Trade Show

What is a Trade Show?

A trade show is an event held to bring together members of a specific industry to display, demonstrate, and discuss their latest products, innovations and services. Major trade shows usually take place in convention centers in larger cities and last for many days. Local trade shows may be held at a local arena or hotel and allow businesses in the area to connect with prospects.

Since the purpose is to bring together members of the trade – or industry – most trade shows, which may also be referred to as trade fairs or expositions, only permit industry parts to attend.

The New York Times Travel Show is an excellent example of the biggest Trade show and Consumer Show in North America. It’s held in Travis Center in New York and has more than 30 000 participants. This is an excellent opportunity for the travel industry to participate and boost their business.

Trade Shows

What Happens at Trade Shows

Trade shows often provide:

  • Exhibit space
  • Evening networking events
  • Private exhibitor events
  • Awards presentations
  • Workshops or presentations
  • Opportunities to interact with the media

Exhibitors participate in the purposes of connecting with potential new customers, strengthening connections with sellers and distributors, and networking with influencers and the media.

Attendees come to trade shows to become familiar with the latest products being proposed, to take advantage of special “show prices” from exhibitors, and to become better educated about their industry.

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What it Costs to Participate

While the cost to exhibit at or attend a trade show differs significantly, everyday expenses can run into the thousands of dollars and include:


  • Booth space rental
  • Travel and accommodations for staff operating the booth
  • Marketing materials specific to the event
  • Samples or promotional items handed out
  • Design and production of a professional display space
  • Shipping of booth and equipment
  • Costs to unload cabin and move onto show flow called drayage
  • Travel and accommodations for staff operating the booth
  • Marketing materials specific to the event
  • Samples or promotional items handed out
  • Costs for electricity or Wi-fi


Attendees, on the other hand, also have expenses, but they are a fraction of what it costs to exhibit.

  • Attendance fee
  • Travel and accommodations for staff in attendance
  • Coffee breaks and lunch
  • For that reason, smaller companies often opt to visit a show and network with the restricted exhibitors, rather than setting up their booth.

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Popular Trade Show Venues

Some of the largest convention centers in the U.S. include these top 10 locations:

  • McCormick Place – Chicago, IL
  • Reliant Park – Houston, TX
  • International Exposition Center – Cleveland, OH
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center – Dallas, TX
  • Orange County Convention Center – Orlando, FL
  • Las Vegas Convention Center – Las Vegas, NV
  • Kentucky Exposition Center – Louisville, KY
  • New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – New Orleans, LA
  • Georgia World Congress Center – Atlanta, GA
  • Sands Expo and Convention Center – Las Vegas, NV

A company should consider trade show participation successful if they returned from a show with a list of prospects, orders, media collaborations, or connections.

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Trade Show was last modified: June 19th, 2019 by Mirjana
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