Event Planning Timeline

Four Months Out

  • Select staff.
  • Make airline and car reservations.
  • Determine exhibit needs (if using existing properties): refurbishments, additions, changes.
  • Select display products.
  • Plan inquiry processing procedures.
  • Communicate with primary vendors (exhibit house, shipping, installation/dismantle) regarding services needed and dates
  • Develop floor plan for exhibit.
  • Finalize new exhibit design.
  • Execute show-related advertising.
  • Meet deadlines for free publicity in the exhibitor guide/preview.

Three Months Out

  • Carefully read and review exhibitor manual.
  • Select portable exhibit supplier.
  • Review exhibit floor plan and note target dates and restrictions.
  • Plan any in-booth presentations/demonstrations.
  • Create list of required services, noting deadlines for “early-bird” discounts.
  • Distribute show plan to staff.
  • Reserve any additional meeting rooms (hospitality events, press conferences, etc.)
  • Select catering menus (for hospitality events, press events, etc.)
  • Submit authorization form if you are using an exhibitor-appointed contractor.
  • Plan pre-show meeting.

Two Months Out

  • Preview new custom exhibit.
  • Finalize graphics art/copy.
  • Order staff badges.
  • Send information to other departments exhibiting in booth.
  • Create and order lead forms. Finalize inquiry processing procedures.
  • Prepare orders for: drayage, electrical, cleaning, floral, etc. Take advantage of any pre-pay discounts.
  • Follow up on all promotions, making sure everything is ready to ship by target date.
  • Prepare press kits.
  • Check with staff on airline and hotel reservations and travel dates. Make needed changes.
  • Develop briefing packet for booth staff.
  • Schedule training for booth staff at show.
  • Send reminder to upper management about briefing meetings (in office and at show); include agenda.

One Month Out

  • Follow up on shipping orders.
  • Follow up on installation/dismantle schedule; get an estimate on costs.
  • Call to reconfirm airline, hotel and car reservations. Make needed changes.
  • Follow up on target dates with all vendors.
  • Confirm availability of display products/literature.
  • Preview new portable display.
  • Send all needed materials by target shipping date to avoid express mail shipments.
  • Distribute briefing packet, including training materials, to all booth staffers.
  • Set up and hold pre-show briefing meeting in office.
  • Set up in-booth conference room schedule for pre-arranged meetings at show.
  • Send follow-up reminder to upper management about briefing meeting, include agenda.
  • Determine date and time for briefing staff at the exhibit. Review agenda, purpose of show, demonstrations, rehearsals, show specials, etc.
  • Ensure that you have the following items before leaving for the show: important phone/cell numbers, traveler’s checks, credit cards, copies of all orders and checks for services paid in advance, phone numbers and addresses of all vendors, engineering certificate for exhibit, shipping manifest, return shipping labels, and additional badge forms.

Upon Arrival

  • Check on freight arrival.
  • Check with hotel about reservations for staff, as well as any meeting rooms and catering orders.
  • Find service area. Meet electrician and confirm date and time for electrical installation.
  • Supervise booth setup.
  • Hold pre-show briefing and training for staff the day before the show.

During Show

  • Reserve next year’s space.
  • Conduct daily meetings with staff.
  • Make arrangements for booth dismantle and shipping.
  • Arrange for lead forms to be shipped back to office daily for processing.

After Show

  • Supervise booth dismantle.
  • Handle leads.
  • Debrief staff.
  • Send thank-you notes.


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