The Best Practices for a Successful Trade Show Booth

Displaying your business at a trade show is a good way to network and become noticed in your industry. In this article, we’ll discuss the best practices for trade show booth design. When you are ready to grow your business, a trade show is one way to get clients quickly.

Many times, trade shows are overwhelming because of a lack of balance, display issues, coordinating the trip, set up and tear down of the booth for your business. Planning is the key to making everything flow properly and having a successful event.

Understand the Space for Quality Trade Show Booth Design

Gather all of the information you need about the space for a trade show. You should know what the venue looks like, how it works with your display idea and what size of space you will have. After you get the appropriate measurements and any color schemes, you can work on the design of your booth.

You should also inquire about setting up electronics, electricity usage, having large screens in your display, and a timeframe for installation and repacking your booth. These are all details that seem small, but they can have major impacts on your ability to have your business displayed properly.

Trade Show Space

Once you have your space, plan your design with a trade show booth design company. A good company will incorporate all of the requirements for your design. Knowing the venue is important, so the design company can work within the constructs of the rules and environment.

Information You’ll Need to Know:

  • Do you offer Wi-Fi?
  • How many people attended the event last year?
  • Can you choose your suppliers?
  • What kind of support is offered?
  • How does this event compare to other events in the industry?
  • How much competition will you have at the event?
  • Where will your booth be located and how large is your space?
  • How much is additional marketing?
  • Limitations or rules with technology or booth construction.
  • The total cost of attending the trade show
  • Timeline

One of the biggest mistakes a business makes with entering the trade show arena is a lack of a timeline. Getting everything done with a venue and focusing on the displays and booths can become overwhelming. It is good to start the design process as soon as possible so there is time to correct anything that doesn’t work well. It also takes time to set up and take down a display. After a long day, this is something that many businesses don’t consider.

A timeline should incorporate everything about the tradeshow and working alongside a good trade show booth design company to make sure everything is shipped on time and the design is exactly what you need for the show.

Road To Success

Budgeting and deciding on a trade show should occur a year or more before the show. This gives you the time you need to research how many people attend the show and how much it will cost for you to attend the show. You will need all of the statistics and pricing from the venue. A quote from a trade show booth design company, travel expenses, promotional and marketing expenses. You should also include all food, transportation, and supplies in your budget.

Once you have a budget figured out, it is important to analyze the potential of growing your business at a trade show. Consider how much business you will need to make at each show to even out and then to profit. While you may not be able to come up with exact numbers, you don’t want a budget that your business can’t afford.

You can also try to find ways to simplify the display you use in the first year or two, so you don’t have to spend as much money on the booth. It is important to consult with a trade show booth design company before you decide to move forward with the timeline. The information you get about the design you want can be information that you need for important budgeting decisions.

Starting about nine months before the show, you should start working with the booth design company to go through exhibits that will work for your business. You should also have a budget in place that has all of your projected expenses listed, so you can stay on track.

Once you get to six months before the show, marketing and finalizing any designs and delivery/set-up are your top priorities. This is also the time for you to plan on any giveaways or promotional materials your booth needs. Have your business cards, stationary, and treats or pens all ordered so they can be approved well in advance.    

Once you are three months out, start booking your travel to the event. You may need hotel rooms and plane tickets. You may also want to plan to cater lunches or having a night out with your staff once the event is over. All of these details should be considered well in advance, so you can find space for everyone you have working at the event.

Finally, if you need to train staff and go over your products, start as early as possible. Visitors expect the staff at your booth to have knowledge about your product, be able to sell the product and be able to close the sale. Training is important, as it will come in handy once your staff is at a busy event. Relying on product knowledge can help keep everyone’s nerves stable and focusing on business goals.

Offer an Experience

Virtual Reality Custom Booth

A trade show booth design company will help you offer an experience to your customers. Trade shows not only offer information about your product or service, but they help create a memory for potential clients. Experiencing a product is longer-lasting than just viewing a product on a screen or piece of paper.

