Whether you’re new to exhibiting at tradeshows or a seasoned #eventprof, picking the right booth is critical to your success at your next tradeshow. There is an art and science that goes into booth picking including the (1)size (2)placement (3) customization (4) swag selection.
This article provides an overview about considerations when picking a booth for your next show.
1. Booth size – Booth size does matter and, obviously, the bigger the better. However, buying the biggest, baddest booth at the show may give you a great traffic draw and brand awareness but booth sponsorships come with a high price tag. In picking the size of your booth, you need to know your show’s overall budget and how important this show is to your businesses’ bottom line.
- What percentage of attending show companies fit your target list?
- Are the right decision makers from these companies going to this show?
- Is your focus at this show primarily lead gen and brand awareness or is the focus on strategic prospecting meetings and relationship building?
If your focus is on booth traffic, general lead generation, and/or brand awareness, opting for a larger booth space and more booth staff might be the right solution for you. If your focus is more strategic in terms of one-on-one prospecting meetings and to strengthen existing customer relationships, you can get away with only a small 10×10 booth size or no booth at all.
2. Booth placement – The second most important factor in choosing your booth, which is arguably more important than size, is booth placement on the show floor. Again, you can have the biggest & baddest booth on the show floor but if you have poor placement, your foot traffic is greatly going to suffer. Especially if we’re talking about some of the massive Las Vegas tradeshows where the show could span over miles in multiple convention center floors and multiple building locations. If the show is on the smaller side (up to a few thousand attendees vs. hundreds of thousands of attendees), a 10×10 booth space may be the right fit and price but placement is going to make or break your show.
The best place to put your booth is as central and as close as possible to the show hall entrance where you’ll get the most amount of traffic. Those are normally premium booth locations and are often sold out a year in advance as they’re bought by companies who’ve attended that show ever year. If you can’t lock down a premium spot, talk to your show event manager about what activities are happening on the show floor.
- Is there a fun, gaming area?
- Where is lunch or cocktails going to be held?
Determine what spots on the show floor automatically draw foot traffic. Once you’ve determined show floor traffic hot spots, find the best placement on any corner facing those areas. That way people have to walk by your booth or will see your booth when they’re headed to grab a snack or a drink. When is the best time to pick your booth placement for next year to get a better spot? At the show. Many shows host their following year’s booth selection on-site so if you’re looking to upgrade your space for next year, make sure to snag the best location right then and there a year in advance.
3. Customization – Once you’ve determined your booth size and location, you need to figure out what’s going in your booth. If you’re trying to go guns a blazin’ to your industry’s hottest show of the year, don’t buy an expensive booth space and fill it with one long table, two chairs, and a pull-up banner. You just spent a bunch of money on your booth space so should fill it with something that’s compelling enough to get people to want to stop by and talk to you. Plus, you don’t want to look like a tradeshow amateur (even if you are! Fake it ‘til you make it, right? ;).
You can work with a custom booth vendors or work with the show provided vendors to create an interesting space that also fulfills your show needs.
- Is your brand/logo/message clear in your booth space?
- Are you going to host meetings in your booth? If so, do you need a comfortable seating area where your sales reps and prospects can have a seat and chat?
- Are you going to be running product demos or any kind of video? Are you showcasing new physical products?
- Do you want people to come over to your booth and hang out or do you want to create a space where people can just stop by quickly for answers or info?
Even if you have a small booth space, it’s important to create as custom and as inviting a space as possible, even if you’re on a tight budget. There are many ways to add special touches to your booth space where the cost is low but the impact is high.
4. Bringing that show swag – Tradeshow swag, also known as promotional giveaways, is more important than you might think. Attendees have obviously come to this show to learn and to meet solution providers and partners…but who doesn’t love free stuff? It’s standard at all tradeshows to bring cheap, little giveaways that you can hand off to attendees on-site to draw traffic and potentially start a conversation that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.
The same hold trues for show swag as for filling your booth space, so try to think outside of the box instead of handing out the same cheap pens as the booth next to you. Cool swag, (like stuffed animals!) works time and again as major booth traffic draws at shows. Once someone starts walking around with a cool item, other people stop and ask where they got that cool item. Then those people tell their colleagues and other show attendees and they walk over to your booth to hunt it down.
Other great booth traffic draws are giveaways for high end items, offering some sort of drink (like coffee or water – which are always in high demand at these shows) or food item, or anything or anyone fun where people want to come to your booth to check this thing out.
Still unsure about your booth specifications? Maybe you don’t need a booth at all…