What Does a Trade Show Manager Do?

Helen Akers
Helen Akers
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

A trade show manager is directly involved in choosing trade show sites and ensuring that exhibitions increase profit levels. He or she will work to develop a budget, search for an optimal facility, negotiate government and vendor contracts, and advertise the exhibition. During the show, the manager will generally interact with both exhibiting vendors and potential buyers.

Prior to an exhibition, a trade show manager spends a lot of time planning how and when the show will occur. Trade shows are one way in which professional organizations and manufacturers market their products and services. The manager must consider the location, budget, and activities that will attract a variety of organizations and entrepreneurs. Exhibitions are typically specific to an industry or job function, such as candy manufacturers or clothing designers.

Perhaps the most important consideration is the facility in which the trade show will occur. It is also one of the largest budgetary expenses. The trade show manager needs to consider geographic location and facility features such as electricity and occupancy limits. In addition to securing a facility, the manager should look into any government permit requirements and the availability of local vendors.

Other factors that must be considered relative to the location include the ease of travel and of finding parking and overnight hotel accommodations. Once the location is chosen, a trade show manager begins to negotiate with city officials, facility management, and local vendors. The manager needs to make sure that the expenses are kept within budget, but that the best possible services are provided to the exhibitors participating in the show.

Companies need to be solicited to attend the trade show. A trade show manager is either directly involved in advertising the show to potential exhibitors or oversees this process. Without an adequate amount of exhibitors, the manager cannot recoup costs or have a reason to attract buyers. Promotional materials are designed, prepared and targeted to specific companies within the industry.

Once an adequate number of exhibitors is secured, a trade show manager must also attract potential buyers to the show. This is often accomplished by designing an advertising campaign that may involve a combination of heavy publicity and advertisements in a variety of media, such as radio and magazines. The manager is usually directly involved with the strategic planning of the advertising campaign.

During a trade show, the manager is responsible for ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible. He or she might be the one facilitating special trade show meetings and workshops. The manager could oversee social networking functions that occur before or after the show. He or she is also often actively engaging with both exhibitors and buyers on the floor.

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