Trade show exhibit space is the most significant percentage of your trade show budget. As with all real estate ventures, it is focused on location. All booth places aren't created equal. The positioning of your trade show booth plays a huge role in how much foot traffic you will receive, which influences your ROI. So, when choosing your exhibit space, examine these 10 tips for finding the right spot.
1. Reserve Your Space Early On
When I say early, I mean it because “early” often means up to a year in advance. It's not unusual for show organizers to open up the area selection process for the next 12 months on the first day of the year's event. Show spaces tend to be assigned on an exhibitor's previous involvement in the show. Other times they receive an initial first come, first serve basis. Regardless, you will need to plan early on and discover which booth spots are available before you make some other decisions. If the area you want has already been reserved, let show's organizers know you are interested in case of an cancellation.
2. Get A Historical Perspective
Ask show management for copies of floor layouts from prior years. Normally they'll be similar from calendar year to calendar year. Compare the area allocations to the hype made by those exhibitors. You will likely see patterns between booth space allocation and attention garnered.
3. Aisle Vs. Island
Most trade shows offer four main types of show space: inline aisle booths, peninsula booths, end-cap booths and island booths. With regards to the structure of the show hall, each kind of display space has its advantages. Island displays tend to be the largest on the show floor, with custom designs and four sides available to the aisle. Island displays can make an enormous impact when deployed effectively. However, bigger is not necessarily better. Just because your competitor has a 10,000 square-foot booth, will not mean you must do the same. Inline 10'x10' trade show displays can make a huge impression when combined with right proper promotional campaign. Establish your exhibition goals, consider traffic flow, trade show display needs and budget, and then you should have a good notion of your ideal square footage.
4. Anticipate Congestion And Bottlenecks
With regards to main entrances, be cautious how close you get. Entrances are notoriously packed and frequently chaotic as attendees crowd to the showroom floor. There's a fine line between high-traffic areas and full-on congestion. Congestion makes it hard to obtain meaningful discussions with attendees and can also dampen your ROI.
5. Know Your Area
When possible, choose an area between trade show booths with smaller exhibits. This can make your booth stick out even more from a distance and offer greater visibility. On top of that, be familiar with any columns or poles that could cause sight issues. Additionally you need to check into any variations in ceiling height. Remember that height restrictions range by show, by country and by facility. Last but not least, don't forget about perimeter booths as they makes it possible for for taller displays.
6. Inquire About Your Competition
Don't be hesitant to ask show management about the companies that contain booth space reserved near your selected location. You might want to avoid selecting an exhibit space too close to major competitors or companies you understand will have larger, more dynamic exhibits. Alternatively, being near your opponents can guarantee increased traffic as prospects will likely hang out in your area. In the event that you know you'll have a dynamic trade show display that is marketed pre-show, you should never be afraid to be near your competition.
7. Sometimes The Back Is Better
Let everybody else fight over the front door entry while you swoop in and secure the location right next to the only real onsite restaurant. If you fail to be prominent and center, look for high-traffic locations that are beyond your norm.
8. Left vs. Right
Do you want to be on the left side of the trade show hall or the right side? That will depend on where in the world you are exhibiting. Data shows U.S. attendees tend to start out their trade show touring to the right and Europeans have a tendency to start to their left.
9. Walk The Floor Yourself
It's always a good idea to attend the function as a visitor before you make the determination as an exhibitor for a number of reasons, including evaluating booth space. This will provide you with a great opportunity to take down notes on the many exhibit spaces and keep an eye on traffic habits. Even the best venue map can't possible communicate what is seen in person.
10. Sharing A Booth Space
When there is a trade show that you absolutely must show up at, but space has already been sold-out, or you just don't possess the budget to exhibit - consider sharing a trade show booth space with another exhibitor. This plan should only be utilized for larger show places or when the collaboration is practical to the audience. Cases include licensees, vendors or long-standing sellers. Peninsula show space is ideal for this kind of arrangement as it is possible to create your trade show displays back to back.