Skip to main content

How to Hold an Exhibition – Detailed Process and Planning

The process of planning an exhibition

1. The documentation of the preparatory stage of the exhibition:

The documentation refers to all the documents involved in the pre-preparation stage of the exhibition. The documentation covered from the confirmation of the exhibition theme, the collection of information, the planning of the exhibition until the official opening of the exhibition.

2. Types of Documentation:

Generally speaking, the documentation of the exhibition preparation stage includes the exhibition planning, feasibility study report, exhibition specification, exhibition recruitment plan, exhibition invitation letter, exhibition schedule, audience invitation letter, exhibition contract, exhibition work plan, budgeting, exhibition promotion plan, advertising, etc.

The second stage of the exhibition

1. Writing Plan of the “Exhibition Project Plan”

The concept of “Exhibition Project Plan

The so-called exhibition project plan is based on the various information being held and come out with the preliminary planning of the relevant exhibitions.

Designing the basic framework of the exhibition, and proposing the preliminary planning contents of the planned exhibition, including the name of the exhibition, location, exhibition organization, scope of exhibits, exhibition time, exhibition scale, exhibition positioning, recruitment plan, promotion to potential exhibitors, exhibition schedule, on-site management plan, related activity plan, etc.

The “Exhibition Project Plan” is a set of planning, strategy, and organizing a new exhibition. It is a summary of the above contents.

The content structure of the exhibition project plan:

The exhibition project plan mainly includes the following contents:

1. Analysis of the environment of the exhibition market which is including:

  • the analysis of the industry and market.
  • the analysis of relevant laws and policies of the country.
  • the analysis of the relevant exhibitions.
  • the analysis of the market where the exhibition is held.

2. Propose the basic framework of the exhibition, including the name and venue of the exhibition, composition of the exhibition organization, scope of the exhibits, exhibition time, the frequency of the exhibition, the scale of the exhibition, and the positioning of the exhibition.

3. Exhibition price and initial budget plan.

4. The division of the exhibition staff.

5, exhibition recruitment plan

6. The exhibition investment plan.

7. Exhibition promotion plan.

8. The exhibition preparation schedule.

9. The exhibition service provider arrangements.

10. Exhibition opening ceremony and on-site management plan.

11. Relevant activity plans held during the exhibition.

12. Exhibition settlement plan.

Writing requirements for the exhibition project:

1. Exhibition name

The name of the exhibition includes three aspects: the basic part, the limited part, and the industry logo.
For example, if the “24th Malaysia Export Goods Trade Fair” is seated according to the above three contents, the basic part is “trade fair”, the limited part is “Malaysia” and “24th”, and the industry logo is “export goods”.

Here are some explanations for these three contents:

The basic part: used to show the nature and characteristics of the exhibition, common words being used: exhibitions, fairs, trade show, roadshow and “expo”.

Limited part: used to describe the time, place and nature of the exhibition.

There are three ways to express the exhibition time:

First, it is expressed by “session”. The second is expressed by “year”, and the third is expressed by “season”.
For example:

  • The 3rd KLCC International Fashion Festival
  • The 2019 Malaysia Expo
  • The Tesco Consumer Goods Fair

In these three expressions, it is most common to use “the term” to indicate the continuity of the exhibition. Those just held their exhibitions for the first year are generally expressed in “year”.

It will also reflect the venue of the exhibition in the exhibition’s name, such as “KLCC” in The 3rd KLCC International Fashion Festival.

The words that reflect the nature of the exhibition mainly include “international”, “world”, “national”, “region” and so on. For example, “International” in the 3rd KLCC International Fashion Festival shows that this exhibition is an international exhibition.

Industry logo: used to indicate the theme of the exhibition and the scope of the exhibit. For example, the “clothing” in the 3rd KLCC International Fashion Festival indicates that this exhibition is an exhibition of the clothing industry. The industry logo is usually the name of an industry or a product category in an industry.

2. Exhibition Venue

Planning to choose the venue of the exhibition is including two aspects: First, where the exhibition is held, and second, which exhibition hall where the exhibition is held.

Planning to choose where the exhibition is held is to determine which country, province or city in which the show is held.

Planning to choose which exhibition hall to hold in the exhibition is to choose the specific location of the exhibition. The specific choice of which exhibition hall to hold the exhibition should be combined with the exhibition theme and exhibition positioning.

Besides, when selecting the exhibition hall, it is necessary to consider the cost of the exhibition hall. Whether the schedule is in line with your requirements, also what facilities and services are offered by the hall.

