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Trade Show Booths & Conventions FAQ

How do I select the right trade booths and shows for my company?

Your trade show displays and the shows you attend with it depend on your sales and marketing objectives, target market and budget. Review your marketing plan and see if exhibiting trade show booths fit into the mix. To come up with a list of shows, ask your customers which trade shows they attend. You can also search online for trade shows using our trade show calendar. You’ll come up with a handful of events for trade show booths that will have the potential to reach your target market.

Then, you’ll want to review the attendee profile for each show. Most shows provide detailed attendee demographics. You can examine data on the industries, titles and purchasing power of the show’s attendees. Next, estimate the costs associated with rental space for trade show booths, show services, shipping, booth installation, travel, accommodations and marketing. With this information, you can rank the shows accordingly and choose the best ones.

Check out the Convention Center Information page to see what trade show convention centers are the most popular.

Why should I attend a trade show or convention? What are the objectives served by attending one, or exhibiting with trade show booths and displays?

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, there were over 14,000 trade shows and conferences in the U.S. in 2005. Whatever industry you may specialize in, there’s a trade show, conference or expo just for you.

Check out the Convention Center Information page to see what trade show convention centers are the most popular.

Exhibiting with trade show booths puts you face-to-face with hundreds and sometimes thousands of qualified attendees. Many of those attendees use their industries’ big trade shows to research products and services before a purchase. An industry study found 83% of attendees have some type of buying power.

For an exhibitor, these attendees are a good source of new leads and even show floor sales. Twenty-two percent of sales and marketing executives say trade shows are the top-producer of leads among all their marketing programs. In addition, the costs of generating and closing a qualified lead via exhibiting with trade show booths is less than that of generating and closing a field lead, according to the CEIR Study on Economics of Exhibiting.

How much freedom will I be given by the convention hall in choosing where my display is placed? What are the criteria for determining which ones are good and which are bad?

At the most popular trade shows, booths are usually placed according to seniority. Exhibitors that attend the show year after year will have first choice of the show floor and often book next year’s space during the current show. If this is your first time exhibiting at the show, try to book your space as early as possible. You’ll have more options from which to select.

The best spaces for trade show displays are the ones that get the most foot traffic. These are usually the ones closest to the hall entrance and corner spaces, which provide traffic from intersecting aisles. Because they are the most desirable, these spaces may come at a premium cost.

Try to avoid spaces with obstructions, such as columns or polls. It may be difficult to build your trade show display around these obstacles. Also, while they may seem like high-traffic areas, being near the food court or restrooms might not give you the exposure you expect. Those attendees have a personal agenda to eat or make a personal pit stop.

If you don’t get your preferred space, don’t worry. You can still drive traffic to your booth with effective pre-show promotions, such as email and direct mail postcards, and at-show advertising.

Check out the Convention Center Information page to see what trade show convention centers are the most popular.

What can I do to stand out from the other trade show booths on the convention floor?

The best thing you can do is know your target market and show objectives. You have only about three seconds to grab attendees’ attention, so you’ll need to put together an effective and customized trade show displays and trade show graphics. Keep in mind how attendees will enter your booth. Will traffic come from one or multiple sides? Place graphics at each entrance at eye-level or above so attendees can quickly identify your company and what you do. Using bold images and simple messages will also help stop traffic and then it’s up to your booth staff to continue your show objectives.

Our trade show display consultants can help you create functional and affordable trade show displays and graphics.

What should I look for in a trade show display exhibit company?

Exhibiting a booth at trade shows and events is complex. You should look for a company for trade show booths that provides not only trade show displays and trade show graphics, but offers a full range of services, including rental displays, storage, shipping and installation. It will save you stress and money in the long-run by finding a supplier of trade show booths to partner with in a long-term relationship. While online retailers might be able to sell you a cheap display, they won’t be able to provide you with custom trade show exhibit designs or assist you with emergency situations when you’re stuck on the show floor.

What percentage of my event budget should I dedicate to actual trade show booths?

For more on the average cost to attend tradeshows click here.

The industry average to purchase individual portable trade show booths is $100-$150 per square foot for larger displays. For example, 20×20 displays would cost between $40,000 and $60,000. Exhibit Rentals are about 35% of the hardware purchase cost.

Your event budget allocation will vary, but according to EXHIBITOR Magazine, here’s how the average trade show budget breaks down:

  • Space = 33%
  • Trade Show Booths & Graphics (construction/refurbishment) = 18%*
  • Travel & Expenses = 18%
  • Show Services (electricity, cleaning, drayage, I&D) = 12%
  • Shipping = 9%
  • Promotion = 8%
  • Miscellaneous = 2%

In addition, you can estimate your total event budget by multiplying the cost of your space by three. For example, the average floor space costs $21 per square foot. So, for a 20×20 floor space rental expect to pay around $8,400. The budget for that event would be $25,200.

*This figure is the display cost per show, not the total investment to purchase trade show displays and trade show graphics. When you purchase a display, you obviously plan to use it multiple times to get the most out of your investment.To determine the display cost per show, you’ll need to estimate how many years you will use the display and how many shows you will go to each year. The average lifetime of a display is five years. For graphics, the average lifetime is one year. Your display and graphic replacement needs may vary depending on how many shows you plan to attend. The more shows you go to, the sooner you may need to purchase new trade show booths.

For more on the average cost to attend tradeshows click here.

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“We received a ton of comments on how cool and cutting-edge the booth looked and how nice the carpet was. It was sleek, elegant, clean, and unique. No one else had anything remotely close; we stood out from the crowd for sure. Someone from the military even commented that our booth reminded them of a spaceship! Mission accomplished!”

~ Amy Ho
Clinical Affairs Manager, Vomaris


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