How Much Do Booth Tables At Trade Shows Really Cost?

don't block the boothYou might think this is a silly question. Or perhaps you’ve already asked the same question yourself at some point. But from my perspective, booth tables at trade shows can be the most expensive thing in your exhibiting budget.


Often, small exhibitors (the 10×10 kind) take the table and chairs that come as a package with the space rental. Then they position their table directly across the front of the trade show booth. And they sit behind that table, waiting for prospects to stop by so they can take their orders.

I’m here to tell you that approach is costing you a fortune!

Those booth tables are big obstacles in front of your display, and they’re keeping people from getting into your exhibit. Even if there were room to squeeze in past the end of the table, attendees would feel trapped there. So they rarely make the effort. And since they can’t get near the backwall display, where your products are displayed, they can’t see the products, and they can’t place an order.

So that table is costing you every order that doesn’t get taken. Why?

Because show attendees would rather not enter that confined space in your exhibit. This can be the difference between success and failure at a show, just because of the way you chose to arrange the furniture.

The smart exhibitors position their booth tables along one side of their trade show booth space (from front to back). They put it there to display a few products or catalog sheets. Maybe it also supports the badge scanner, tucked in the back corner of the booth.

They lay out their trade show booths this way so there’s an unimpeded flow into the exhibit space. This allows attendees to easily come in off the aisle. They can have a more private conversation with a staffer and check out the exhibit’s backwall display, where product samples (or product photos) are on display.concierge booth table- table top banner displays

Here are a few more suggestions on how the smart ones do things:

1) Position booth tables along one side of your booth, from front to back.

This leaves the front of your exhibit open to visitors, who can see and touch your products or whatever you have displayed on your backwall. You can display small product samples on the table, along with literature and your badge scanner or lead-taking forms.

Some exhibitors place a candy dish on their table at the end furthest from the aisle, so visitors need to enter the booth to take a piece of candy. While candy-takers aren’t always your best leads, they are “captive” in your booth for a moment, which gives you time to ask a qualifying question. This can begin a discussion to determine whether the visitor is a real prospect or not.

2) Position the booth table along the back of your booth, from side to side.

Maybe you hadn’t thought of this layout before, but it can make sense.

If your backwall backwall display doesn’t feature a product message that would be obscured by the table, you can display products and even demo your product on this table in the background.

It still leaves seventy square feet or so of your trade show exhibit open to the aisle. Attendees can easily enter and exit (and believe me, they’re looking for an easy exit before they make their entrance).

You should be near the front of the booth, inviting people in to see your product in action. But even if you’re inviting them to get a closer look at a photo, the layout assures them that they won’t feel trapped once they come inside.

3) Give the table back to the decorator.

Maybe you don’t even need booth tables. It’s possible that your modular booth’s packing case transforms into a counter. And that may be all the space you need to do what you have to do. If so, a table would just be cluttering up your trade show booth space.

MOD-1430 Charging Station Coffee Table with (8) USB Ports and Graphics

Trade Show end tables with built-in charging stations

This has to be a well thought out process, not just a spur of the moment idea.

Your display’s graphics will have to do a better job of explaining who you are and what you do, since you won’t have a table to display your product on. The backwall display can display images of your product, of course. But a percentage of your prospects will always be kinesthetic learners, who like to get their hands on the thing they’re learning about.

If this is the route you want to take, talk with your booth designer about how you can integrate product messaging and images into your backwall display and the counter wrap for the booth’s case, as well.

4) Whatever you do, get rid of the chairs. Yes, we know that standing on your feet all day is hard. That’s why they call it “work.” But who wants to do business with someone who’s sitting down, while they’re standing?

Even with awesome booth tables, it simply looks unprofessional to sit in your booth all day and wait for people to come to you. For smaller exhibitors, it’s better to stand near the front of your booth space and make small talk with attendees. Then, turn that talk into qualifying questions.

Once an attendee answers your question, you can offer to show him or her how your product or service can solve their problem or make their work easier in some way.

Treating your table and chairs differently at your next trade show will likely have a big impact on your results. It seems so simple, but it’s amazing how often exhibitors make a misstep in this area. If you need help with any part of your trade show exhibit, from backwall display itself to graphics and accessories, let American Image Displays help you. Call (888) 977-8076 or email [email protected].

For more, check out the best location for your booth or why bigger isn’t always better with trade show booths.