Exhibiting at a trade show can bring many benefits to your business: qualified leads who are there specifically to find products like yours, increasing brand awareness, the opportunity to network with others in the industry and the chance to build a database of prospects. But the costs can be high you need to factor in stand space, stand design and purchase, electricity, staffing, transportation and hotel and dining costs. Hopefully the benefits and sales gained from attending a show will far outweigh the costs. And if you are on a budget there are ways to save money when exhibiting.
Trade shows will often have early-bird discounts so make sure you plan well in advance, ideally 9 – 12 months before the show. In addition, booking early will enable you to secure the best booth location at the show. Don’t forget to barter, especially if you plan to attend more than one show organised by the same company, they may offer a bulk discount. Look out for offers like free catalogue listings, and advertise your attendance on social media using the exhibition hashtag.
Order your stand in plenty of time so that you’re not faced with expensive express delivery charges. Hotels and train fares may also be cheaper when booked in advance. But keep an eye on the prices to see if they go down too.
Buy a stand that can be re-used
Custom-built stands can be expensive, and if they are just discarded at the end of the show, very wasteful. If you plan to exhibit at more than one show consider buying a modular stand which can be re-used many times. Using a modular stand, like our exclusive Prestige Event System [link], means it can be redesigned for different spaces at different shows. And as you have the flexibility to use the same stand over your entire exhibiting calendar, you could save up to 70% on repeat exhibiting.
What is more, as well as being significantly cost-effective, reusing your exhibition stand is of course environmentally friendly, as it avoids the wastefulness of “throwaway” custom builds which are likely to end up in a skip at the end of the show. We will even help you reconfigure it for other shows for nothing.
Book a smaller Booth
If you are trying to reduce your tradeshow construction costs it is better to book a smaller space than to economise on your stand. At around £300 per square metre you can make big savings by cutting down the size of your floorspace. And will potential clients really notice? They are more likely to pay attention to your stand than the space it is in. What’s really important is to have an eye-catching stand design so that you stand out from your competitors.
Consider hiring a stand
If you only plan to attend one or two exhibitions a year, hiring a stand could be the ideal option. Most exhibition stand companies will offer hiring options, at a fraction of the cost of buying.
Our Hire2self-build option allows you to rent your stand and build it yourself, avoiding the cost of an exhibition contractor. We support you with free one-to-one training and on-line tutorials and if you need some help on the day we can supply a stand-fitter on a simple day rate. You’ll own the graphics which we can store at a low cost, and we will help you reconfigure your stand free of charge.
Be careful of additional electricity charges
Make sure you discuss the cost of electricity supply when you book your space. Exhibition organisers use contractors to install sockets on your stand and the charges can be between £200 and £800 depending on how many sockets you have. There can also be additional charges for testing. If you are on a budget keep electrical items to a minimum and use LED lights which can all come off one socket. Although the use of audio-visual displays and interactive technology can certainly enhance a stand, if your exhibiting budget doesn’t allow it then it would be best to leave this out of your exhibition package.
Limit booth staff
Many choose to hire staff to man their exhibition stands, but this can add additional unnecessary expense. Instead use your own staff, they will already be knowledgeable about the company and products. If necessary offer them training is sales techniques to help them on the day.
Consider promotional items carefully
Branded giveaways are part of the exhibition experience but can be expensive to buy. Make sure you shop around for bulk discounts. Be selective about who you give them to, rather than having them in a pot on the desk for any passer-by to grab, keep them behind the desk and only give them out to people who really engage with you. That way you’re not throwing money away on people just there for the freebies.
Don’t forget storage costs
If your stand is too big to store and transport yourself you may end up having to pay to store it, either with the stand designer or a storage company. This can add a significant cost to the exhibition budget. The cheapest and easiest option is to use an exhibition company that includes storage and transportation as part of your exhibition stand project management service.
At Quadrant2Design, under our Free2hire™ plan, which we offer to all our clients, we will store your stand and graphics between shows free of charge. This gives you the freedom to exhibit more frequently for less cost.
So there are ways to save money when exhibiting by booking early, having a re-useable stand or hiring one and looking for cost savings in other areas. It is likely, though, that the benefits of exhibiting in sales and brand awareness generated will outweigh the costs.