3. Exhibition organization

The exhibition organization refers to the relevant units responsible for the organization, planning, exhibition, investment, and promotion of the exhibition. The exhibition organization can be enterprises, industry associations, government departments, and news media.

According to the different roles of each unit in organizing exhibitions, the exhibition organization of an exhibition has the following categories: organizer, sub-organizer, co-organizer, and support unit.

Organizer: The organizer owns the exhibition and will assume the main legal responsibility for the exhibition. The organizer legally possesses the ownership of the exhibition.

Sub-Organizer: The sub-organizer that is directly responsible for the planning, organization, operation, and management of the exhibition and bears the main financial responsibility for the exhibition.

Co-organizer: Assist the organizer or sub-organizer to be responsible for the planning, organization, operation, and management of the exhibition. They are partially undertaking the responsibilities of the exhibition, investment, and promotion.

Supporting unit: Offering support to the exhibition organizer, sub-organizer, operation and management of the exhibition. They will also provide support to the exhibition organizer on the exhibition, investment, and promotion.

4. Exhibition time

The exhibition time refers to when the exhibition plan is held. The exhibition time has three meanings: First, it refers to the specific launch date of the exhibition. The second refers to the date of the exhibition’s preparation and dismantling. The third is the date the exhibition is open to the audience.

There is no standard for the length of the exhibition. It depends on the specific exhibition. The exhibition time for some exhibitions can be long. For example, the “Expo” exhibition period lasts for several months or even half a year. But for the professional trade exhibition that accounts for the vast majority of the exhibition, the exhibition period is 3-5 days.

5. Exhibit range

The scope of the exhibition’s exhibits should be determined according to the positioning of the exhibition, the advantages, and disadvantages of the exhibition organization and other factors.

According to the positioning of the exhibition, the scope of the exhibits can include one or several industries, or one or several product categories in the industry.

For example, the “exposition” and “trade fair” exhibit a wide range of exhibits, such as ” Malaysian International Furniture Fair “The range of exhibits is more than 10,000. For some exhibition, the scope of exhibits can be very small like the wedding fair which may only have less than 100 booths participants in the fair.

6. The frequency of the exhibition

The frequency of exhibitions refers to whether the exhibition is held several times a year or only once in a few years.

Judging from the actual situation of the current exhibition industry, the annual exhibitions are the most frequent one which accounts for 80% of the total number of exhibitions.

There are also many exhibitions held twice a year and once every two years. The exhibitions that are held irregularly have become lesser and lesser.

The determination of the frequency of exhibitions is subject to the characteristics of the industry. We know that almost every industry product has a life cycle, and the product life cycle has a major impact on the frequency of exhibitions.

The investment period and growth period of the product are the golden periods of the enterprise’s participation in the exhibition. The exhibition frequency of the exhibition must firmly grasp these two periods.

7. The scale of the exhibition

The scale of the exhibition includes three aspects:

  • The area of the exhibition.
  • The number of exhibitors.
  • The number of visitors to the exhibition.

When planning an exhibition, we must make predictions and plans for these three aspects.

When planning the scale of the exhibition, we must fully consider the characteristics of the industry. The number and quality of visitors will also limit the size of the exhibition.

8. Exhibition positioning

In layman’s terms, the orientation of the exhibition is to clearly tell the exhibitors and visitors about what you can expect in this exhibition.

Specifically, the exhibition positioning is based on the establishment of the exhibition organization according to its resource conditions and market competition. Through the development of differentiated competitive advantage of the exhibition, the exhibition will form a distinct and unique impression in the minds of exhibitors and visitors.

The positioning of the exhibition should clarify the target exhibitors and audiences, the goals, and the theme of the exhibition.

Read also: What is the Purpose of Having an Exhibition?

Exhibition Price and Initial Budget

The organizer needs to set a suitable price for the booth rental of the exhibition. The price of the exhibition booth often includes the price of the indoor and outdoor exhibition hall. The price of the indoor exhibition hall is divided into the price of the open space and the price of the standard level.

When formulating the price, it generally applies the principle of “excellent price and good price. The price of the booths that are having more exposure to the flow of visitors is often higher. The initial budget of the exhibition is to include all the expenses required to host the exhibition, and the revenues expected to be generated in the exhibition.

When planning an exhibition, it is necessary to determine a suitable price according to the market conditions, which is very important for attracting target exhibitors to participate in the exhibition.

10, Division of staff, recruitment, and promotion

The division of staff, recruitment, investment, and promotion are the specific implementation plans of the exhibition. These four plans will affect each other when they are implemented.

