Tips for Choosing Your Trade Show Display Space

November 30th, 2015

SXSW trade show UK booth

The very first step in developing your trade show exhibit is to select your display space. Whether you realize it or not, this space will have a significant impact on how your display performs. In addition, its location and size will have an effect on your trade show exhibit design. As a result, it is important to put careful thought into which space you reserve. Following are a few tips for selecting a trade show display space that will maximize both the effectiveness of your design and the success of your display. 

Decide how much space you need for your trade show display.

When choosing your display space, you should first decide how much space you need. There are a number of factors that will impact the size you choose. The first of these is your budget. You will likely be dealing with a set amount of money that will need to cover both your trade show booth design and other expenses, such as reserving your display space. As a result, you may need to choose between having a larger space and a less expensive display or having a smaller space and more expensive custom exhibits. You should also plan about 25-50 square feet per sales person in the booth, and will need to make sure you have enough room for visitors to move around comfortably. A booth that requires private meeting rooms, for instance, may require more space than a booth designed simply to showcase new products.

Reserve your space early.

When you reserve your space can make the difference between landing a prime location and setting up shop in a neglected corner of the exhibit hall. The earlier you reserve your space, the more chance you have of getting the right location for your needs. Some trade shows allow you to reserve your space a full year in advance. As a result, consider checking into space reservations on the first day of the current year’s trade show. Doing so allows you to find out which spots have already been given to repeat exhibitors and gives you time to scout out the best available location for your own display. If you can land a great spot a year in advance, you give yourself and your exhibit company significantly more time and options for creating an impactful trade show exhibit.

Strategize around traffic flow.

Besides display size, traffic flow is perhaps the number one consideration when choosing a display space. There are two factors to consider regarding traffic flow. First, in general, the more traffic you get past your booth, the more visitors your booth will receive. To this end, locations near intersections, restrooms, restaurants, meeting rooms, and other busy locations are ideal.

The other factor to consider is how traffic moves around. Entrances are notoriously congested, with attendees distracted by the need to find their way inside. A booth located directly next to an entrance, therefore, may actually fare worse than one a bit further back. In addition, booths on the right hand side of the exhibit hall may fare better than those on the left, at least in the United States. The reason is that attendees move through the exhibit hall from right to left, in imitation of how they drive. Your ideal display space should hit the sweet spot between high traffic and easy movement.

SEE ALSO: Creating Trade Show DisplaysCreative Trade Show Displays

Take your competition into consideration.

The location of your competition is another consideration when choosing your trade show display space. Often, you can get a map that will pinpoint spaces that have already been reserved. This map (or a quick conversation with event coordinators) should tell you where your competitors’ booths will be located. In general, it is wise to avoid being too close to your competition.

At the same time, you may benefit from being in the same general area as your competition in order to take advantage of the presence of event attendees who are interested in your products and services. If you choose to pursue this strategy, you will need to make sure you hire a skilled exhibit company to produce a display that will draw attention away from your competition and to your business.

Inspect the exhibit hall yourself before reserving space.

There are many other factors to consider when choosing a display space. Most of these will require you to actually see the event floor before you make your decision. For instance, the exact layout of displays, the placement of poles and walls, the heights of the ceiling, and the exact flow of traffic can only be determined by a walk-through of the space. As a result, make sure you examine the exhibit hall yourself before you reserve your display space. You want to avoid showing up at the event to find a pole blocking you from attendees’ view, or to discover that your display is too tall. Once you know for sure that your space will meet your needs, you can reserve the space for the upcoming trade show.

Choosing your display space is far from a simple task, because it really does matter where your display is located. Good locations will enable you to create a trade show exhibit that accurately and powerfully communicates your message. Once you know the size and location of your space, you can plan with your exhibit company for a display that takes full advantage of that space. The result of a smartly-chosen display space will be a better trade show exhibit, more visitors, more leads, and a more profitable event.