Alexis Exhibits

Should You Rent Your Next Trade Show Exhibit?


You need a new exhibit for an upcoming trade show. Should you buy or rent your trade show exhibit? Well, if you have a limited budget, unusual needs for one show, want to test a concept, or have a scheduling conflict, renting can be a perfect solution. Here are a few examples of when you should consider renting your exhibit.

One-time event: One of the best reasons to rent a trade show exhibit is because you have an event with unusual needs that will not reoccur in the near future. Perhaps you have an unusual size booth space, a unique audience, or a special corporate occasion.

Concept test: You have a new idea for a trade show exhibit but you are not sure it will be the breakthrough concept that you need. Before you buy an exhibit, why not rent it and get feedback from attendees and other exhibitors? It is a great risk management strategy.

Special promotion or new product introduction: You are planning a special promotion or a new product introduction that will not be repeated. You are planning a larger exhibit than normal and your existing booth just won’t work.

Schedule conflicts: If your company participates in a lot of trade shows, you can run into conflicts with overlapping show schedules. This is a perfect time to consider renting a trade show booth.

Need to update your exhibit but only have a limited budget: You can update and/or supplement your existing exhibit with rental exhibit components. It will cost far less than a new booth or even most remodeling efforts.

Rental Booths can have a custom look!

When you rent your exhibit, a custom look can still be incorporated. Components can be selected to meet your needs and graphics designed to convey your brand identity and core message.

Save more by renting a modular exhibit

You can rent a modular exhibit and, if properly designed, further reduce your trade show operating costs. Modular exhibits are often lighter and easier to set up resulting in reduced freight, drayage, and labor costs.

How should you decide whether to rent or buy?

If you are in a situation where renting an exhibit might make sense, consider three factors: financial benefits of renting vs. buying, logistic needs, and marketing results. You may find that renting is the perfect solution for your company. Let’s talk.

How to Choose the Right Trade Show

Some trade shows are great investments and deliver lots of high-quality leads; others are just a waste of your marketing budget. choicesThe trick is to find the productive shows without making a lot of mistakes.

I always start by defining my marketing goals and target customer. This immediately points me in the right direction. Armed with that information, I put together a list of all the shows that reach my target customers and then evaluate them.

What kind of show should you attend? Often it is a mix of consumer shows, industry shows, buyers’ expositions and educational conferences. Each kind of show has its place.

Then look at these key factors to decide which trade show is best suited for your business:

1. Does the show help you meet your marketing goals?

If you are interested in a regional market or are new to trade shows, consider participating in a smaller, local trade show. If your goal is to acquire the largest number of qualified leads, to support a major new product launch, and/or to significantly build awareness, participate in the major industry tradeshows that capture the largest number of target customers. If your objective is to build your network and to position your company as a thought leader, then investigate shows where your company can be a show’s sponsor and a company representative can be a featured speaker.

2. Is it the right market space?

A show that matches your exact market space is often the best show to attend. You can learn a lot by looking at who exhibits at a show you are considering. A list of past exhibitors is usually available from the trade show management or on their website. Call a few of the past exhibitors and ask about the quality and number of attendees at previous years’ shows. Identify the shows that have an exhibitor mix that will attract your target customers and that are complementary to your business.

3. Determine which shows your top prospects attend.

See if the attendee list from past shows is available. Review the list to determine which shows have a large number of your target customers on the attendee list.

4. Identify which shows your best customers attend.

Call your customers and ask which shows they plan to attend and which shows they would like to attend. If there is a show that some of your customers would like to attend but are not planning to attend, ask if they would attend if they received a free pass to the exhibits. Most major trade shows offer exhibitors a limited number of free passes, so if your customers would attend the show with free passes, this could be a good reason to attend this show.

5. Figure out where your competition will be.

How many of your competitors will be exhibiting at the show? If you are not there, will you be at a competitive disadvantage? Trade shows usually bring together many competitors under one roof. Look for shows where your company will stand out as a leader in your market.

