“There Can Be Only One.” (Great trade show booth location, that is!)
Every trade show manager dreams of walking into an exhibit hall and seeing their company’s trade show booth front and center, visible right through the open doors. But that doesn’t always happen. In fact, it almost never happens. (To steal someone else’s line, “There can be only one.”)
More often than not, smaller exhibitors get sent off to the far corners of the exhibit hall, away from the entrance and the food service area—even the restrooms. Being close to any of these landmarks usually assures greater traffic past your trade show displays.
So what do you do if you find yourself on the fringes of the show, rather than in the center of the action?
1) Normally, you’ll get this news long before the opening of the show. That’s good, because you can take action to overcome your poor location by making the most of your presence in other ways. This is where effective pre-show promotion, crafting a clear and memorable marketing message, and using competent booth staffers can pay big benefits.
2) Sometimes exhibitors cancel their plans to participate in a show, occasionally at the last minute, which could leave a prime exhibit space available to you—if only you knew about it. How do you make that happen? Ask. And ask nicely. Send a letter to show organizers asking them if, should a better booth space open up, you’d be able to move. Then, prepare yourself to relocate on short notice.
The worst that can happen is they’ll say “no.” In that case, you’re no worse off than you were before you asked. But if the best outcome happens, you’ll be at the top of the list when it comes time to shuffle exhibitors onto better real estate.
3) While show organizers might try to tell you that there’s no such thing as a bad booth location, some are naturally better than others. Every show and every exhibit hall has unique challenges and opportunities. For example, it might be better to be away from the center of the action if that’s where your competitor is.
An often-overlooked opportunity is to locate your trade show exhibit near where attendees will be walking to or from seminars. The path to that area may not look ideal on the show floor map, but it will get a lot of traffic during the show.
4) Depending on the show and its regulations, it may be possible to station a staffer near the front of the hall to let people know where you are. The first step is to identify a reason for people to visit your trade show booths: is it to see a product demo, sign up for a drawing, take advantage of special show pricing, pick up a promotional item, or some other compelling reason?
Once you’ve identified that reason, create a flyer with a map of the show floor, highlighting your location and reinforcing the reason for stopping by. Give your most gregarious booth staffers the responsibility for talking up attendees and handing out the flyers. Being chipper with strangers is draining work, so give them ample breaks during show hours to allow them to recharge.
5) There are times when a bad booth location can’t be identified on the show floor layout. Chances are, it won’t tell you which parts of the floor are poorly lit, so you might find yourself in a dark area that could be seen as unwelcoming. In that case, it helps to have your own lighting for your exhibit.
You might also find yourself trying to set up your booth under a low ceiling, or discover that a column either interferes with your booth layout or blocks the view of your booth from down the aisle.
There’s no quick and easy fix for these problems, but it never hurts to ask the show organizer if another booth location has opened up. If you’ve investigated prior to the show, you may be able to hide that ugly post with a banner tower display or turn that low ceiling into an attractive graphic. Better yet, if you asked nicely in advance, you might find someone in show management who’s moved by your plight and is willing to find you a different location.
6) Make your trade show displays work as hard as possible – you should do this always, of course, but it’s expecially important if you are trying to overcome a less-than-ideal location. You can do this in three ways:
I. Use bold, bright colors in your trade show graphics that allow your exhibit displays to stand out. And remember, “colorful” doesn’t necessarily mean “garish”; just remember that muted colors tend to blend in with the background.
II. Make proper use of signs and graphics. Use fewer of them and make them larger. Use words sparingly and don’t put text any lower than 36” from the floor (they simply won’t be seen).
People won’t take the time to read copy that’s too small or too dense, or to read the lengthy treatise describing your product that you so carefully wrote on your banner stands. Trade show graphics should be simple and colorful, designed to attract the eye and communicate your message quickly.
III. Keep the trade show booth simple and uncluttered. You don’t need to display every product your company sells. Instead, focus attention on the most popular or most interesting product. Keep your booth fresh by tuning up your booth frequently.
We want to be your primary trade show supplies resource when you’re planning your next show. Whether you need a totally new trade show exhibit or some great-looking banner stands or trade show graphics, American Image Displays can help you make the most of any booth location, good or bad. If you have questions or would like more information, call or email us today ([email protected]).