Trade Show Coordinator Job Description
A lot goes on at an industry trade show, but the trade show coordinator ensures each experiential exhibit, high-stakes meetup, and giveaway runs smoothly and on schedule. Trade show coordinators are flexible individuals, able to organize shows for a wide range of industries, especially dynamic disciplines like healthcare and technology. They’re just as comfortable pulling strings from behind the scenes as they are working face-to-face with clients and attendees. Managing such complex shows includes everything from choosing venues and arranging floor plans to coordinating with vendors and overseeing staff, which requires wearing a lot of hats. In addition to being highly organized and extremely personable, trade show coordinators are master multitaskers with talents for negotiation, marketing, and budgeting.
Trade Show Coordinator Duties and Responsibilities
Trade show coordinators work with event stakeholders, like sales and marketing teams, to make sure every trade show runs seamlessly. The coordinator’s duties typically include administrative tasks like:
In the months before a show, the trade show coordinator reaches out to potential attendees, answers their questions, and registers them for the event. On the day of the trade show, the coordinator makes sure attendants sign in and receive event materials.
The trade show coordinator arranges travel and accommodations for attendees, including the event’s speakers, exhibitors, and vendors. The coordinator also reimburses attendees for expenses – like taxi rides, airfare, or hotel stays – that are covered by the event.
Organize the Event Floor
The trade show coordinator secures an event space and makes sure every exhibitor gets a spot on the floor. The coordinator is typically the team member responsible for drawing up a floor plan that maximizes the number of exhibitors, promotes networking, and makes navigation easy.
To ensure everyone organizing the trade show is on the same page, the trade show coordinator schedules regular meetings with event staff, exhibitors, vendors, and sponsors. The coordinator may also schedule meetings between sales teams and promising leads during the event.
Supporting Vendors and Sponsors
The trade show coordinator provides support for vendors and sponsors before, during, and after the event. The coordinator is often the point of contact that these stakeholders turn to with questions. The coordinator also handles vendor and sponsor invoices.
Trade Show Coordinator Skills and Qualifications
The trade show coordinator provides structure and support for the event and its attendees. As a result, employers look for candidates with the following skills:
- Event management – from registering attendees to drawing up floor plans, trade show coordinators are experts in general event management
- Time management – trade show coordinators manage their time (and other people’s time) effectively by running productive meetings and keeping shows on schedule
- Organization – every trade show has limited time and space, but a good coordinator organizes events in a way that maximizes both
- Interpersonal skills – good communication, which includes excellent presentation and networking skills, is the most important skill in a trade show coordinator’s arsenal
Tools of the Trade
Trade show coordinators regularly use the following applications:
- Email platforms (such as Gmail, Outlook, and MailChimp)
- Customer relationship management systems (such as Salesforce)
Trade Show Coordinator Education and Training
Employers prefer trade show coordinators with at least an associate’s degree in a field like marketing, communications, or project management. Earning a degree in one of these disciplines can teach students the skills necessary for immediate success, but not all accomplished trade show coordinators have a college education.
Trade Show Coordinator Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), meeting, convention, and event planners – the category that includes trade show coordinators – make an average of $47,000 per year. Low earners make about $25,000 a year, while high earners make an annual average of $83,000. An event planner’s salary increases steadily with experience, but after 10 years pay raises usually slow or stop.
The meeting, convention, and event planner profession is growing rapidly. The BLS estimates that demand will increase to about 130,000 event planners by 2026. That represents a solid 11 percent gain, which is above average.
These resources will boost your trade show know-how and help you ace your next job interview:
Trade Show News Network Blog – this blog keeps readers aware of emerging event technology (like event apps), industry best practices, and exciting new trends
The 50 Secrets of Trade Show Success – this title, written by successful trade show marketer Udi Ledergor, dives into the best practices of hundreds of exhibition booths, revealing what makes attendees, vendors, and sponsors (and therefore trade show coordinators) successful
Event Rebels Blog – stay up to date on the latest trade show trends by bookmarking this blog from event software provider Event Rebels. The blog is a great way to access the latest insight from thought leaders working in the industry
Event Planning: Management & Marketing for Successful Events– before hitting the job market, review event planning basics and hone your event management skills with this comprehensive and conversational guide from entrepreneur Alex Genadinik
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