Choosing Rental Displays: Why Rentals are Increasingly Popular

September 28th, 2015

There is no one size fits all solution for a trade show exhibit. Some companies thrive off of custom rentals, while others find that purchasing their own custom display or combining purchased and rented elements gives them the highest return on their investment. However, a recent uptick in the number of companies looking for rental exhibits demonstrates the appeal that a cost-effective, low-maintenance, high-impact display solution can have. As you consider whether or not to rent your next exhibit, taking your budget, storage, exhibiting frequency, and customization needs into account should help you to decide.


Businesses are, by necessity, often driven by the bottom line. A marketing budget can only stretch so far, and if you find yourself faced with thinning resources or an uncertainty regarding the ROI that event exhibiting will provide, you may be hesitant to take the plunge into custom trade show displays. Meanwhile, trade show exhibit rentals offer a tantalizingly low cost (up to a third of the cost of an entirely custom design) and require little commitment (you return the rental at the end of the trade show) and few maintenance, storage, or transportation expenses.

Many companies are now doing the math and deciding that these low-cost features make rentals a smart choice for one-time exhibits and small budgets. Considering the fact that rentals can often be designed to look nearly as high-end as a custom display and tend to hold their own against more expensive exhibits in terms of visibility and appeal, businesses are increasingly finding these cost savings to be irresistible.

Storage and Logistics of Rental Displays

Of course, money is not the only factor that influences purchasing decisions, especially when it comes to the trade show exhibit. A company may have the money in the budget to pay for a custom display but find that, when weighed against other considerations, rental exhibits are a more practical choice for their needs. One of these factors is the company’s ability to store and maintain a display. Since displays tend to be large and heavy, they often require large spaces (and added expense) to safely transport and store.

Companies that lack this kind of space have a couple of options: Rent space from an exhibit company, or choose rental displays that do not require maintenance and storage. In these cases, convenience becomes a powerful motivator in the decision to rent. Not only does the company save money, but they also no longer need to worry about the logistics of maintaining, storing, and transporting the display. As a result, custom rental exhibits offer a flexibility and practicality that make them an appealing option for many businesses.

Frequency of Exhibits

At one-quarter to one-third the cost of custom exhibits, rentals offer a clear cost-saving option for companies who choose to display at only one or two trade shows a year. This is why many businesses that are just starting in event exhibiting choose rentals—they can test the profitability of trade show exhibiting with a minimum of financial risk.

Eventually, of course, the cost of repeated rentals will add up. For instance, if a rental costs a third of a custom display, a company will exceed the cost of a custom display when it attends more than three trade shows in a year. As a result, frequent exhibitors may find custom displays to be a more financially prudent choice. However, for businesses that only exhibit once a year, or who are not sure they want to exhibit on a regular basis, rentals can be a cost-saving move. Being able to inexpensively obtain a customized and high-end display can make participation in the trade show world not only possible but desirable.

SEE ALSO: Six Steps for Choosing the Right Exhibit Company

Customization Needs

One of the great advantages of trade show booth displays today is the fact that virtually every option is customizable. Even rental exhibits can be customized to suit the branding and messaging of the company using the exhibit. While there is no doubt that a custom trade show exhibit design achieves the highest level of customization by allowing companies to build their displays to their specifications, rental exhibits offer their own customization advantages. For instance, they allow the company to tailor the look and message of the display to every trade show they attend. By targeting their message to the specific professionals at each trade show, companies may be able to garner more visibility, interest, and leads.

In addition, rentals provide design solutions that enable businesses to meet design challenges presented by varying exhibit sizes and shapes. For instance, a smaller trade show may require a smaller display, while a larger trade show may require a more impactful exhibit. If a company wants to attend both shows, it may benefit from renting instead of purchasing so that it can select just the right display for each show.

Rental exhibits also allow businesses to more efficiently keep up with the latest design trends and strategies utilized by their competition. A new strategy incorporated by the competition at one display can be integrated into a company’s next rental for the next trade show. 

Choosing the type of display that is best for your company requires careful thought. Only you can answer the questions about how your business’ storage, customization, competition, and exhibition needs interact to determine the best display option for you. However, the design services of an experienced exhibit company are no longer limited just to custom displays. Now, many businesses like yours are also benefiting from the flexibility and affordability that rental displays provide, allowing companies of all sizes and budgets to make the most out of their trade show exhibiting.