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


Ten Questions to Ask When Considering a Launch

by Michael R. Hough

  1. Does the show have a truly unique rationale? That is, does it fill a need that the market wants but which no other event does?
  2. Has anyone else tried the idea? If not, why not? If yes, are they succeeding and if they are, what makes you think you will also succeed?
  3. Is the "community of interest" (or universe) large enough to support this show? As a rule of thumb, about 1% of the show’s universe can be enticed to attend.
  4. Likewise, is the potential size of the exhibit large enough to generate a sufficient profit? In general, a 200-booth show only breaks even; it takes a 500-booth show to really start making money.
  5. Can you identify (and reach) the community of interest? That is, are there lists or other sources that you can access?
  6. Have you chosen a location/time of year that serves the unique needs of the market?
  7. What do the bellwether exhibitors think of the idea? More important, will they put down a deposit for a booth?
  8. What do the industry leaders (associations, magazines, gurus) think of the idea? [Note that some will oppose it because it is competitive with their agenda while others will voice their support only to please you. You must read between the lines to divine their true sentiment.] Also, will these industry leaders appear on your conference program?
  9. Do you have the long-term resources (staff and financial) to make the idea work? Especially in these times, it will likely take 2 to 3 years to have a successful show.
  10. Have you set go/no go hurdles at predetermined points so you can make an objective decision to kill it if it is not succeeding?

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