Business and Trade Event Categories and Proper Terminology

Business and Trade Event Categories and Proper Terminology

There are many terms for different types of events floating internationally. In recent years, the difference between these terms has also become increasingly vague, and relying on generic descriptions (for example, entering something similar to “trade shows Ethiopia”) when searching for appropriate event for your company to participate in might not produce the best results. Many Conventions, Conferences or Forums take on features of Trade Shows so that businesses can have their booths on site as well. And vice versa, many large Trade Shows choose to hold a Conference type event at the same time, in addition to usual panel discussions.

So in this article, we will try to see the differences between this terms. After all, the use of these different terms are meant to describe different types of events.

  1. Trade Show

Trade Show, as name implies, is an event where companies in a specific industry gather to showcase and demonstrate their new products and services. In general Trade Shows are business-to-business (B2B) type of events; they are not open to the public and are meant to be attended by company representatives, industry officials and (of course!) press. Usually Trade Shows are organized and sponsored by trade associations for specific industries, so they are perfect networking platforms for industry professionals.

By attending an international or local trade show, corporations can boost their revenues through the generation of promising business connections. It is also an excellent opportunity for both startups and reputable companies to raise awareness about their projects and expand their networks.

  1. Trade Fair

Trade Fair, on the other hand, is more business-to-client or customer (not only consumer!) type of event. Companies gather not only to showcase their products and services, but also to sell and market them. Trade fairs (or simply Fairs) are open to anyone interested and can cover a few industries at the same time. They tend to take place over 3-5 days, sometimes even longer.

  1. Exhibition

Exhibition has the least of sales element in it; the primary objective is to showcase products and services. Usually exhibitions cover one industry at a time and are geared towards building general image of a company/brand.

  1. Expo

Expo, or Exposition, is somewhere in the middle between a Trade Show and an Exhibition. Expo is open to the public, but focuses very much on business networking as well, especially export opportunities. Expositions are very large scale events, usually international and covering many industries; they may have Government support and a lot of Government organizations as exhibitors.

In practice, all of those types blend into one and differences – if they still exist – may be very hard to notice. Nowadays it would be very hard to find a Trade Show which is not open to the public, or a Trade Fair without a “trade day”, when only industry professionals and media are allowed to attend. The same can be said about focus on export: although traditionally attributed to Expos, it is hard to imagine any Trade Show or Fair where participants would not be interested in finding clients from abroad.

In addition, some people, companies or even countries prefer one term over the other. For example, the term “Trade Show” is very popular in the US, whereas “Trade Fair” is traditionally more the UK term.

  1. Conferences

A conference is an event which people confer, exchange views, convey messages, open debates or even shed light on areas of opinion on a specific issue. The goal of a Conference is to gather targeted audiences in one place to share ideas, implement solutions, or improve collective expertise.

  1. Seminar

A seminar is a form of academic instruction, either at an academic institution or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone present is requested to participate.

This is often accomplished through an ongoing Socratic dialogue with a seminar leader or instructor, or through a more formal presentation of research. It is essentially a place where assigned readings are discussed, questions can be raised and debates can be conducted.

Difference Between Seminars and Conferences

Seminars are usually shorter events, lasting a couple hours to a few workdays. They have single or multiple speakers and generally keep all participants together in the same space. Conferences, on the other hand, typically have multiple sessions. They are usually held at hotels, beginning with a keynote session and then offering breakout sessions by topic.

  1. Convention

A convention is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. Trade conventions typically focus on a particular industry or industry segment, and feature keynote speakers, vendor displays, and other information and activities of interest to the event organizers and attendees.

Professional conventions focus on issues of concern along with advancements related to the profession. Such conventions are generally organized by societies or communities dedicated to promotion of the topic of interest

Con is a common abbreviation for convention, and some conventions (such as DEF CON and Gen Con) use it in their names.