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The History of Trade Shows – Where it All Started

Trade shows have long been an important part of the way we market services and products to the public and other business owners. But, how did trade shows begin, and what made them so popular? Knowing the history of trade shows can help you to better understand this promotional method and give you insight into how you can make your trade show exhibit more appealing.

In the Middle East, bazaars have been held for centuries. Local merchants came to a central meeting place and showcased artisan and edible goods. These days, a bazaar is an open marketplace within a permanent structure where products are sold or exchanged. There were also a number of smaller meetings that were held in various parts of the world that were precursors to trade shows. The meetings were relatively small and were often conducted outside. Later, the trade show was held in what would now be considered a convention center in a busy city that would serve as a hub for professionals who wanted to make sales and connections with other businesspeople to form lucrative relationships.

The Great Exhibition is considered one of the first trade shows, and it was held in May 1851. The objective of the event was to show all the world’s best products in one place. Central London’s Hyde Park was the place where the Great Exhibition was held. There was even a venue built especially for the Great Exhibition known as the Crystal Palace. The location was taken down after the show but was moved to South London where it remained until 1936.

The Great Exhibition’s opening ceremonies were held by Queen Victoria and the trade show went on for much longer than modern events. The Great Exhibition lasted for five months and about 6 million people traveled to see all the show had to offer.

The first trade show wasn’t niche-specific and featured several a number of products, including musical instruments, pottery, fragrances, and machinery. It’s also important to note that the idea of a large trade show table or exhibit has been around for quite some time. Elaborate tables were a huge part of the first trade show, and appearances from celebrities and well-known business owners have long been part of what makes trade shows more appealing.

During the late medieval period, trade shows remained popular, since merchant capitalism was common. Craftsmen and farmers would travel from place to place to display their goods in markets that were mainly outdoors. This became pretty common during the 1700s in North America and Europe.

While many aspects of trade shows have changed over the years, it’s pretty clear that face-to-face marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of consumers and encourage word-of-mouth marketing. When it comes to taking a modern approach to a trade show, be sure to advertise the event well in advance on your website or social media pages so you can attract more people to the event to help your business grow.

Five Top Trade Show Cities in the U.S.

Now that you and your team have decided to attend trade shows more often, you’ll need to know which cities have the best trade shows so you can make suitable travel plans. Here are some of the best cities to travel to if you want to make sure your company is a noticeable presence at trade shows.

 

Las Vegas

This city has long been a top trade show destination. Between the years of 2010 and 2012, Las Vegas held more shows on the Top 250 trade show list for Trade Show News Network than any other U.S. city. During this three-year period, Las Vegas held the biggest trade show in America. The city attracts millions of visitors regularly, so when you attend a trade show, there are plenty of other attractions in the city to make the trip worthwhile. It’s cheap to fly into the city and it’s likely you’ll find affordable hotel packages. There is also an infrastructure in the city that makes the city a prime location for large events.

 

Orlando, Florida

This sunny city is ranked second in Trade Show News Network for the number of trade shows held. The venues offer lots of space and there are several LEED-certified centers. Many of the conference centers and hotels have more than 400,000 square feet, which means you can bring an elaborate trade show exhibit to show off all the best parts of your business.

 

Chicago

Chicago made the list at No. 3 for the most trade shows held by Trade Show News Network. The city is also home to McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center. There are more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, so you’ll have no trouble showing all your best products at the trade show table. McCormick Place was also the site of the second largest trade show in the United States in 2012. There are two airports in the city that are both close to downtown, which means there are lots of things to see and do in the city when your team isn’t working on trade show-related business. There are also lots of festivals and conventions going on in the city regularly, which can give you inspiration for how to be more creative for future trade shows.

 

Denver

If your company sells snow-sporting goods, Denver is the best place to attend a trade show. However, the city is also starting to become home to trade shows of various industries. Denver is also a beautiful city with lots of beautiful nature-centered activities and other appealing attractions. The Colorado Convention Center was the world’s first center to get the American Society of Testing and Materials sustainability standard with a level one certification.

 

New York City

The city that never sleeps has lots to see and do, and it’s an ideal city for trade shows. There are lots of venues in the city for marketing shows and people from various parts of the world visit New York often, which gives you the opportunity to learn about what you can do to appeal to international customers.

Top Trade Show and Exhibit Magazines

Whether you’ve been attending trade shows for a few years or you’ve just decided to go to your first trade show, there are several places to get the information you need to make sure you’re prepared. Reading a few publications that are geared toward exhibit and trade shows will let you know which trends you should be aware of and offer insight for reaching out to attendees and making them customers. Here are a few magazines that could provide the details you need to make your next trade show a success.

 

Meetings and Conventions

This magazine focuses on helping you plan your trade show exhibit and making sure you have all the necessary components to grab the attention of attendees. You’ll also get the information you need to reduce your stress while you’re organizing your trade show and there are spotlight articles on popular event planners and experts, so you can learn about their experiences and be inspired by their successes. Meetings and Conventions also provides practical tips for traveling so you and your team can arrive at your trade show destination safely.

