Trade Show

What is a Trade Show?

A trade show is an event held to bring together people of a certain industry to display, demonstrate, and discuss their latest products and services. Major trade fairs normally take place in convention facilities in larger cities and last several days. Local trade exhibitions may be staged at a local arena or hotel and allow firms in the area to engage with prospects.

Since the objective 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 members to attend. Book Expo America, held yearly, is one show that exclusively admits publishing industry pros in, while the Consume Electronics Show, another big event, aims to confine participants to professionals in the electronics and technology areas. Conversely, SXSW (South by Southwest), held in Austin, TX, each year welcomes the public, as does America’s Largest RV Show, which restricts attendance to industry members for the first couple of days and then opens to the public for several more.

What Happens at Trade Shows

Trade exhibitions often provide:

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

Those that exhibit expect to meet new customers, strengthen existing ties with dealers and distributors, and network with industry leaders and the media during their time at the show.

At trade exhibitions, attendees learn about the latest items that are being introduced, can take advantage of special “show discounts” offered by exhibitors, and can gain a deeper understanding of their sector.

What it Will Cost You to Take Part

However, while the cost of exhibiting at or attending a trade show can vary widely, average fees can range into the hundreds of dollars and include the following:

  • Exhibitors
  • Rental of a booth space
  • A professional showcase space was created through design and production.
  • Shipping of the booth and its associated equipment
  • Drayage costs are the costs associated with unloading a booth and moving it into the exhibit flow.
  • Travel and lodging expenses for the employees who will be working the booth
  • Marketing materials that are specific to the event are available.
  • Items such as samples or promotional materials are distributed.


In contrast, attendees incur expenses, though they are a fraction of the costs associated with exhibiting at a convention.

  • There is a charge to attend.
  • Travel and lodging expenses for those who will be in attendance

Consequently, smaller businesses frequently choose to just attend a trade show and network with the captive exhibitors rather than investing in a stand of their own.

  • Trade Show Locations That Are In Demand
  • Some of the major convention centres in the United States are located in the following top ten locations:
  • McCormick Place is located in Chicago, Illinois.
  • The Orange County Convention Center is located in Orlando, Florida.
  • The Las Vegas Convention Center is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • The Georgia World Congress Center is located in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The Sands Expo and Convention Center is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Kentucky Exposition Center is located in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is located in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Reliant Park is located in Houston, Texas.
  • Cleveland, Ohio’s International Exposition Center (IEC)
  • Convention Center at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas

If a company returns from a trade show with a list of prospects, orders, media mentions, or relationships, they should consider their presence successful.