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Step #2 of “Trade Show Preparation Strategy: Easy Steps”

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You’ve evaluated trade shows and picked one or more that promise to be a good investment for your company or organization. Now what?
[quote]Location, location, location! Foot traffic to your exhibit is critical to having a profitable trade show. It helps immensely to be along a main aisle, on a corner or near an attraction. [/quote]

Choose Exhibit Space

When it comes to exhibit space, the early bird gets the worm. In fact, it’s not uncommon for regular exhibitors at a trade show to start putting exhibit space requests in at the end of the previous year’s show. Sometimes, regular exhibitors do get priority in picking spaces.

Trade shows handle exhibit space booking in various ways. Some large shows actually run a ‘lottery’ for choosing exhibit space. Research as early as possible how exhibit spaces are requested for the trade show you are interested in.

Decide on Exhibit Size
Cost of exhibit space may in large part dictate what size of space you can consider. Keep in mind: the larger the booth, the more staff are required to run it. We typically plan for 2 staff for each 10x10ft of exhibit space.

That means your cost calculations should have taken into account staff needed, with travel and hotels estimated accordingly.

How to Choose an Exhibit Location

  • Get a Show Floor Map – This map may be online, a downloadable pdf on the show site, or available by request.
  • Determine what is still available – Make sure you understand what spaces are actually still available.
  • Find out where the main aisles are – You want to be near foot traffic. Ask the show reps but also try to talk to previous show exhibitors if you can. If there are multiple entrances on the map, where is the main one? Where are entrance badges checked? What are the routes to snacks and eating locations?
  • Find out where your competitors are – If a venue is big enough to have themed areas, try to secure a space in your industry area. If you are looking for a small exhibit space, being within eyesight of a competitor with a large space can help drive traffic to YOUR space. If you are considering a large booth space, you may want to steer clear of direct competitors to avoid them poaching your traffic.

Corner spaces are particularly attractive for the simple reason that you have the chance to catch traffic from two directions.

[box]Talk to the trade show organizer and ask questions! Understanding a trade show floor map and how traffic flows at that venue is often something better explained by the trade show organizer.

Ask other exhibitors (who aren’t direct competitors) for their advice on picking a good exhibit space location for that trade show venue.[/box]

How Choosing an Exhibit Space Works
Usually, choosing an exhibit space is a matter completing a form with your top 3-5 booth spaces listed in order of preference.

You may also be asked if there are any companies you do NOT want to be located near on the trade show floor. If you are prepared to fork out big bucks for a large exhibit space, feel free to make your preferences known.

No good spaces left?

If you cannot find a space that meets your criteria, skip the show! Your exhibit space should be…

  • In your budget
  • In a location likely to see traffic
  • Good ROI for your company