The first edition of The Profitable Trade Show by Michael Hough ...
is now sold out. But we are working on the next edition which we hope to publish in late 2004. Meanwhile, this web site provides practical, "how-to" information for all who produce face to face events such as exhibitions, trade shows and conferences.

Profit Tips
White Papers
Large Show Roundtable

Also Available

White Papers Index

W1 - All is Not Well

W2 - Sample of a Memo to Content Partners

W3 - Ten Commandments for Speakers

W4 - 100 Tips in 75 Minutes

W5 - All About E-Newsletters

W6 - The Other Two Legs

W7 - Five Mistakes Associations Make

W8 - 15 Attendance Promotion Tips

W9 - Ten Questions to Ask When Considering a Launch

W10 - 15 Cost-Saving Tips

W11 - 15 E-Marketing Tips

W12 - Strategic Review of a Show

W13 - Launching a New Event

W14 - Avoiding Attrition Penalties

W15 - The Case Against Audits

W16 - Co-location for Fun and Profit

W17 - Improving the Association Show

W18 - International Attendance Promotion

W19 - Helping International Visitors Obtain Visas

W20 - Fixing the Machine

Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum

Large Show Roundtable


15 Cost-Saving Tips

by Michael R. Hough

  1. Donít bring all your staff to the show. Instead, use local temps to cover certain on-site tasks such as floor management, conference operations, etc.

  2. But be sure to control temp costs by adjusting hours to actual needs (rather than pre-show estimates).

  3. Dial down the quality for the reception Ė such as providing wine/beer/snacks rather than open bar/shrimp.

  4. Order beverages on a consumption basis.

  5. Donít over decorate. Even if decoration is provided "free" by your contractor, trade this open checkbook for something more valuable Ė such as free or discounted I&D for sponsorships sold as a lump sum.

  6. Use the depressed economy to obtain price concessions from the venue and the hotels. For example, ask for another free move-in/move-out day or get more staff rooms at the headquarters hotel.

  7. Cut your direct mail budget by 20%. Mail to fewer but more qualified prospects and also reduce the size/cost of the pieces.

  8. Send all your materials in one shipment to the show and avoid those last-minute overnight shipments.

  9. Donít ship material cross country that can be created in the show city (such as printing the conference handouts).

  10. Save signs and complex graphics from year-to-year (donít date them).

  11. Install only half the telephone lines that are requested by your staff. Have only one unlimited toll line and put it in your locked show office.

  12. Do not provide any live Internet connections for speakers.

  13. Do not use expensive rent-a-speakers.

  14. Limit the number of staff who can order additional services on site.

  15. Finally, ask "is this really necessary?" before increasing a budgeted item.

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Michael Hough is an industry consultant and author of The Profitable Trade Show. He welcomes discussion on this topic at