Alexis Exhibits

Buying Versus Renting Tradeshow Exhibits

Many organizations don’t realize they can test the waters when it comes to tradeshow exhibits, renting before they commit to buy. For some companies, however, especially those that know they will be exhibiting multiple times throughout the year, buying might be the best and most cost-efficient option.

Let’s take a look at some of the rationale behind why companies choose to rent over buying and vice versa. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Why rent?

If your company has never before exhibited at a trade show or are fairly inexperienced with trade shows, you might want to consider renting the first time around. After your first experience, you’ll have a much better idea of what your company’s needs will be for future shows in terms of space, size, design, functionality, etc. You’ll also have a better sense of whether participating in trade shows will help your company meet its marketing objectives.

Renting the first time will also give you the opportunity to check out what your competitors are doing as far as exhibits. You don’t want to have the exact same booth as your competitor. Your company needs to stand out amidst the sea of competing exhibits to drive traffic and draw in prospective customers.

Another reason to rent may be that your company simply cannot reasonably afford to buy its own exhibit. Tradeshow booths can cost thousands of dollars, so unless your company has a proven track record of success at trade shows, it may be wiser to rent. Hopefully, after a few successful forays into trade shows, your organization will be able to financially justify the purchase of its own trade show booth.

Why buy?

If your company regularly exhibits at trade shows, even if it’s twice a year, then it may not make sense not to own your own booth. Rental fees quickly add up, so if your company is committed to participating in multiple trade shows or events throughout the year, purchasing your own booth makes good financial sense.

Experience at past trade shows also means you have a solid understanding of what type of booth your company would require; overall footprint and layout, the size of actual booth space your company is reserving for each show, and overall type of design. Chances are you also have checked out your competition’s trade show exhibits and know what your company will need in terms of its own booth to stand out.

Keep in mind that many exhibit companies will allow you to put the money you spend on a booth rental towards the ultimate purchase of a booth. In this way, renting before buying is a great way to experiment with different booth designs and see what works for your company before diving in and making the investment in your own tradeshow booth.

Trade Show Strategies: 5 Ways to Cut Cost and Make a Big Impression

It’s just smart business to look for ways to get more from your trade show budget. Since your competitors are probably getting creative with their budget too, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the situation with some out of the box thinking.

There are lots of ways to save money on your trade show budget – from managing travel and entertainment expenses to strategies for consolidating shipments to the show – but I’ll leave all of that to you. My focus is on ways to save money on your trade show booth without giving up any marketing impact. Here are a few tips on how your trade show booth can be high-impact for less money.

  1. Reduce transportation costs with a new lower-weight booth
    Trade show design has really changed in recent years. High energy and transportation costs pushed design houses to rethink their approaches. New booths are constructed from light-weight, high strength materials, are less expensive to ship and also have a sleeker, more contemporary look.
  2. Design for easy assembly
    As designers began to work with new materials and modular components, hard-to-assemble booths built with rigid infill panels and wooden construction have gone the way of the dinosaur. Find a design firm with a proven track record of creating booths that have big graphic impact but do not require a cast of thousands to set up.
  3. Rent – don’t buy
    Many large trade show design firms rent trade show components and booths. If your company only has one or two trade show events each year, or you need to get a larger booth just for one annual trade show, renting can be a great option.
  4. Buy a Used Trade Show Booth and Accessories
    Some companies trade in or sell off trade show displays frequently in order to update their display to match their latest ad campaign. A smart buyer can pick up a like-new display for a fraction of the original price. If you take this route, be sure to buy from a provider who refurbishes and customizes displays.
  5. Update your current Trade Show Display
    If your company already has trade show booths, take an objective look to see if they can be updated to fit your current needs for an affordable price. Be careful about investing in an outdated booth that is very costly to transport, assemble and operate because it can represent a false savings. However, sometimes the most cost-effective path is to update graphics, fabric and add new components to an existing booth.

If you’re ready to save money on your trade show budget, Let’s Talk.

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.