The division of staff is to coordinate and arrange the job responsibilities for the exhibition.

The recruitment plan is mainly to develop various strategies, measurements, and methods for attracting enterprises to take part in.

The investment plan is mainly to develop various strategies, measurements and methods to attract people to visit the exhibition.

The promotion plan is to establish the brand and image for the exhibition and help in investment promotion.

11. Exhibition schedule, site management, and related activity plan

The exhibition schedule is a unified arrangement for the exhibition, attract investment, promotion, and booth division. It clearly defines what work should be done at the stage of the exhibition’s preparation process until the exhibition is successfully held.

If the schedule of the exhibition is well arranged and executed, then the exhibition preparation can be carried out in an orderly manner.

The on-site management plan is a variety of planning arrangements that are aimed at the effective management of the exhibition site after the opening of the exhibition.

It generally includes the opening ceremony, exhibition management, audience registration, and the dismantling plan. As long as the on-site management plan is well arranged, the exhibition site will be in good order.

The exhibition-related event plan is a plan for preparing various related events to be held during the exhibition. The most common related events held in conjunction with the exhibition are technical exchanges, seminars, and various performances, which are useful in supplementing the exhibition.

Feasibility Study Report for the Exhibition Project

(1) The concept of “feasibility study report for the exhibition project

The completion of the “Exhibition Project Plan” does not mean that the exhibition of the project can be held. The project proposal is only a preliminary opinion on what kind of exhibition to hold and how to hold the exhibition, and it formulates a preliminary plan.

Whether the exhibition can really be held and whether the program is really feasible, it is also necessary to do a feasibility analysis on it.

The conclusion of the feasibility analysis and other factors need to take into consideration. Once everything been conducted, then only finally decide whether the exhibition can be held.

The “Feasibility Study Report on the Exhibition Project” is a research report completed based on the feasibility analysis of the project.

The feasibility analysis of the exhibition project is the continuation of the project planning of the exhibition. The project planning of the exhibition project is mainly based on the mastery of various information and initially proposes what the planned exhibition will be.

The feasibility analysis of the exhibition is based on a careful study of various information and an in-depth analysis of the exhibition. It is feasible to plan the exhibition and provide a scientific basis for decision-making whether to hold the exhibition.

If the exhibition project plan passes the feasibility analysis, it proves that the market conditions of the planned exhibition are available. This means the project has vitality and various implementation plans are reasonable.

If the project is economically workable, the risk is small and there are certain social benefits, then the exhibition can be passed.

(2) The content structure of the “Feasibility Study Report of the Exhibition Project

The “Feasibility Study Report on the Exhibition Project” shall provide a systematic assessment and explanation of whether the project is feasible or not. At the same time provide an improvement basis and recommendations for the final implementation of the project. Therefore, the report mainly includes the following items:

1. Market Environment analysis

Macro market environment: including population environment, economic environment, technical environment, political and legal environment, social and cultural environment.

Micro-market environment: including the internal environment of the exhibition organization, target customers, competitors, marketing agencies, service providers, and the public.

Market environment evaluation: SWOT analysis method, namely internal advantages, internal disadvantages, external opportunity, external threat analysis.

2. Analysis of the vitality of the exhibition project

Project development space: It is to analyze whether the industrial space, market space, geographical space, and policy space under which the exhibition is held are available.

Project competitiveness: including the appeal of the exhibition positioning, the brand influence of the exhibition organization, the composition of the exhibitors and visitors, the exhibition price, and the exhibition service.

Analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of exhibition institutions.

3. Analysis of the implementation plan of the exhibition

Evaluate the basic framework of the planned exhibition, including:

  • Whether there is a conflict between the name, scope, and the positioning of the exhibition.
  • Whether the exhibition time and frequency of exhibitions are in line with the characteristics of the industry in which the exhibits are located.
  • Whether the exhibition venue is suitable for holding exhibitions in the industry where the exhibits are located.
  • Whether it is possible to hold such a scale and positioning exhibition in the industry where the exhibition is located.
  • Whether the exhibition organizer can hold such a scale and positioning exhibition during the planned exhibition time.
  • Whether the exhibition organization is familiar with the industry in which the exhibition is located.
  • Is there a conflict between the positioning and the scale of the exhibition?

Recruitment and promotion plan evaluation

  1. Evaluation of the recruitment plan
  2. Investment plan assessment
  3. Promotion plan evaluation

Financial analysis of the exhibition project

  • Price positioning
  • Cost forecast

The cost of hosting an exhibition includes:

1. Venue fees. That is to rent the exhibition venues and the various expenses incurred. These expenses include venue rental, exhibition hall air-conditioning fee, floor special installation fee, standard floor construction fee, exhibition hall carpet, and carpet laying fee, booth overtime and other overtime expenses.

