Alexis Exhibits

Tradeshows on a Shoestring Budget

Attending and exhibiting at a tradeshow can lead to excellent bottom-line benefits for your company: exposure to a highly targeted audience; opportunity to pitch your company’s marketing message; generation of sales leads; and the opportunity to learn more about your industry through panel discussion, speeches, and seminars.

The reality, though, is that in many companies, marketing budget dollars must be spent carefully and each expense may be scrutinized closely. No need to remove tradeshows completely from your marketing plan, however. Take a critical look at your tradeshow expenses and you might find some creative ways to carve some costs out of your overall tradeshow budget.

Here are a few areas where you might be able to cut costs:

Transportation. This can typically account for a significant portion of your tradeshow budget so it’s the first place you should look at to trim down on expenses. The biggest thing to keep in mind: plan early! Most companies will know six months to a year out that they are going to be exhibiting at a particular show, so plan ahead and make your airline reservations early. Airlines penalize last-minute business travelers with high-priced tickets. Fly everyone in the day before the show and fly them out the last day of the show to save on extra food and lodging costs.

Also, keep in mind other modes of transportation if the event isn’t that far away. Renting a van to take a large group of people or partner with another exhibitor in your area and charter a bus, which can significantly cut down on travel expenses.

Hotel. Typically larger conferences will offer attendees and exhibitors rooms at hotels within a close proximity to the event at a discounted rate. Take advantage of this savings. Booking an economy hotel farther away might seem like a smart strategy, but once you add up taxi fares, it might not make sense. Double up employees in each room to instantly cut hotel costs in half.

Also, if you’re attending multiple events throughout the year, look at hotel chains that offer special discounts for multiple hotel stays or those that offer special member programs that offer additional discounts, such as free nights after a certain amount of stays. Also, book at hotels that offer free breakfast. It might sound silly, but feeding a large group of people breakfast every day will add up to hundreds of dollars after a multi-day stay, and possibly bloat your budget.

Booth rentals. You can instantly shave hundreds off your budget by renting your tradeshow booth. This can be especially helpful for companies that want to exhibit but need to cut tradeshow costs in the short-term as well as for those companies that don’t attend shows frequently. Make sure you read your rental agreement carefully and understand the terms of it. Find out what accessories will come with the booth and what you’re responsible for bringing. Be creative and enhance your rental booth with banner stands, literature racks, lighting and other extras that can increase traffic to your booth.

Shipping. Exhibition halls often add significant costs to receiving and storing your freight and associated material for your company. Instead, ship things such as literature and giveaways directly to your hotel. Mark shipped boxes with a shipping label that reads, “Hold at front desk for (your name)’s arrival.” Hotels do not charge for accepting and holding shipments for guests.

Renting Trade Show Components Just Got A Lot More Exciting!

Combine Rental Items with Your Custom Tradeshow Booth and Save Money

Even if you have made the investment in a custom tradeshow booth and own your exhibit properties, it may make sense to explore the idea of renting additional items that you may need. Rental offers a cost-effective way to change or add to your tradeshow display to meet your specific requirements.

rent_tradeshowbooth_componeFor example: an exhibitor normally reserves a small island booth space (20 x 20 or 20 x 30). They own a custom tradeshow booth and it serves them well in the 3 shows that they exhibit in annually in this configuration. However, they recently introduced a new product line that will debut at a major industry tradeshow. As a result, they plan to have several meetings with very important potential distributors for the new product line at the show. Providing a private area within the booth for these meetings is a necessity.

It was determined that the best way to accomplish these goals would be to use a double deck display. The upper level of the double deck would provide the space for these important private meetings without sacrificing valuable floor space.

The problem is that the cost of purchasing a multilevel structure would definitely blow the tradeshow budget. Instead, the exhibitor decided to rent an existing structure and surround it with the exhibit components that they already own.

Customize Trade Show Exhibit Rentals to Your Exact Specifications

This is just one example of combining rental items with purchased exhibits. Exhibitors frequently rent conference rooms, reception desks, workstations, towers and overhead signs. Finishes on rental items can be changed so that they match existing tradeshow booth materials.

This cost effective solution should always be a consideration when planning your tradeshow exhibit.

Need a piece to match an existing trade show booth? Want to expand your current concept? Starting from scratch, but know you won’t be able to buy? We can help. Let’s talk.

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.

Ways to Slash Trade Show Costs

Trade shows are excellent forums to showcase new products and reach customers and prospects with your marketing message, but they are expensive. Cutting trade shows out of your marketing budget entirely, however, is pound-wise and penny foolish. cut-trade-show-costsLet’s take a look at some ways you can shave costs out of your trade show budget without sacrificing the impact of your exhibit.

Rent instead of own. Some companies get weighed down by the expense of owning their own exhibits; not just the initial expense but the costs associated with storing, shipping, prepping, maintaining, as well material handling expenses once it has been received at the show site.

Bring your own supplies. Renting supplies at a trade show can put a serious crimp in efforts to reduce costs. Though it might seem more cost-efficient to avoid the costs of shipping things such as tables, carpet, chairs, etc., the reality is that you can save by shipping and reusing your own.

Leverage tradeshow materials for other uses. Banners or posters used at trade shows make great visual advertisements in the front window of retail stores. Brochures not given out at shows can double for customer/prospect mailings.

Get handy. One way to save big is to bring your own tools and put your booth staff to work setting up everything that’s not mandated by trade show labor rules.

Negotiate booth rent. Exhibition companies have been hit pretty hard by the recession. What’s bad news for them could be good news for exhibitors. If you’ve exhibited at the same trade show for years, try and renegotiate your booth rent with the tradeshow organizer. Agreeing to sign a multi-year contract might help hasten a deal as organizers are looking to keep you as a long-term exhibitor.

Go smaller. Booth rent accounts for approximately 20% of your total trade show costs, so reducing the size of your booth can have an immediate and big impact on your bottom line.

Ship early. If you are shipping your exhibit or supplies to a show, be sure and plan to ship well ahead of time so you can send all items in the slowest, least expensive way possible. Also, check out whether you can ship some items locally instead of from your location.