Time to Update Your Booth? Should You Rent or Buy?

At some point in their marketing life trade show exhibitors take a long, hard look at their booth and realize the magic has gone out of the relationship. That realization can be based on numerous factors:

1. Your Booth Has Seen Better Days

Are you currently the laughing stock of the trade shows you attend? Is your booth being held together with duct tape, twine and a prayer?

RENTAL - RE-9029 Island Design with Double Tower Structure, Lounge Lighting, (4) Workstation Kiosks, Curved Bridged Headers, Large Monitor Kiosks, and (2) RE-1205 Large Curved Counters

RENTAL – RE-9029 Island Design with Double Tower Structure, Lounge Lighting, (4) Workstation Kiosks, Curved Bridged Headers, Large Monitor Kiosks, and (2) RE-1205 Large Curved Counters

Maybe it even has coffee stains from three years ago.

A worn and battered booth does not favorably represent your organization and deters prospects from visiting and taking you seriously.

2. Your Booth No Longer Matches Your Message

Your organization may have recently done some re-branding, launched a new product, or entered a new vertical market.

Whatever the reason may be, it’s possible your old booth no longer matches your new corporate image or collateral.

If this is the case, you may need to set that booth out on the curb with a big FREE sign taped to it.

3. Your Booth is Too Small

It’s fine to exhibit from a cozy booth when you’re just starting out, but as your business grows, you’ll most likely discover you could use some more space for meetings, presentations, storage and demos.

It also doesn’t hurt to have a larger footprint and make a bigger impact at these events.

4. Your Booth is Too Big

Maybe your marketing budget has shrunk and you now find yourself wishing you had a smaller exhibit (at least for the next few years) to bring down your operating costs.

Maybe you’ve simply decided that your best strategy is to attend more small shows instead of a few colossal ones and you need something… quaint, but something that will still make you look like a leader in your industry.

5. You Need an Extra Booth for Those International Shows

Look at you, you hot shot – insinuating yourself into those overseas markets!

Instead of paying huge shipping costs and hassling with customs in order to send your booth over there and back, you’ll probably want to get a dedicated trade exhibit that you can store over there.

6. Conflicting Schedules Warrant Another Booth

As you find more trade show events you want to enter you’ll likely find some are scheduled at the exact same time or the shows are too close together and don’t give you enough time to ship and set up for the next event.

If this has been happening it may be time to pick up another booth.

7. A Certain Shipping Company Has Yet to Locate Your Exhibit

rental 10x20 hybrid trade show display with double sided kiosks and locking counters

rental 10×20 hybrid trade show display with double sided kiosks and locking counters

The sad reality is, each year numerous trade show displays get lost during shipping.

What are you going to do, mistakes happen…

The good news is, your shipping company might even admit responsibility and agree to pay for a replacement. If that happens, you may be able to afford a bit of an upgrade.

8. Your Current Booth is Extremely Hard to Set Up

When you were shopping for your last booth you focused more on glitz and glamor and didn’t really pay attention to how difficult the darn thing is to get up.

Maybe you got a “portable” display that is ridiculously heavy to carry around (you just love all the terse phone calls you get from your sales people) (and don’t even get started about the ridiculous shipping and drayage fees).

If one or more of the above had you fervently nodding your head, then you are ready for a new booth.

Now you have to decide whether you will buy or rent that new booth.

Here are some things to consider when comparing whether to buy or rent a trade show booth:

A) The Number of Trade Shows You Exhibit at Each Year

This is one of the biggest deciding factors.

If your organization exhibits at a good number of shows per year (five or more) then buying your booth may make the most sense. When shopping for a new display, just remember to factor in those additional costs like shipping, drayage, insurance, storage and maintenance.

If you typically only exhibit at two or three shows each year, then renting your booth is probably more cost effective.

In general, renting is about 1/3 the cost of purchasing, plus you don’t have to tack on storage, maintenance, and insurance fees.

But that’s not the end of the story. There are lots of other factors to consider!

B) You’re New to Exhibiting

New businesses typically attend only a few shows a year and operate under small marketing budgets. These organizations might benefit from renting their exhibits in a couple of ways:
• Renting would stretch their budgeting dollars which could then go toward marketing collateral, giveaways and show graphics.
• Renting allows new businesses the ability to try out different exhibit configurations and designs. Once they find what works, they can then buy their booth and repeat their success.

C) Multiple Shows at the Same Time

As we mentioned earlier, there may be times throughout the year when your organization must be represented at more than one event at the same time, including overseas. In this scenario it would make sense to own one booth and rent a second just on those occasions when needed.

D) Different Sized Booths Spaces at Your Shows

Many companies attend one major industry show each year, and want to make a grand impression. However, they may also be attending a dozen regional shows, with no place to put their big booth. Often in these cases, it makes sense to own the smaller displays and banner stands, but rent the big booth.

E) Changing Marketing Goals and/or Products

Many industries these days are changing very quickly, and companies may need to change their look, change their booth, and accommodate different products and different goals with almost every show. In this case, it may be less costly to rent, because it gives you the needed flexibility to handle your changing needs.

F) What Does Your Budget Say?

It’s not just the total cost – buying an exhibit means that display expenditure will remain part of your overall marketing budget for several years, while the cost of renting applies to a single budgeted year, and doesn’t involve storage, maintenance, or depreciation.

Your budget may also dictate which way to go when it comes to considering your initial investment. Owning may make a lot of sense to you for a few different reasons, but if your budget currently does not allow for a larger upfront cost, you may be forced to rent a few years until you can afford to buy. Take heart, renters don’t experience the dreaded depreciation that buyers do.

If you do have a large enough budget, consider what spending a large portion of it up front will mean for the rest of your marketing year? Will this budget allocation force you to skip other trade show events throughout the year?

As you can see, both buying and renting have their advantages and disadvantages. As long as you thoroughly assess your organization’s exhibiting needs and take careful consideration of your budget, you’ll be able to make the right decision.

If you got any questions about trade show booth rental options, let us help! We have lots of rental options for trade show displays, including hybrid modular booths, and turnkey truss display rentals and pop up booths and overhead hanging signs.

For more, check out why bigger isn’t always better or ways to make your trade show booth stronger.

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