What: Manage the exhibits space and solicit exhibitors, or manage an exhibits-management company
Who: Exhibits Chair and Exhibits Committee
When: Begin 18 to 24 months before the conference
10.1.22 - Tax Liability Resulting from Sales and Order Handling in Conjunction with Conference Exhibits
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Planning and managing conference exhibits is a challenge for most conference organizers. IEEE recommends that you hire an exhibit-management company to sell and manage your exhibit space if your conference has more than a few tabletop exhibits or has other complex requirements.
Many conferences hire an exhibit company.
The conference finance chair or treasurer prepares a detailed budget for the exhibition as part of the overall conference budget. The budget includes:
The exhibitor sales kit, also known as a prospectus, is important for marketing your conference. The information in the exhibitor prospectus will help you to attract and sign up exhibitors.
The prospectus may consist of:
Distribute the exhibitor prospectus at the previous year's conference. Many exhibitors plan their events more than a year in advance. Conference Web sites should also have information for potential exhibitors, including benefits and fees and the full prospectus.
The conference exhibits committee provides leads and direction to the exhibit-management company to solicit exhibitors. If you are not using an exhibit-management company, the conference exhibits committee also solicits exhibitors.
Select committee members who have extensive industry connections and knowledge so they can reach as many potential exhibitors as possible. Use industry magazines or similar topic conferences to identify potential exhibitors.
The exhibitor service kit has all the information an exhibitor needs to ship and set up their exhibits. The drayage company, if one is used, usually sends out the exhibitor service kit six to eight weeks before the conference, or it is posted on the conference Web site. The kit should include:
If you are not using an exhibits-management company, the exhibits committee manages the design and layout of the exhibit space. Planning for the exhibit space includes the following:
When calculating floor space, include space for registration, lounges, and other areas if they are part of the exhibit space. Find out if your conference space has any restrictions or guidelines regarding booth sizes, lighting, sign locations, and other exhibit-space details.
The conference exhibits committee manages the exhibit space during the conference.
Allow plenty of time for exhibitors to set up and tear down exhibits.
Host an exhibitor appreciation and feedback session on the last day of the conference.
You can support local educational or scientific institutions and governmental agencies by providing them with free exhibition space for educational displays.
When donating space, consider the following:
Show your exhibitors that you appreciate their support by promoting them on the conference Web site and materials.
IEEE is ready to help. If you have questions about managing exhibits, please contact IEEE Meeting and Conference Management (MCM).
Do you have other questions about organizing a conference? Please see IEEE Conference Organizer Contacts.
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Conferences provide an opportunity for technical professionals to share information and connect with each other.