My own opinion would be to be located centre back of the hall as by the time visitors get to your exhibition stand they are more relaxed and have already started to formulate ideas as to what exactly they want or are looking for.
A relaxed and focused visitor is exactly what you want at an exhibition. Take a look at the image below, personally, if I was choosing a location I would be aiming to be in the area with stand numbers B12/B16/C16/12. These are central, not too close to the front and they face the front door. Obviously, not everyone can have these locations, but a good rule of thumb tends to be the more open the stand the better. By “open”, I mean exhibition stand locations that are situated on a corner as they tend to get more visibility.
Other considerations that you should give thought to are who are your neighbours are and how big their exhibition stand is. I say this because you don’t want to be dwarfed by a huge exhibition stand beside you as it may take away from your stand and reduce its impact. I would also be careful about being directly beside a very similar competitor as whilst it may be good for a bit of banter, my experience is that it puts off visitors because they may not wish to go to both of you! Visitor awkwardness = visitor not engaging. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to ask the organiser who is situated in the stand space around you and I would have to question the motivations of an organizer who won’t give you that information.
Many years ago, I witnessed an actual physical altercation at a show I visited where two direct competitors were placed right beside each other. Neither was told that the other one was beside them and this caused a lot of problems. Any organiser worth their salt will do what is physically possible not to get into a situation like this!
So, my tip here is that before you commit to stand space, find out who your neighbours are. You’re doing the show to meet visitors and you want to ensure they feel comfortable to step onto your exhibition stand without the glaring eyes of an envious competitor.
As well as choosing the all-important location of your exhibition stand, you’ll also need to decide on the specification.
1) Corner exhibition stand (open on 2 or 3 sides)
2) Centred exhibition stand (located in the middle of 2 other stands)
3) Island exhibition stand (open on all sides)
To enable you to make a more informed decision in what will work for your company, I’ve outlined the different elements of each below.
Corner exhibition stand
✓ Great visibility than centred exhibition stands due to more traffic
✓ More inviting than centred exhibition stands
✖ Full interior needs to be well organised as fully visible
✖ More difficult to staff than more open sides!
Centered exhibition stand
✓ Easy space to design your exhibition stand
✓ Requires less staff to man the stand
✖ Limited visibility
✖ Potentially less inviting to show goers
Island exhibition stand
✓ Much more inviting for show visitors
✓ Can physically show off products much easier
✓ Greater volume of traffic due to high visibility
✖ Exhibition stand tends to be more costly than alternative locations
✖ More challenging to hire staff
✖ Exhibition stand needs to be very well laid out due to high visibility