 

The Trade Show News Network

The Trade Show News Network (TSNN) will let you know what’s new in the trade show industry on a weekly basis, so you’ll learn about the technologies and digital programs that will make your trade show booth one of the most appealing at the trade show. You’ll get coverage on major shows and expos, so you can see which companies are the most prominent at these events. There are also details on new software and the benefits the software can bring to your business before and after a trade show. TSSN also offers details on popular trade show venues and convention centers, and the steps these establishments are taking to make trade shows more technologically sound and eco-friendly.

 

Event Marketing Magazine

If you’re looking for ways to promote your trade show and get people interested in attending, Event Marketing Magazine can be a great resource. The publication also offers tips on how to be effective when it comes to face-to-face marketing, and you’ll get suggestions for how to use mobile marketing to maintain and improve the reputation of your company. Event Marketing Magazine is also a magazine you can refer to when you want to know more about how to handle the PR and marketing that comes with preparing for a trade show and reaching out to attendees after the event.

 

EXPO

This publication comes out 10 times a year, which means you’ll have a lot of opportunities to find out about the latest marketing and trade show trends in your industry. You’ll find out about new marketing and promotional items on the market and find out all the creative and innovative ways you can generate revenue before, during, and after a trade show. There’s also a wealth of organizational tips that help you prepare for trade shows and marketing events, as well as case studies that can give you a better understanding of what works for trade shows.

The Age of Digitization and What That Means for You

The digital age and technology are a huge part of the way we do business these days, so you will need to figure out the ways to make these principles work for you. Offer services to your customers and make your trade show booth more exciting and interactive. By doing this, you will boost the chances that attendees will remember your company after leaving the trade show. Here are a few trade show additions that will show potential customers you’re aware of their digital needs.

 

Online Demos

A large screen with an online demo at the front of your trade show table will grab the attention of attendees right away. You can even make the demo interactive by programming it to prompt attendees to swipe to the next screen or press certain parts of the screen that make the demo animated. This will make your exhibit memorable and sends the message that you are up to date with technological trends.

 

Charging Station

A charging station is a great addition to your trade show exhibit since it is very convenient for attendees. Most people spend a great deal of time at trade shows and are likely taking pictures or recording videos on their phones. This takes up a lot of battery life, so if you offer a charging station, attendees can replenish the batteries on their mobile devices while you explain all the benefits of your products to them. You can also have tables set up at the charging station with short videos that explain the nature of your company and include all your contact information in case attendees want to get in touch with you after the show. It’s also a good idea to have chairs or a small couch at the charging station if space permits to make the area more comfortable for attendees.

 

Live streaming

Live streaming the action from your trade show booth is a great way to get people interested in your company, even if they are not able to attend the trade show. This feature also gives attendees who are present the ability to provide reviews on your products and services. When people hear from the attendees themselves about what you have to offer, they are more likely to get in touch with your company and inquire about becoming customers.

 

Social Media Interaction

Even before the trade show, you can get in touch with current and potential customers through social media. Announce that you will be attending the trade show and encourage people to come to your booth and check out what you have to offer. You can also ask your social media followers which features they’d like to see at future trade shows and ask them to rate your products and services. If you’ll be debuting a new product at the show, post a few teasers on your social media pages to build anticipation so that attendees will have something to look forward to when they come to your trade show exhibit.

The History of Trade Shows – Where it All Started

Trade shows have long been an important part of the way we market services and products to the public and other business owners. But, how did trade shows begin, and what made them so popular? Knowing the history of trade shows can help you to better understand this promotional method and give you insight into how you can make your trade show exhibit more appealing.

In the Middle East, bazaars have been held for centuries. Local merchants came to a central meeting place and showcased artisan and edible goods. These days, a bazaar is an open marketplace within a permanent structure where products are sold or exchanged. There were also a number of smaller meetings that were held in various parts of the world that were precursors to trade shows. The meetings were relatively small and were often conducted outside. Later, the trade show was held in what would now be considered a convention center in a busy city that would serve as a hub for professionals who wanted to make sales and connections with other businesspeople to form lucrative relationships.

The Great Exhibition is considered one of the first trade shows, and it was held in May 1851. The objective of the event was to show all the world’s best products in one place. Central London’s Hyde Park was the place where the Great Exhibition was held. There was even a venue built especially for the Great Exhibition known as the Crystal Palace. The location was taken down after the show but was moved to South London where it remained until 1936.

The Great Exhibition’s opening ceremonies were held by Queen Victoria and the trade show went on for much longer than modern events. The Great Exhibition lasted for five months and about 6 million people traveled to see all the show had to offer.

The first trade show wasn’t niche-specific and featured several a number of products, including musical instruments, pottery, fragrances, and machinery. It’s also important to note that the idea of a large trade show table or exhibit has been around for quite some time. Elaborate tables were a huge part of the first trade show, and appearances from celebrities and well-known business owners have long been part of what makes trade shows more appealing.

During the late medieval period, trade shows remained popular, since merchant capitalism was common. Craftsmen and farmers would travel from place to place to display their goods in markets that were mainly outdoors. This became pretty common during the 1700s in North America and Europe.

While many aspects of trade shows have changed over the years, it’s pretty clear that face-to-face marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of consumers and encourage word-of-mouth marketing. When it comes to taking a modern approach to a trade show, be sure to advertise the event well in advance on your website or social media pages so you can attract more people to the event to help your business grow.