Your trade show booth should incorporate all of the benefits of your products with your goal in mind. Virtual and digital displays are popular in the trade show environment because they allow you to give information to more than one person at a time. You may want to consider a virtual or digital information center, so visitors can access information while you are working on closing a sale.

Thinking outside of the box is critical for a display that pops and draws people in. Your product or service should stand out and command attention from across the room. The key is to get the product to speak for itself to get passers-by to stop and get involved. Many people do this with promotions or giveaways, but this tends to be overdone or underdone.

Colors and low-key participation are the keys to bringing people to your booth. With great colors, you can draw leads over to your booth because you stand out. If the visitor can make something or try something out, they are more likely to stay longer and have a conversation about your product. If you are in the tech industry, showing off your software, website, or app by letting people use it on screens is a great way to get everyone interested and talking about what you have to offer.

It is more likely that a potential client will remember you because of the experience they had at your booth. Out of all of the exhibits at the tradeshow, people will remember the ones that stand out and give the best presentations. They will also remember the most unique displays. When you come up with ideas for your display, consider a design that will draw the potential client into an experience!

Meeting Rooms

A meeting room or section of your trade show booth that is meant for finalizing business is trending. Being able to sit and talk about your product while you take time with a client is a good way to get business done at the show and gain clients. Designing a booth with an area to close sales is a great way to let potential clients and your competition know that you are serious. Leaving with more business than you came with is ideal.

Meeting space should have enough room for two or three people and a table. If you can, find comfortable chairs for space. Offering water or a drink/snack is a nice touch, as you get ready to close a deal. The trade shows can also get hot, so having a fan is a great way to keep the meeting area comfortable. Little touches and considerations can help your clients feel comfortable and give them the ability to relax. Some companies are putting scents in their meeting areas for calming effects. You can also put a TV on the wall, to keep a client occupied while you leave the room to get the paperwork. Making this space feel as comfortable as possible will give people a good break from the crowds and they will also be less anxious about the business transaction that is taking place.

Meeting space is also a good area for people to make phone calls if they need to consult with other members of their team. Offering a drink and a little bit of privacy goes a long way when you have a client that is looking forward to working with you.

Simplify Your Display

Many displays are overdone to the point that they are too loud for the trade show attendees. They either have too much going on or the staff is too pushy. A simple display gives you the ability to focus on the product and takes away all of the unnecessary elements.

Use lighting to get attention. You may want a small and simple display that has the right lighting to bring attendees to your booth. Highlighting your product this way shows people that you are 100% focused on that product being in the spotlight. It gives a good feeling to those who are overstimulated and find it refreshing to view a well-lit product and have a conversation about the benefits.

If you have tables in your space, make sure your table coverings look nice and match the rest of your display. Have the appropriate length, so you have a place to store items. A clean and organized space is important. The right table coverings work well to keep everything looking well thought out.

Instead of putting all of your money into your display, consider a live presentation. A presentation by someone who has expert knowledge of your product or service is always a great way to draw people in. It saves money, time, and allows potential buyers to experience the product through the person giving the presentation. The presenter should be someone who communicates well and can “wow” an audience.

You can also incorporate an interactive presentation. Whether you make a video or have an A.I. give a presentation for you on a monitor, people love to watch things happen. Once the presentation is over, allow visitors to try the product. This gives them hands-on experience that they will differentiate from your competition.

Saving Money

Money savings for designing a trade show booth

Once you decide on a budget for an event, you may find that you have little to work within design. The event needs to be profitable and it is expensive to attend a show with one of the best displays. To make sure you gain clients and don’t break the bank, you may need to decide on cheaper ways to create a display.

Work with lighting and your product. As mentioned before, great lighting and a good presentation can limit the need for an expensive display. Simple is sometimes better in this type of environment.

Rent a booth. You may be able to rent a display booth and save money. Use your graphics and a standard rental booth to promote the products you offer. This works great for selling. If you plan to sell a bottled product or a small product, bring your inventory with you and use a standard booth to highlight your inventory on the walls.

