IDEC Displays Blog

Wednesday November 22, 2017 11:44 AM

Insider Tips on How to Score Big at Top Boston Trade Shows

by Lauren Stickler

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The Boston Celtics’ current 16-game winning streak is epic, but it has not been a smooth ride. Some of those games have been real nail-biters, where players had to make split-second decisions and scramble to come back from behind for the win.

Likewise, exhibit managers have to jump through a lot of hoops, like choosing the right trade shows to exhibit at, selecting an exhibit partner to design their custom trade show display, meeting trade show deadlines and creating a memorable giveaway item to offer attendees. These are among the myriad decisions that exhibitors have to make every day to ensure a win on the trade show floor.

Choosing the Right Trade Show

In 2001, I was public relations director for the agency responsible for managing Mississippi’s marine fisheries and helped launch a seafood marketing program to promote Mississippi’s seafood industry. A centerpiece of the marketing plan was exhibiting in Boston at one of the top trade shows in the U.S., Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, at that time known as International Boston Seafood Show.

As a first-time seafood expo exhibitor, I can tell you that having a trade show planning checklist for the months leading up to, during and following that trade show was a real lifesaver. After securing our booth space, we partnered with an exhibit expert to create a portable trade show display with eye-catching graphics.

We developed and printed a book of Mississippi seafood recipes, contributed by our coworkers, which turned out to be a huge draw at our booth. As a result of exhibiting at that trade show, our brand and those recipes ended up in the hands of thousands of seafood professionals who would not have otherwise known about us.

This year’s seafood expo, which was held in March, drew more than 1,300 exhibitors from 40 countries and over 22,600 attendees, according to the show’s producer, Diversified Communications. So, if you’re considering exhibiting at Seafood Expo North America in Boston in 2018 or one of the other top trade shows in Boston and you haven’t reserved your booth space yet, you better hurry. Space is filling up fast.

Another major trade show in Boston, where more than 80 percent of the exhibitor booth space has already been booked is BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry. But, no worries. There are still booths available near the BIO Business Forum and other specialty areas. If you want to stand out with a custom exhibit, now is the time to contract with an exhibit company to begin the design process.

Top Trade Shows Coming to Boston

Here’s a look at some of the most popular trade shows in Boston scheduled for the first half of 2018:

  • Yankee Dental Congress, Jan. 24-28, 2018, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. New England’s largest meeting for professionals seeking high-quality dental continuing education, as well as dental products, services and resources. With nearly 27,000 dental professionals attending from across the U.S. and about 450 exhibitors, Yankee Dental Congress is the fifth largest dental meeting in the country.
  • Boston Wine Expo, Feb. 17-18, 2018, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center. An estimated 14,000 attendees and 450 exhibitors will participte in the event, which features more than 1,800 wines from over 200 wineries. This is a great exhibiting opportunity for companies offering products and services related to the wine industry such as wine accessories, wine art and preservation products, wine racks, wine serving accessories and more. The event also conducts interactive seminars and celebrity chef demonstrations.
  • New England Food Show 2018, Feb. 25-27, 2018, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Another epic exhibiting opportunity, the trade show drew 15,000 visitors in 2017 and 250 exhibitors. The event’s exhibitors, suppliers of the foodservice industry, showcase a range of food services industry-related equipment such as, food products, beverages, uniforms and technological services, cleaning tools, food menus, hotel supplies, plastic and paper products, computer accessories and point of sale equipment. You’ll also find furniture, accounting systems and financial services. According to the National Restaurant Association, the show’s producer, 86 percent of attendees have purchase influence at their operation.
  • Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, March 11-13, 2018. A leading trade event for seafood buyers in every market category including retail, restaurant, catering, foodservice and processing. 83% of those surveyed say they are involved in or influence purchasing decisions and 75% of visitors say they intend to purchase as a result of attending. Seafood Expo North America’s Key Buyer Program attracts over 500 Key Buyers to the exposition. Key Buyers include high-volume seafood purchasers in multi-unit retail and foodservice establishments.
  • BIOMEDevice Boston 2018, April 18-19, 2018, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, connects exhibitors with over 4,000 engineers and executives — as well as more than 400 leading suppliers — across New England’s design and manufacturing industry. In partnership with the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC), BIOMEDevice Boston is an end-to-end industry showcase. From contract manufacturing to components, this show is the place for sourcing the products and services you need to develop the next generation of medical devices.
  • BIO International Convention, June 4-7, 2018, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry, attracting the biggest names in biotech. hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), which represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the U.S. and in more than 30 other nations. An estimated 16,000 attendees from 74 countries and 1,800 exhibitors will attend the event, The trade show features the latest trends, technology, and innovations in biotechnology and pharma. More than 300 academic institutions including the major research labs and government agencies, as well as leading consultants and service companies will also be there.

Exhibiting, like playing basketball, is not for the faint of heart. You’ve got to stay alert, move fast and think on your feet. Do the legwork to find the show that is the best fit to help you elevate your brand and then follow a game plan like the one outlined in the ultimate trade show planning checklist and you may be well on your way to a winning streak.


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