Preparing for a big trade show coming up? Do you know what you need to bring?

Whether this is your first time behind the booth or you are a seasoned vet, there are the obvious things you need: all the signage, a bunch of business cards, all your hotel information, that kind of stuff. But what about the things you really need to bring, the stuff you may not have thought about?

There’s a lot more that goes into making a trade show great than just showing up. These four things will be sure to enhance your trade show experience, for yourself as well as the company you are representing.

Comfortable shoes

Some people spend quite a bit of time planning what they should wear to the trade show floor. Going for a more casual look? A company T-shirt with a pair of jeans or khakis will do the job. Want to be a little more professional? Then a collared shirt or blouse is probably the call. The one thing you may not think about is what goes on your feet.

You are going to spend most of your day at the show on your feet, whether you are standing at your booth or walking around the floor. Wearing shoes unfit for high mileage or that are otherwise uncomfortable can make a long day feel even longer! Make sure when you are packing your bag you bring two or even three pairs of comfortable shoes to help get you through the long trade show days of being on your feet.

Lots of merch

You are hopefully planning on bringing a lot of business cards with you to the show. But if you want to leave a longer lasting impression on the people you meet you may want to get a little more creative!

There is one guarantee in this world: people love free stuff! If you want to have a steady stream of visitors coming to your booth throughout the show, what better way to tempt them over than by displaying lots of fun and exciting merch? Tote bags, mugs, hats, pens, wristbands and shirts are just a few of the company-branded items you should consider bringing with you to hand out.

They’ll have their interest piqued and stop by for the merchandise, but they’ll stay, introduce themselves and have a conversation once you start telling them about you and your company. What they walk away with is sure to leave a longer impression too. After all, you are more likely to throw away a business card than a hat, right?

A plan

While this isn’t something you can physically bring with you, one of the most important things to have at a trade show is a plan. Ask yourself a question: “What is going to make this a successful trade show?” If you don’t have an answer, you don’t have a plan.

Going into any trade show, you should set goals for yourself and the group you are going with – goals that you can measure against to try and get the most out of the show. Quantify things like how many meaningful conversations you want to have and how many new quality contacts you want to walk away with.

You should also have a plan in place for following up with these new leads once the booth and signage are taken down and you head back to the office so they can become new sales and clients. Without a pre-, during and post-trade show game plan, what is the point of going?

Plenty of refreshments

Between working your booth and walking the floor it is easy for hours to go by in a flash, leaving you with missed meals. Not being able to eat or drink throughout the day can leave you with low energy and teetering on the point of becoming “hangry”, two things you may want to avoid when you spend the day shaking hands and making connections with possible customers.

Because you may not be able to find a moment to step away to the refreshments table for a bite, prepare yourself! Make sure you bring a handful of food, snacks and bottles of water with you for small bites throughout the day. If you bring extra, you can even be a hero for a weary trade show floor traveler in need!

Need some company merch to help take your upcoming trade show to the next level? Fuel Merchandise Group can deck you out with the perfect company-branded items to add fun and excitement to your booth and stick with your visitors long after the show.