I think we’re all pretty familiar with the saying, “Go Big or Go Home“, right? However, when it comes to your Trade Show exhibit, that doesn’t necessarily ring true!
The cost of exhibiting can be very expensive…from your exhibit space costs, travel and expenses, trade show expenditures, and staffing your booth. When you’re first getting started, how important is it to “Go Big or Go Home”? Unless your Company has some pretty deep pockets, the saying of “bigger is better” doesn’t really apply.
In this week’s Blog I am going to show you how to take baby steps to getting started in the exhibit world!
The following is an overview of starting out small and growing your exhibit from there:
- First, you need to start out with your booth size and any furnishings that may come in your exhibit fee. Most of the time you will be provided with one (1) 6’x30″ draped table, two (2) side chairs, a 7″x44″ I.D. Sign, and a wastebasket, but be sure to double-check in your Exhibitor Service Manual. What I always liked to do was grab a legal pad and start sketching out a preliminary plan for my space. It is very important that you do this so that your Booth Representative doesn’t just show up and throw the booth together! I’ve seen this done countless times and it really does show! Take pride in your space; after all, you spent a lot of money to be there!
- Let’s say your space is 10’x10′ with the furnishings listed above. Do you require additional space to showcase your products and/or services? My recommendation is to place the 6′ table along the backside of your booth. You can then add more tables (if needed) to create a U-shape. Although I’ve seen the package table placed front and center, I don’t recommend doing so as it closes off your booth. You are confined to your purchased space (no aisle selling) so by placing your table in the back, you make for a more inviting space for the attendees to talk with you.
- A rather inexpensive initial purchase would be buying a branded table cloth. These are placed directly over your draped table and are easily seen from afar. Most of these are available in 6′ widths and are 30″ high; however, if you are utilizing a taller table (42″ high), there are also branded cloths for that as well. Word of caution…if you have an undraped table in your booth, I highly recommend having it skirted so that you’re not looking at wood and table legs. Your branded cover is not going to cover this.
- Another low cost rental item is a table riser. These are typically available in 4′, 6′, and 8′ lengths and are approximately 1′ high; they are usually covered in white vinyl, but depending on the GSC, you may be able to rent a skirt color to match your booth. These are a great investment if you have a lot of products that you wish to display. I refer to them as “steps” and they make for a great merchandising tool.
- Posterboards and pegboards are available in 4’x8′ sizes and can be installed either vertically or horizontally in your space. They are positioned on (approximately) 30″ high leg stands and are typically placed in the rear of your booth. Pegboards are great if your items are suspended through a hole in the packaging, and you’ll want to specify roughly how many hooks you will need. Posterboards allow you to use velcro to adhere signage or images of your products. Velcro is available for purchase but I recommend bringing your own.
- An upgrade to these are renting Slatwall units. Each piece is 3 meters wide by 8′ high. They are available in a silver color and you can add shelving in addition to hooking your products. You can easily use one unit or make a combination to maximize your booth space. You will want to have custom graphics designed (by either yourself or the GSC) as well as an accurate count of the shelving and hooks needed.
- We can start throwing booth display rentals into the mix! You can start out small with a 4′ or 6′ wide table-top display before moving on to the 8′-10′ pop-up displays. I always priced these out to include the rental, drayage, and labor to install and strike. If your display rental includes lights, you will need to make arrangements for electric through the appropriate service provider. Although this is an added expense, I always recommend having the lights on as exhibit halls aren’t always well lit.
- You can have your graphics produced in-house or submit your files to the GSC for production. Always keep in mind that “shift happens” and you potentially risk having your signage arrive slightly damaged when shipping across state lines.
- From this point, the sky really is the limit! I have seen some AH-mazing displays in my career! You can have a 20’x20′ island display with overhead signage/graphics, or even a double-decker 40’x40′ display to include stairs leading up to a second floor meeting space. These displays are very expensive and can run in the neighborhood of $200k plus! This doesn’t even include the trade show costs that you will incur.
- If you’re at a point where “bigger IS better”, I recommend opting for a display that can be broken down and used at smaller events. You’ll definitely get more bang for your buck by doing so!
Below are some pictures showing the various display options that I’ve mentioned. Simply click on the picture to enlarge it.
Blog Post_Go BIG or Go HOME!
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_tableskirt-chase-fpo.jpg]120Branded Table Cover
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_table-riser.jpg]130Table Riser
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_slatwall.jpg]100Slatwall Display
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_20-booth-display.jpg]10020' Wide Display Booth
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_20x20-display.jpg]12020'x20' Island Display
[img src=http://melissamichel.com/wp-content/flagallery/blog-post_go-big-or-go-home/thumbs/thumbs_double-decker-booth.jpg]120Two-Story Exhibit
In closing, is the saying, “Go big or go home” really true? I certainly don’t think so! Everyone has to start somewhere, and you really need to test the exhibitor waters before you get in over your head!
Have you had any display experience at trade shows? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments below.