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How to Choose Your Next Trade Show Partner

Exhibiting at trade shows, conferences, and events can often be an overwhelming and intimidating prospect, especially for companies with limited experience in this area. The planning, strategy, and logistics involved can be a confusing maze to navigate, let alone traversing booth design and fabrication.

Fortunately, you don’t have to undertake the mammoth task all on your own. Trade show services companies are a fantastic option for those looking for professional guidance before, during, and after events. Imagine having a trusted partner with a skilled team able to help you achieve the maximum return on investment. If it sounds great, that’s because it is! However, not all partners are created equally – read on for the questions you should be asking to identify the right partner for your next trade show visit.

What type of support do you need?

Before looking at what your potential partner can bring to the table, you must first identify your own needs and expectations. Define the business goals and objectives you want to meet as well as the largest challenges facing your team. For example, if you feel that designing a unique trade show booth will be a problem, then filter your search to only target partners specializing in custom booth design. At Evo Exhibits, our team of expert designers can create anything from a completely custom booth, to a combination of custom and “kit” (or rental) elements. Either option will be tailored to your specific goals and needs.

Once you’ve completed the process of outlining your unique support needs, you should have a comprehensive checklist of requirements for your next partner that will help guide your decision-making moving forward.

How involved should your partner be?

In addition to identifying your needs, you should also decide how much of a role you’d like your next partner to take. Do you need pre-show and post-show support? What kind of resources do you expect during the show itself? Regardless of your expectations, be sure to look for a partner that can give your organization personal attention targeted to your defined goals. Ask questions about the resources that will be available to you and what you can expect at each step in the process. At Evo, our Discover. Create. Connect. process encapsulates a three-part system to provide you proper support from beginning to end.

Before you sign an agreement, make sure you address any issues about the expectations you have and what the partner is prepared to provide. Once a scope is agreed upon in a written contract, it can be difficult to negotiate extra help and you could end up in a difficult situation. By clearly outlining your needs and expectations, you’ll ensure your next partner is adequately equipped to serve your company the way you need.

How do they rate?

Do some background research on your next potential partner before placing your trust in their abilities. Use search engines, social media, forums, videos, and other avenues to learn about the company from unbiased sources. Reviews and testimonials are valuable resources to gather unbiased opinions from former customers.

You should also consider how the partner is viewed within the trade show services industry overall. Do they have a god reputation? Do they have a history of failed projects? Have they won any awards? This information can be a little trickier to come by, so be sure to research as much as possible to gather a holistic picture.

Lastly, keep your own industry in mind when choosing your next partner. Experienced trade show services companies tend to be knowledgeable about a wide variety of industries. Whether your brand exists in the kitchenware sector, oil industry, or gaming marketplace, your next partner should be familiar with the best practices for your specific industry.

Have you met them?

Meeting your potential partner face-to-face (preferably at their offices) is always a good idea. This will give you a valuable understanding of the company’s skill, professionalism, and overall fit as a partner. Unlike communicating over email or by phone, an in-person meeting allows you to pick up on details like body language and their demeanor in general. Do you see yourself working with them on a daily basis during the course of the event? Did they take the time to address your specific concerns or did it feel like a generic sales pitch? Ask as many questions as possible to gauge whether or not your visions align and what value they can add.

That said, finding a trade show partner in your local area isn’t always possible. Not a problem. Evo Exhibits serves companies all over North America (and beyond!) that attend trade shows all around the globe.

Whether it’s in-person, or on a phone call/online meeting, during your free Discovery meeting, you’ll have a chance to lay out all of your pertinent company information, strategic trade show program plans, and design must-haves and have-nots, to an experienced Evo team consisting of a dedicated Account Executive and experienced Exhibit Designer.

What types of exhibit solutions do they offer?

Depending on your needs and budget, your organization has a couple different exhibit purchasing options to consider:

  • Custom Rental: Building a trade show booth from scratch can be time consuming and expensive. So it’s a huge bonus if your partner includes custom rental options in their arsenal of services. At Evo Exhibits, we recommend custom rental options for companies that exhibit less than three times a year, have a yearly trade show exhibit budget, or do not want to deal with booth maintenance and storage. It’s the ideal direction for design flexibility as well.
  • Custom Purchase: Custom purchase exhibits are great options for companies that regularly attend tradeshows throughout the year. At Evo Exhibits, we recommend custom purchase options for companies that exhibit more than three times a year, have a larger capital budget, and prefer to let us handle storage and maintenance post-show.

How much do they cost?

In the end, it all comes down to the numbers – is the partnership a profitable investment? The price of investing in your next partner should bring in extra sales that are greater in value and streamline the overall process so your team is properly enabled to be successful.

Prior to signing any agreements, however, ensure you understand all charges. In an ideal situation, the price agreed at the beginning of the project would be final. Often times that is true. But if there are any contingencies that might result in additional costs, it’s important that you understand the impact this may have on your bottom line.

Another consideration is the distinction between the charges which are dictated by the trade show itself, such as material handling on-site, versus what is paid to your trade show partner, such as the cost of the booth hardware and graphics. A clear awareness of this topic can lessen the chances of any “surprise” charges at the end of the show.

Lastly, always remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Finding a balance between competitive pricing and quality service will have a big positive impact on the success of your future partnership, and thus, your next trade show visit.


Choosing the right trade show partner can absolutely make or break your next event. A poor partner may not be able or willing to support your specific goals. The right partner, however, will work with you to identify your objectives and create a unique strategy that’s on time and on budget.

If you’re struggling to decide on your next trade show partner, consider Evo Exhibits. We understand the ins-and-outs of the trade show industry, and are dedicated to making your next experience a success for your brand. We operate by first conducting an in-depth discovery process to identify our client’s unique goals. We then create a custom booth aligned to their brand and vision. Finally, we provide trade show support and follow-ups to identify opportunities for growth in the future. Interested in learning more? Connect with us today to see if Evo is the right partner for you!




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