2. Exhibition promotion fee. Including advertising promotion fees, exhibition design, and printing fees, information mailing fees, press conference fees, etc.

3. Expenses for recruitment and investment.

4. The cost of the relevant activities. Including technical exchanges, seminar opening ceremony, guest reception, on-site layout, gifts, and the cost of temporary staff at the exhibition.

5. Office expenses and personal expenses.

6. Taxation

7. Other unpredictable expenses

8. Income Forecast

The income from holding an exhibition includes:

  • Booth fee
  • Ticket selling
  • Advertising and corporate sponsorship revenue
  • Other related income

9. Breakeven analysis

10. Cash flow analysis

11. Net present value analysis

12. Analysis of net present value ratio

13. Profitability index

14. The internal rate of return

15. Risk prediction

  • Market risk
  • Business risk
  • Financial risk
  • Risk of cooperation

Potential Problem

Including the various problems found in the exhibition project through feasibility analysis, and other problems discovered by the researchers outside the feasibility analysis that may affect the exhibition.

Improvement Suggestions

In response to something put the above problems, suggestions for improvement of the project planning for the exhibition project forward. Pointing out the direction in which the exhibition should be successfully carried out.

The Directions

To ensure the achievement of the purpose and the goals of the exhibition, it is required to view the existing problems based on the above analysis. It is necessary to set up other conditions and the direction that needs to be done.

Writing requirements for the “Feasibility Study Report of the Exhibition Project”

The “Feasibility Study Report of the Exhibition Project” is an important basis for the exhibition organization to decide whether to hold the exhibition. Therefore, the writing of the report must be true, sufficient, objective, scientific, rational, and accurate.

1. Market environment analysis

Market environment analysis is the first step of the feasibility analysis of the exhibition. It is based on the exhibition plan proposed by the exhibition project.

Based on the already available information, further analyzes and demonstrates to find out if the market conditions for the exhibition are available. Figure out if there are enough policy foundations and social foundations needed to hold the exhibition.

The market environment analysis not only studies on existing market conditions but also forecasts its future changes and development trends. The conclusions drawn from the feasibility analysis of the project are more scientific and reasonable.

The market environment analysis analyzes whether the conditions for holding the exhibition are based on the external factors of the planned exhibition project. The vitality analysis of the exhibition project is based on the planned exhibition project itself and analyzes whether the exhibition has a future development.

Analysis of the vitality of the exhibition project is not only to analyze the vitality of the exhibition for one or two sessions but to analyze the long-term vitality of the exhibition. That is, to analyze whether there is still a future development if the exhibition is held for more than five sessions.

2. Analysis of the exhibition implementation plan

The analysis of the exhibition execution plan is based on the actual project of the exhibition. And analyzes whether the implementation plans of the project are complete and whether the goal of the exhibition can be guaranteed.

The analysis of the exhibition implementation plan is one of the plans for the exhibition. The analysis focuses on whether the implementation plans are reasonable, complete and feasible.

It is important to understand that the evaluation of the exhibition basic framework is not to analyze whether the planning arrangement of a certain factor that constitutes the basic framework is reasonable and feasible. But it is to analyze as a whole to see whether the basic framework of the exhibition is reasonable and feasible.

Although the planning of each of the factors that make up the basic framework may be reasonable and feasible, the basic framework of the exhibition composed of these factors may be unreasonable and infeasible in general.

Therefore, to avoid getting any conflict on this, it is very important to evaluate the basic framework of the exhibition.

3. Financial analysis

The financial analysis is based on the financial aspects of the exhibition organization. It will analyzes and measures the expenses and benefits of holding the exhibition.

The main purpose of the financial analysis is to analyze whether the planned exhibition is economically viable and to design a plan for fund usage.

4. Risk prediction

From the perspective of the feasibility analysis, the risk is that during the process of organizing the exhibition. Due to the unpredictable and uncontrollable factors, the exhibition may contrast with the actual income and expectations of the exhibition.

If there is deviation happened, it will make the exhibition to become unsuccessful. Sometimes even the exhibition was held as scheduled, the exhibition organization may still subject to certain economic losses.

5. Potential Issues

This can include the various issues found in the exhibition project through the feasibility analysis, and other problems discovered by the researchers outside the feasibility analysis that may affect the exhibition.

