What You Should Know about Trade Show Booth Selection
- Trade show exhibit booth space is assigned based on booth size and show seniority
- Location is only one factor in selecting an ideal exhibit booth space
- Keep some distance between you and your competitors
- Restrictions on height can vary by show and by country
In general, trade show booth spaces are assigned based on an exhibitor’s past participation in the show (seniority). Exhibitors who attended in the past are contacted first and allowed to select their space. New exhibitors are contacted later.
You can usually draw a triangle from the entrance of the show hall to determine where the highest demand spaces will be; however, there are always other spaces with good visibility and high traffic depending on the show hall. For new exhibitors with a sharp eye, prime spaces may be available later in the selection process. It is not uncommon for exhibitors to cancel their reservation, sometimes months and even weeks before the show. Show organizers are happy to move you into a more favorable location if they know you are willing to relocate.
It’s Not Just Location
Location is only one factor for a successful show. Pre-show promotion, a clear marketing message, and trained tra booth staff are generally more important than good booth placement. However, having a space with the highest traffic pattern for your booth size is always a plus.
What Booth Size to Select
In addition to your budget, consider factors such as the projected attendance, how much space your competition has committed to, how many employees will staff the booth, and how much space is required for products, demos, meetings, etc. You will also want to consider your anticipated growth in the industry. Be careful not to send the wrong message. Downsizing from a 20′ x 30′ island booth to a 20′ x 20′ island is rarely an issue. But, going from a 20′ x 30′ island to an 10′ x 10′ inline may suggest your company’s financial health and marketing commitment is questionable.
7 Selection Tips
Once you know the booth size, consider these tips when making your selection:
- Large expensive display booths are generally located near the show hall entrance. They typically fan out and give way to smaller booth spaces toward the back and perimeter.
- Keep some distance between you and your closest competitors.
- Consider the architecture of the facility. Be aware of columns and variations in ceiling height.
- Look for opportunities to stand out. Often, there are great opportunities away from the entrance or in another hall that can give you an advantage. Consider exhibiting near the restaurant entrance or in a space flanked by primary traffic aisles.
- There are restrictions on height. Some shows strictly enforce these regulations. Don’t assume the regulations in the United States are the same in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They’re not.
- Don’t discount perimeter booth spaces. Perimeter spaces often allow full height exhibits (up to 16 ft.). This advantage, along with placement at the start or end of high traffic aisles, can attract lots of attendees.
- Consider splitting an island booth space with another company. Many shows allow two exhibitors to share a booth space and divide it to suit. An island can be converted into two peninsulas for example.