4 Types of Overcrowding to Avoid in a Trade Show Exhibit

October 10th, 2017

When it comes to a trade show exhibit, some buzz around the booth is a positive thing. People will naturally be attracted to a display that looks busy, because those crowds act like a form of social proof lending credence to your brand. However, there can be too much going on at a trade show exhibit. People naturally avoid spaces that look too full or too difficult to move around in. There are a number of ways in which you can inadvertently create an overcrowded booth that deters visitors instead of attracting them. Here are 4 of these ways and what you can do about them.

A trade show exhibit can have too much furniture.

One overcrowding problem that occasionally afflicts displays is the presence of too much furniture. The same effect can also be achieved with furniture placed in the wrong locations. When people enter your booth, they want to be able to move easily throughout your space. A feeling of openness, therefore, is essential in drawing visitors to your display. When there is too much furniture (such as multiple tables, excessive numbers of chairs, or too many kiosks), these items can make the space feel small even before anyone sets foot in the door. Alternatively, furniture can be placed in such a way as to discourage easy movement. For example, a table placed in front of an entrance, or product displays in the middle of a walkway can make the trade show exhibit feel smaller. To avoid this problem, streamline your furniture to include only essential items. Then, with the help of your exhibit company, create an exhibit layout that maximizes easy movement through the booth. Even if you notice an overcrowding problem with your furniture while you are at the trade show, there are small changes you can make. For example, tuck the welcome table to the side, or scoot some chairs to the edge of the display in order to open your space up and encourage people to come in and explore.

A trade show exhibit can become overcrowded by too many product displays.

Since a trade show is a place where many people come to find new products (92 percent of attendees hope to do just that), it can be tempting to put your entire product line on display in order to maximize sales. The problem, however, is that adding too many products to your trade show exhibit can make it feel overcrowded and confusing for attendees. And that can actually reduce, not increase, sales. For example, if you bring 100 different kinds of perfume to your trade show exhibit, you may afflict attendees with analysis paralysis, the inability to make decisions because of too many options. In addition, when people walk by your booth, they may only see a jumble of bottles instead of a clear call to explore a cutting edge new scent. If people do not understand your messaging (and want to learn more) within a few seconds, they will never stop by your booth to begin with. Too many product displays can lead to too few visitors and too few sales. Instead, consider bringing only one or two of your flagship products to display. Make these the focal point of your messaging and your trade show exhibit design. Then, when people walk by, they will be attracted to the clean, focused display and the engaging marketing message, and you will earn more visitors overall.

A trade show exhibit can have too many staff members.

Another way in which you may unintentionally overcrowd your trade show exhibit is with a surplus of booth staff. A good rule of thumb is to have one staff member for every 50 square feet of open booth space. This means, for example, that a 10×10 booth (100 square feet) should have 2 people staffing it. More than that and your trade show exhibit may begin to look and feel overcrowded even before any visitors step inside. If visitors feel as if your booth is already crowded, they may choose to walk away. In addition, too many sales staff can make a trade show exhibit feel intimidating, since nobody wants to feel pressured to purchase, or to engage, with sales staff before they are ready. Instead, choose a few highly qualified employees to man your booth. If you stay within the 50 sq. ft./1 employee rule, you should have enough staff to handle the influx of visitors to your trade show exhibit, without having so many staff members that your booth feels overcrowded and intimidating. And, if you feel that you might have a couple of visitors waiting around during busy times, you can always build interactive displays and activities for engaging attendees into your trade show exhibit design. These features can keep people interested (and informed) while they wait to speak with a staff member.











A trade show exhibit can have too many visitors.

Finally, a trade show exhibit can have too many visitors. While crowds can be a positive thing for your business (and indicate a successful marketing campaign), too many people can deter others from visiting your booth as well. One rule of thumb is that more than 5 people within a 100 square foot space can make that space feel crowded. In order to avoid having too many visitors, first ensure that your booth is free of excessive furniture (That would make a normal number of visitors feel like too many), product displays (That would leave less room for people), and staff members. Second, make sure you have a plan for handling any unexpectedly large crowds. For example, create a space with ample seating for any events you plan to hold. Create a smooth flowing layout that encourages people to walk through your booth. And use a size that can accommodate the number of visitors you expect. When you do so, you reduce the chances that you will be caught with an over full trade show exhibit. Avoiding overcrowding is important if you are going to enjoy a successful trade show exhibit. By limiting furniture, product displays, staff, and visitors, you will set yourself up for just the right amount of business at your next trade show.