Trade Show TalesBlog

Rental Exhibits Aren’t What They Used to Be. THANK GOODNESS!

February 9th, 2011 1 COMMENT

We’ve Come a Long Way in Exhibit Rentals

Rental Exhibit

Rental Exhibit

Not so long ago, the choices were limited to pop ups, panel displays, and bent and dirty aluminum extrusion from the show contractor. You could spot a rental booth from clear across the show hall. All that has changed . . . Thank goodness! More often than not, you couldn’t spot a rental if you were staring at it. Rental exhibits are no longer cookie-cutter, off-the-shelf kits. Most manufacturers welcome modifying and customizing existing rental kits or creating new designs. They’re individually designed just like purchased exhibits.

On average, 25% of the overall cost of an island rental exhibit is custom components, not including the graphics. It’s really interesting because a large percentage of exhibitors understand this very clearly and have come to expect it. At Classic Exhibits, we work with new exhibitors all the time who are shocked by the amount of customization available with rental exhibits.

A great example of customization for a rental exhibit is a recent project we did for Griffin Technologies through our distributor–Tradeshow STOP in Nashville. A large portion of the exhibit consisted of our aluminum extrusion profiles, but we added custom cedar beams, interior wood walls, cabinets, and an electric fireplace with a mantle. This design also called for custom globe lighting. Griffin does a great job of adding finishing touches to their booth such as furniture and accessories. Last year they used a customized Volkswagen van that they drove from Nashville to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. It was a huge hit.

Rental Exhibit -- Griffin Technologies

Rental Exhibit -- Griffin Technologies

In today’s market, companies are renting for different reasons. In the past, it was all about saving money at the expense of design and functionality. Now they rent because they want a unique design for each show. Marketing managers become heroes because they give their companies a fresh look each and every time within a manageable budget. Quite often it’s as simple as adding accent wing panels, custom shelves, workstations, or curved extrusion that convinces everyone on the show floor that you own your exhibit.

Most rentals also include turnkey services, including the exhibit rental components, graphics, round trip shipping, and I & D services. This allows the marketing manager to focus on what they do best – Marketing.

Another factor to consider includes no more storage issues, which is a huge benefit for most companies. And in many states, there are user or personal property taxes that you have to pay for storing your exhibit in your own facility. Of course you also avoid added insurance costs.

The process of renting an exhibit is virtually the same as purchasing an exhibit, but once all of the decisions are made you can walk away from it. Plus you have a choice to either do the same exhibit for future shows, or head in an entirely different direction.

My favorite part of my job is to preview the exhibits. It’s gratifying to see the results of everyone’s hard work and effort that goes into every project. It’s especially rewarding with rental exhibits because I find myself shaking my head and saying, “Rental exhibits aren’t what they used to be. THANK GOODNESS!”

–Jim Shelman
General Manager, Classic Exhibits Rental Division

Trade Show Rental Exhibit

Trade Show Rental Exhibit


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One Response to “Rental Exhibits Aren’t What They Used to Be. THANK GOODNESS!”

  1. Erik Frost says:

    Well put, Jim. As someone who has worked closely with you on these and many other projects, it is rewarding to see how unique and compelling a rental exhibit can be. These sure aren’t the “old days”, are they?


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