Trade Show Planning | Where is the best show?

So, you’ve decided to exhibit at a trade show? Now you’re wondering, how do you go about finding one? Thankfully, there are many different ways to find the best trade show(s) for your organization.

There are several different trade show specific search engines available on the Internet. The Trade Show News Network (, Events Eye (, and The Tradeshow Calendar ( are just a few of the ones out there. You can search for upcoming trade shows on these websites and filter for your particular industry, geographical area, number of attendees, and/or number of exhibitors.

Some of these trade show search engines will link you directly to the trade show’s own website; others will want you to complete a free user account with them before linking you to the trade show website. Although that user account is free, you need to remember that by creating it, you have become a lead yourself. If you don’t want to become a lead, then you should be able to simply type the name of the trade show that interests you into a regular search engine (such as Google) and find your way to that particular trade show’s website, avoiding becoming a lead.

Utilizing a regular search engine such as Google may help you find trade shows you might have missed otherwise. If you type in your keyword along with a particular city or state, you may be surprised at what you find. You could also choose to take advantage of Google’s Email Alert function, which would send you an email each time something new appeared on the Internet featuring your key words.

If you are hoping to find an industry-wide trade show, then searching industry publications may help you find those types of trade shows. You could begin this search with the media corporation that publishes industry documents. (For example, which media corporation publishes your industry’s newsletters, etc.?) Look at the home page on the media corporation’s website and find a link called “Resources,” “Events,” or “Trade Shows.” By clicking on these links, you should find more trade shows listed there that might be of interest to you.

newconcepts_trussrental-resized-600What industry association does your organization belong to? Chances are good that the association sponsors at least one national trade show each year. If you visit the association’s website, look for links such as “Expo,” “Trade Show,” “Convention,” or “Conference” to find out where both regional and national trade shows are being held. Don’t forget that the association may have subgroups that should also have links on the parent association’s website. These subgroups may sponsor their own trade shows as well that would be worth investigating.

Two final places you may choose to search are convention centers or visitors bureau websites. These smaller meetings are ideal for meeting local clients, and there are a variety of instant display tools you can use, like table top displays, banner stands, and the like. If you already know where you want to exhibit, then searching that city’s visitors bureau or that particular convention center’s website will likely deliver the information you need to register for an upcoming event. As a plus, the visitors bureau will also be able to provide you information about the city itself, giving you ideas as to where you might want to entertain clients or prospective clients while in town.

So, if you’ve decided to take the trade show route, now you know you have many different search options available to help you find the best ones for your organization. And of course, if you’re looking for some trade show booth ideas, then head over to our main site,!

For more, check out trade show planning for newbies or our article on using technical services.

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