Pick the Best Location For Your Next Trade Show Booth!
Trade shows are a great way to raise awareness about your brand and connect with a core of passionate consumers and potential partners. That’s why it’s important to go in with a strong presence and maximize your investment into the event. The ways you choose to use to engage with the often over-stimulated crowd at a trade show will determine your success. It’s not enough to just show up, you need to have something that everyone will want to see. This is especially the case when you’re choosing your trade show booth design and even more so when deciding where to place your trade show booth. Here’s a guide to ensuring a great trade show experience wherever you go.
Know the Show
While there are a lot of similarities between all trade shows, each one has its own details and guidelines. Things like booth height, width, content, energy needs and other factors of setup and display will have specifications within these guidelines. It’s important to pay attention to these elements and follow them to the letter, especially if you plan on participating in the same show in future years. Trade show organizers often show preference for organizations that make their jobs easier, so give them every reason to like you and invite you back.
The physical presence of your display says a lot about the image your organization projects into the trade show, especially if you’re a repeat participant. Small booths suggest small businesses, but an organization that switches from a large booth one year to a smaller booth the next year looks like the company is shrinking.
Be cognizant of what your trade show booth design says about your organization. Also be aware of what your competitors are doing with their own booths. You want to differentiate your own trade show display, but you don’t want to get into an escalation pattern that has you accidentally overdoing it.
You’ll often get the chance to select a particular space from among several options according to your booth’s size, so it’s a good idea to approach the show location on an individual basis. If possible, survey the space beforehand and go for a location that’s easy to see from a variety of angles.
Things that block the view of your booth like columns, low lighting and larger displays should be avoided if you have the chance. This is especially important in larger trade shows where visitors might not get a chance to go to every booth.
Know Your Audience
There are different philosophies out there about whether or not to position your trade show booth in close proximity to other attractions like food, entertainment or exits. Doing so isn’t inherently good or bad, though it is highly dependent on who you’re trying to reach.
Organizations that are trying to raise awareness of their brand to the largest number of people can really benefit from positioning themselves in areas with high but indiscriminate traffic. In that case, offering a promotional gift or some other reason for passers-by to stop is the smart play.
On the flip side, organizations with highly targeted demographics will only get caught up in the confusion of a high-traffic area. It will be nearly impossible to differentiate the people you want to attract from the people just heading out to lunch.
The Benefit of Islands
Savvy trade show participants can get a lot of mileage out of an island booth if they know how to use it. Island displays have their own unique challenges compared with perimeter displays, but they also offer an increased level of visibility. While visitors only see a perimeter booth when they’re in its general region, they see island booths as they make their circuit around the entire show. Of course, this means that island booths need to give them something to look at from all angles.
An attractive, 360-degree display can do the trick, especially if you’re sharing the island with another participant. This brings up another benefit of island booths: cost-saving sharing. Many trade shows will allow participants to share a larger island space in a back-to-back setup, allowing both to have a choice booth space without having to pay for the full area they may or may not be able to use anyway.
Bringing your trade show booth on the road or even abroad is a great way to reach out to more people, but it’s also a recipe for confusion. Different regions have different requirements for booths and the people may have behavioral quirks that need to be understood. For example, American trade show visitors tend to start on the right side of the trade show floor, but European crowds have a tendency to veer left first.
It’s also important to remember that you’re interacting with people, not just potential customers, colleagues and stakeholders. Get to know the regional slang and etiquette. People are more likely to stick around for more info if they believe you’re polite and thoughtful.
Competitors and Breathing Room
If possible, don’t position your trade show booth in close proximity to your chief competitors. Nothing good can come from asking visitors to immediately compare and contrast your respective organizations. Many trade show organizers will be happy to tell you who your neighbors on the floor will be, so do your research and choose a location that lets visitors focus on what you have to offer, not who you’re trying to outrun.
It may seem like you’ll want to position yourself in the areas with the highest traffic, but there are hidden problems with being in a busy space. If your booth is somewhere with a lot of traffic or a reason why visitors may stop and crowd around, like free food, your booth might get lost in the congestion. Be smart about monitoring the projected flow of the crowd so you only have as many visitors as you can handle.
Just participating in a trade show is a good way to build your organization’s brand, but showing up with a good plan and an awareness of your space will ensure that your trade show experience is the best it can be. Keep an eye on those guidelines, regional differences and neighbors to do every trade show right.
Can we help with your upcoming requirements? Did we miss any of your favorite tricks? Please share in the comments below.
For more, check out whether you should rent or buy your trade show booth or when to rent a booth instead of buying.