5 tips to make the most out of downtime at trade shows

5 Tips to Make the Most out of Downtime at Trade Shows

We all want our trade shows to be busy, but inevitably there’s always going to be downtime.

For instance, the last day of a trade show is typically slower than opening day – and if you're a veteran to trade shows, you probably already know that the last few hours can be painful. But that doesn’t mean the game is over.

If you want to be more productive, make more connections and prospect new business, then I've got 5 tips to help you make the most out of downtime at your next trade show.

Your company made a huge investment to be here, so don’t let this time go to waste!

Ready to start thinking outside the booth?


Walk the Floor.

When activity slows, take the opportunity to walk around the show floor and network with fellow exhibitors and managers, competing and noncompeting alike.  You never know, they could be your future clients or you might work with them one day. Be friendly, engaging and strike up a genuine conversation. You’re all in the same boat with a bit of time to kill.


Ask Questions to Fellow Exhibitors.

Collectively the thoughts (and actions) of event managers and exhibitors can make or break a show. Now’s the time to get some intel.

  • What are their favorite shows?
  • Which events have been successful and which to avoid like the plague? 
  • Are they using vendors that they can’t live without? If so, ask away.

Never ask, never get. And of course, don’t be afraid to talk about your industry – even the smallest bit of new insight can make a difference with your business.


Are there Management Issues?

If you encountered service problems or event management issues, find out if other exhibitors experienced the same. Downtime provides a chance to actually think on your feet and brainstorm solutions. Perhaps you want to approach show management as a group and mindfully present your concerns. Groups can be more powerful at addressing issues not readily seen by management and there’s a chance that they might be more inclined to solve issues if other exhibitors are sharing the same challenges.


Was the Show a Major Success?

Find out about next year’s sponsorship options. Many times event organizers give discounts if you sign up early. You might also take this time and select a better booth location with more traffic. If you get the event organizer’s ear, ask about value add opportunities to help you stand out next year. Options to consider include additional signage, press mention, web presence, an option to speak on stage or even sponsoring a coffee break or charging station. Now’s the perfect time to start planning and making this connection in person is important so the powers that be can connect your name to your face (especially when you follow-up).


Reward Top Service.

Did the show staff go out of their way to help you?  Take a few minutes and reward help with a cash tip, coffee gift card, premium you didn’t give away – or even a T-shirt they might like.

Did You Find These Tips Helpful?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter For More!

Stay informed of the latest marketing trends and best practices, as well as the newest products to help promote your organization, and receive up to date news and special pricing.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.