6. improvement suggestions

In response to the above issues, suggestions for improvement of the project planning for the exhibition project were put forward. Pointing out the direction in which the exhibition should be successfully carried out.

7. Direction

After having the purpose and the goals of the exhibition based on the feasible analysis, and because of the existing problems, it is necessary to set up other conditions and the direction for all relevant parties to follow.

Project Establishment

1. Work schedule arrangement:

  • Feasibility report analysis, implementation-specific plan, and publicity expense plan.
  • Analyze the conditions of the project.
  • Conduct market research.

2. Is the profit growth point of the project large enough for the industry?

3. Regional considerations. To combine the actual characteristics of the locality, the project should be in line with the local regionality.

4. Time or seasonal considerations. The content of the project should conform to the seasonal characteristics, such as it is not suitable to hold a winter coat fair in a country without seasonal like Malaysia.

5. Need to avoid conflicts in well-known domestic exhibitions.

  • Specific plans for implementation.
  • Promotional expense schedule.

Investment in the advertising time period

Taking 4-6 months as an example, the general advertising period is:

  • The beginning of the project (the first two months) is 10%-20% of the total publicity expenses [investment in professional media].
  • About three months, the key investment 30%-40% of the total publicity expenses [mainly invested in professional media, a small amount invested in the mass media].
  • 40% of the total publicity expenses in the previous month [mainly invested in the mass media, 20% Mass media and social media, 20% of professional media].

The form of advertising

Outdoor advertising (mainly POP board, billboard, banners on both sides of the road, etc., these advertisements are mainly used for a period before the exhibition and during the exhibition)

Magazine, newspaper, media advertisements (mainly professional magazine media and mass magazine media, etc., these advertisements are mainly carried out before and during the exhibition)

Looking For Organizer

1. Conditions of the organizer: Local enterprises with certain authority and popularity.

2. Cooperative mode:

  • One form of cooperation is the organizer to provide certain services to the exhibition. The form of the fee is a few percent of the profit of the exhibition.
  • The other form is the organizer is only in the form of a name, they will make a  one-time payment to sponsor the exhibition.

3. Apply for various approvals

4. Site contact

Taking Penang as an example, the Setia Spice Arena Exhibition Hall is mainly for mass exhibitions for the attention of the people. While the KLCC mainly conducts professional exhibitions.

5. Contact the publicity media

  • Media: professional media, mass media, and social media
  • Method: direct payment; use free booth or publication advertisements for exchange.

6. Prepare invitation.

7. Establish a customer list (through the collection of journals and magazines, websites, etc.)

Finding co-organizer

1. Recruitment method: mainly by telephone, followed by mailing envelopes, E-mail, home visits, friends introduction, etc.

2. Steps for the exhibition:

(1) Posting information (mainly through telephone, fax, mail, etc. Send the invitation letter to the companies that are in the customer list)

(2) Tracking visits (finding the person in charge)

After the other party receives the invitation letter, the first follow-up visit will be made. You will meet three kinds of customers:

  • Instant decision making
  • Categorical rejection
  • Objection

They are in the proportion of 5%, 10%, and 75% respectively.

Instant Decision Making

  • Ask about customer needs.
  • Further Request to make the deal.
  • Pleasantly promise the customer.

Categorical rejection

  • Understand why customers refuse.
  • Prepare for the interview.
  • Make the second interview.
  • Recommend the next exhibition to customers.
  • Ask customers to introduce other customers.
  • Keep in touch and stay in touch later.


  • Ask about customer needs and objections.
  • Make a second visit.
  • Eliminate customer concerns.

3. Documents used in the exhibition: project invitation, booth confirmation, exhibitor guide

Recruit exhibitors

In the process of recruiting, you can convert rejected customers into visitors. Some visitors can be indirectly recruited through the media.

The main recruitment and promotion work is to start in the first 1-2 weeks before the launch of the exhibition. The organizer will organize the recruitment work, such as traveling to the secondary market for professional audience organization; sending short message invitations; call to invite relevant enterprises.

Related activities

The related activities of the exhibition refer to seminars, technical exchanges, etc. The purpose of these events is to provide additional services to exhibitors and trade visitors to enhance the image and business recognition of the exhibition.

Exhibition site

Exhibition: Exhibitors will perform the exhibition work for two days in advance. Booth construction, coordination of booths, receipt, and payment, transportation of articles, etc.

During exhibition: on-site coordination; audience organization; supporting services, etc.

Control work after the exhibition

Including feedback on the visits, etc.


Leave a Reply