6. Consider timing – does the show’s timing make sense?

Will your company have news? Do you have a new product to announce or roll out? Does it conflict with another more important show?

7. Are there any special PR opportunities?

Exhibitors have a distinct advantage capturing Trade Show PR because they have higher profiles than attendees. They can also more easily and effectively demonstrate their products. This is particularly important for new product introductions. Ask the Trade Show management for last year’s press list and if they have any information on who is planning to cover this year’s event. Are there any media outlets attending that provide opportunities for you to reach your target audience in an impactful way?

8. Finally, take a look at the cost to attend each show.

Will it have a positive return on your marketing investment? Which shows have the best returns?

Put it all together and you should be able to pick the best trade shows for your company.

EXHIBIT ACRONYMS – What does an EAC Provide at a Trade Show?

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor is a Company or Individual that Works on the Tradeshow Floor

The letters EAC is one of the thousands of acronyms that can seem to exist only to confuse people with less than 5 years of experience in the tradeshow business. EAC stands for Exhibitor Appointed Contractor.

alphabetAn Exhibitor Appointed Contractor is a company or individual that works on the tradeshow floor providing any of a number of services that could also be ordered from the General Services Contractor. (Freeman, GES, etc.) There are a few services for which you may prefer to use someone other than the General Services Contractor (GSC) such as installation and dismantling labor, audio visual rentals and service, floral, etc.

If you choose to use an EAC, you must notify the show well in advance to allow them time to make sure your selected company is properly certified and insured. The form for this notification is in the show manual. Be sure to find the form and get it sent in as soon as you are able since the show generally requires at least 30 days notice.

The most common service provided by an EAC is installation and dismantling labor. A large number of companies of all sizes are anxious to provide you with labor services. These companies claim to provide better quality labor and service than the GSC at a competitive price. They will also help you with filing the EAC form. Be sure to get their information in writing and check references just like you would with any of your vendors.

Installation and Dismantling of Your Tradeshow Exhibit Should be done by an EAC or GSC

There are some services that are provided only by the convention center or GSC such as material handling, electrical service and labor, rigging, vacuuming, plumbing, etc. Many exhibitors feel that this exclusivity allows the GSC to charge inflated rates or provide inferior labor, but for most of these services, there are good reasons for the rules. In the case of material handling or drayage, there must be only one exhibit management company organizing everything, both to keep order and for safety reasons. Electrical labor and service must be done according to the contract with the convention center and local building codes for public safety.

No matter who you choose to provide your needed services on the show floor, as a first step, you need to spend some time reading the show manual to understand each service and to know the rules and your rights. Need help? Let’s Talk.

Make a Big Impact With a Small Trade Show Exhibit

You may be planning a small trade show booth, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a big impact. Here are a few ways to make any exhibit a big win.

Keep it simple
Your exhibit will stand out if you create a very simple booth. Keep it uncluttered, only include the essentials, and make it open and inviting.

Look professional
Make sure that every aspect of your booth is professional – from your exhibit, to your sales collateral, to your booth staff. A professional looking booth is critical to building credibility and to attracting traffic.

Be dramatic
Use distinctive materials, tension fabrics, woods, colored metal and layered graphics to present a current look and build visual interest.

tallgiraffeThink tall
Design a booth that incorporates one tall element that is visible above the crowd. It can be as simple as an overhead sign with a unique design, shape and movement, or something more unusual like moving lights on a group of hanging banners.

Get the best booth staff
In a small booth, the staff can be the difference between engaging attendees and just blending into the background. Make sure to have an outgoing, knowledgeable team at the show.

Start your marketing before the show
About 75% of show attendees decide on exhibit visits and seminar attendance in advance. Set up meetings with clients, prospects, and press ahead of time.

Follow-up after the show
Don’t let one hot lead fall through the cracks; make sure to follow-up all the qualified leads after the show.

It doesn’t matter if your trade show exhibit is the largest at the show or a smaller booth, the same principles of great trade show presentation still apply. Make sure your trade show exhibit stands out from the rest of the show, that your team executes flawlessly and every element works to bring your brand to life.