphics and hardware you have ordered for your stand, sign-off so production can start. Most printers will need 5-7 working days after sign-off to prep materials and get the printers going!

During busy event seasons (Jan-Aug) allow yourself as much time as possible to avoid any last-minute delays or changes.


Make sure you are all aware, up to date and acknowledge the objectives of the exhibition show. Open-ended questions to engage visitors, and then knowledge to tackle difficult questions is key to looking approachable, engaged and professional.

Pass over any boarding passes, travel itineraries, logistics and time charts.


Go back to all involved parties, your contractors, printers, delivery team, transport and couriers and confirm all arrangements you have made. If you're travelling or setting up the stand yourself, make sure you have planned your route, times, and especially how long it takes to set-up, how far you need to get your kit from your car to the stand, power outlets, exhibition furniture and can you carry it yourself. Every show is different! But these small things will catch you up if you don't prep ahead.

Show Time!

Great pre-planning and logistics should mean this is the easiest part of the whole journey. You've got everything you need from your kit, objectives, to your team. Exhibitions and Events can be stressful, they are full-on, long, and no two people will be the same. They are however incredibly rewarding as a team-bonding experience and learning curve.


  • Take your contract and all your booking information.
  • Get a list of important Exhibition contact numbers, from the front desk, manager, security and safety teams.
  • Take a stand layout plan for easy set-up
  • Get an exhibition map for each of your team members
  • First Aid Box
  • Take a stationary box (cleaning materials, staplers, pens, scissors, tape measure, sellotape, hook and loop velcro etc.)


  • Get there as early as you are allowed, setting up early will give you time to make any on the day tweaks to your stand set-up and contact anyone for assistance.
  • Allow some time for you and your team to freshen up, and get a drink and some water before the show opens to the public. You'll need these little breather moments as the day will run away with you!


  • Your stand, team and merch are all looking brilliant. Relax, enjoy, work together and have a great event!
  • Remember - Creative Solutions have been servicing both event attendee's and the exhibition hall organisers for years, so we know both sides of the coin. We offer free, impartial on all aspects of eventing, your stand and all the bits in between. Give us a call to ask anything, we're here to help.

Post-Event Activity and Evaluation

The show doesn't stop when the final person leaves. As important as collecting customer feedback after a product or service sale, you now need to evaluate your activity and event itself to inform the next one - knowledge is power!


  • Schedule your lead follow ups after the event to touch base. This is best done within the first 3 days post-event to show interest and care.
  • Don't be afraid to ask them questions about your event set-up and team! Was your stand eye-catching, did they like the layout, did they feel engaged by a team member, did they seek you out or stray upon you.


  • Thank your team for their attendance and efforts at the event.
  • Evaluate the results against your objectives
  • Evaluate the results against your investment
  • Communicate with your team to get their own quantitative and qualitative feedback.


  • Thank the event host for having you.
  • You may also have a chance to review the event location, facilities, layout and aid given to you at the event if called upon.
  • Especially if successful and you wish to use that specific event, or venue again in the future, keep their contact details safe for future use.

If you are new to exhibitions, or are planning on doing a tour but don't have the storage for all decorations and resources, there are lots of options on the market for convertible units (storage to counter top) to allow you space saving tricks when its time to pack up.

We have worked with a full range of clients and businesses, so have lots of examples and product knowledge to let you know what would work well with your vision.

Exhibition Products

Posted by Samantha on September 6th 2023

Loading... Updating page...