What’s the difference between Trade Show and Exhibition?

What’s the Difference Between a Trade Show and an Exhibition?

Companies travel to many industry events every year, whether to promote their products and services, learn about industry trends, or network with other professionals. Along the way, you’ve probably heard these events referred to by many different names.

Terms like trade show, exhibition, and conference are often used interchangeably. However, there are key differences between these events that you must know to put together a successful event display and presentation. The experts at Monster Display are here to help you identify six types of industry events.

What is a Trade Show?

A trade show is essentially a “product fair” where companies showcase upcoming offerings – things that are finalized or close to it but haven’t yet been released to the public – and get feedback. They are strictly business-to-business (B2B) events, meaning booth visitors are knowledgeable. Think of them as a way to gauge interest in a product and see if any tweaks are needed or what partnerships are available.

What is an Exhibition?

These are B2B events like trade shows in which new products and services within an industry are presented. However, they are geared more towards trade professionals and resellers, aiming to establish avenues for regular sales. Both established and rising companies attend exhibitions, and building one’s brand image is a big priority, meaning a good modular event display is important.

What is a Trade Fair?

Trade fairs are the business-to-consumer (B2C) version of a trade show. Anyone can attend and the displays are more product-centered, focusing on sales. Businesses do direct sales to the consumer as well as lead generation. Because there are a lot more people, companies use smaller event displays. Unlike trade shows and exhibitions, the media is encouraged, as their coverage helps increase attendance.

What is an Expo?

Expos are where B2B and B2C cross paths. Both trade professionals and consumers are allowed to attend with the goal being to maximize foot traffic and opportunities. This means the industry knowledge of your booth visitors can vary widely, so you need to have presentations ready for novices and experts alike.

What is a Convention?

Conventions are large B2B meetings and promo events that focus on an industry or type of organization. They are typically more formal than a trade show and are more oriented towards research and trends, with the schedule often involving discussing certain issues, setting industry agendas, and hosting keynote speakers. Although an affiliation or membership is often required to attend, some conventions are open to the public, such as comic cons.

What is a Conference?

A conference is much like a convention, but they vary in a few ways. First, conferences are fully centered on education and the exchange of information, such as an academic conference for a field of study. Second, they typically are smaller and have a narrower focus than a convention. Finally, conferences are often even more formal, with an official agenda and more of an advisory or instructive nature.