Article written by Jill Amerie.
Are There Bad Sites for Your Trade Show Booth?
When exhibiting at an industry trade show, how important is your location? Many exhibitors jump at the old real estate principle of “location, location, location” as an essential consideration for your booth space. The fact is no exhibit hall will guarantee success unless you properly market yourself.
There are no firm rules for what makes a good space. Exhibit managers may charge a bit more for what they consider “prime real estate,” but since there are no discounts on “bad” spaces, that means that event organisers buy into the philosophy that you can make the best of wherever you are.
As a newcomer to the exhibit scene, you may not get the location you prefer. Previous exhibitors typically get first pick of space and some companies choose to stay where they were from year-to-year. To make the most of any options you have, here are a few pieces of common wisdom to consider.
Avoid the entrance – or hope to get near it. The entrance can be congested at certain times of the day, especially at big events when hundreds of visitors stop to look around and get their bearings. Large exhibitors often have sizable island booths near the front. If you get a hold of a booth near the front, you can be among the first exhibits that visitors see. You may benefit from activity at your prominent neighbour’s booth.
Don’t camp on your competitor’s doorstep. You may not have a choice about that at very small events, but if possible, set yourself apart. Visitors are soon overloaded with information. A little physical distance between you and a competitor will help keep your companies separate. Before you commit to the industry event, observe your competitor’s presence at prior events to see how they package their message. In designing your own signage, point out the competitive advantages of your product or service.
Use prior exhibit knowledge. Ideally, attend a trade show at which you want to exhibit before you commit for the next year. Take note of booths that are boring and uninspiring so that you can both avoid having a similar trade show booth and so you can position yourself between lackluster fellow exhibitors. Also, pay attention to exhibitors that feature loud music or distracting displays to avoid being too close to these distractions.
Consider the way that attendees walk exhibits. Many people come into the exhibit hall in search of specific company, but someone walking systematically through the convention venue might go to the right in the US, or to the left in Australia and Europe. This pattern follows the way people drive in the respective countries. If given a choice between what you consider an equally good space on the right or the left of the centre aisle, aim for the driving side!
Be near the action. Set up shop near an exit, corner, or the intersection of aisles in the hall. People have to walk this way, so you make get some benefits from the location. This also works well for events with attached seminars, breakout sessions or central stage performances.
Your Trade Show Booth Won’t Sell Itself
Regardless of where you are, remember that no space will “sell” your company. That’s up to you. Make sure to use all the marketing tricks at your disposal to make your trade show booth visually appealing, full of information, and worth attendees’ time.
About the Author:
Jill is the owner of Skyline – Xtreme Xhibits and is a strategic trade show marketing consultant, with over 22 years of experience in the trade show and events industry. Jill is driven by her passion for unique and memorable exhibit design, overall successful trade show marketing strategies, exceptional customer service and flawless program execution.