A small booth in the right spot, with a good design, can command just as much attention as a large, expensive booth. Choose a quality design and keep the over-all display small to save money on the trade show.

Open spaces look and feel better than a cramped booth. They can also save money. Using a table and chairs in a corner is sometimes more appealing than many colors and a lot of things going on. This goes back to keeping it simple, which will keep it less expensive.

Instead of big graphics, use a great color and a well-placed logo. This may keep your prices down and it will still look great. Research the mood and colors you want to convey to your potential clients and make one bold statement with the right color and logo placement.

Decide against the flooring. If flooring won’t add to your display or presentation, save money by eliminating it. This is an extra expense that most people will never notice.

Choose your technology wisely. You may pay for the event support to set up all of your technology. Less set-up will mean fewer fees from the venue.

Cut the time your staff has to spend on setting up or packing your display with pop-up displays. This saves money and time. Your staff will also appreciate the amount of time they don’t have to spend on the display when they’ve worked hard all day.    

Instead of spending a lot of money on promotional and marketing supplies, create something unique for your potential clients. This can be as simple as a treat with your business card attached. Being different is the key to success at most trade shows. Get rid of the pens and magnets and have something available that makes them want to come to your booth. Candy, donuts, coffee, and water bottles are all trendy treats for trade shows.

Updating Your Display

If you attend more than one trade show a year, you may need to work with a tradeshow booth design company to figure out how to alter your booth for each show. You may also need to make updates as your business grows. Not only do you need to stay current with your booth design, but your marketing and materials may need to change as your business expands. Simple things, like new packaging, can look different with an older display. Consider updating your display and booth when your business changes, grows, or if you attend many shows a year. A design company that knows of all of your events ahead of time can make provisions in how they build your booth, to accommodate the different venues and styles you want. You may have a design that is standard and then different graphics, lighting, colors are used for each trade show. This shows that you are flexible, willing to accommodate the style of the venue or city, but it will also save you money and time.

Hiring a Reputable Trade Show Design Company

A good design company will have the options you want for your booth, or they will be able to customize something to your liking. Ask the design company for a portfolio and have conversations with them about their past successes. It is important to have a good company by your side, that can work with your timeline and give you the product you need to be successful. Share your timeline with the company and let them know when you need your booth finished and delivered.

Your design company should also give you instructions on the best ways to pack and unpack your booth. This is important for time management and efficiency.

Make sure to ask the design company you consider about how they handle negative issues, such as mistakes in the graphics, or damaged displays. The good support staff is necessary if you need quick help before a trade show.

Plan for the Worst

Anything can go wrong because of the high-stress environment of a tradeshow and the many months of preparations before the show. A backup plan for the things that can go wrong, is a great way to stay on top of everything. Consider these likely mishaps during a tradeshow and solve the problem before you arrive:

Trade Show Plan Infographic
  • The staff doesn’t show up.
  • Batteries die.
  • Spills happen.
  • The cables are too short.
  • Low blood sugar.
  • Dehydration.
  • Loose cords and wires.
  • A windy spot by the door.
  • Someone who knows absolutely nothing about your industry or product.
  • Canceled or grounded flights.
  • Not enough rooms in a hotel.
  • Meals didn’t arrive on time or the restaurant didn’t get your reservation correct.

Having a plan for some of the easy things will keep everything going well, and you will be able to work through the additional stressors easier.

Trade shows can be tough to plan and work around when you also have a daily business to run. Keeping your staff ready for the shows and following a strict schedule should make each show easier as they come around annually. Attending trade shows is not only a great way to grow business, but they are also a great way to network and find businesses that will work well with you in your future endeavors. Once you go through a few trade shows, it will be easier to plan and evaluate if they are a profitable way to increase sales. Many times, a company can double in size just after a few shows. Your display and presentation are the most important part of keeping clients interested and closing the deal.

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful to you. If you need help designing and manufacturing a trade show booth, contact us for a free consultation.