9 things to consider Before you buy A Trade Show DISPLAY

You’ve booked your first trade show. You’ve made all the deposits and ordered new staff t-shirts. Now you need a display. You know, the piece that is either going to make visitors stop and say, “Wow, tell me about your product!” or… not.

portable pop-up trade show display with a curved "S" shape for an Albertan First Nations group.
30ft portable event display with fabric backdrop walls, a curved overhead arch, rental seating and flooring, and a customized reception counter.

Oddly enough, some people are as afraid of building a new display as I am of spiders. And both fears are pretty irrational. When you drill it down, the fear of exhibit-building seems to be that, even with all the time and money invested, you’ll end up with a display that just won’t work for you. Maybe you, your company, or someone you know, has had a bad experience in the past. The display didn’t garner enough reaction at the show, or it was too difficult to set up or too expensive to ship. Take into consideration these 9 essential elements when deciding on what to get for your next trade show display:

Your exhibit supplier should know, from the very outset, what your top exhibiting goals are. Are you trying to sell product on the floor, meet and schmooze with leads, promote a new product or service? Or are you trying to make sure your brand gains more ground in your industry? Your goals should permeate every aspect of your exhibit, from the booth size, type of display, layout, in-booth activities and graphic design. A clear goal is the number one thing you need to know when organizing a new display!

This is crucial information. A booth designed for a 20′ x 20′ space can be difficult to reconfigure for a 10′ x 10′ space. Knowing what kind of space the display has to fill is the starting point for any booth design.

Turnaround times vary. A banner stand can be printed and installed in two or three days. A 20′ x 20′ custom display can take six weeks to complete. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your exhibit house as soon as possible, and to let us know exactly how much time is available to design and build your new exhibit.

If you only exhibit once a year, a rental display might be the right option for you. If you have a different event to attend every three weeks you want to make sure your display is highly portable, shippable, and sets up / takes down easily. By their very nature, trade show displays are prone to a lot of wear and tear. Knowing how much your display will have to face will help ensure the right materials are chosen for the job.

Some of our customers are happy to spend an hour setting up their modular 10′ x 10′ display. Others think spending 15 minutes on the setup is too much. What are your expectations? How many people will help you with setup? Or do you want to skip the manual labour and pay for install & dismantle services? Your expectations really drive the kind of display system that will work best for you.

A simple, non-retractable banner stand can be a few hundred dollars and an elaborate, custom 20′ x 20′ display can run into tens of thousands. Budget drives the size of the booth, the type of display options available, the materials used and the amount of customization available. If you’re reluctant to provide an exact number, or you’re not really sure, at least have a ballpark number available.

Some display systems take up more physical shipping space than others. There are lightweight options, and there are heavy ones. Do you need to pack this into the trunk of your car to get from show to show? Or are you shipping it all over the country and need a lightweight display to reduce shipping costs? How you plan on getting around, and how far you have to go, is an important consideration.

You’re thrilled with the 10’ x 20’ display that you saw in our showroom, but it happens to be a custom unit that packs into two larger cases. Where will it go once the trade show is over? If your office has a whole floor for storage, great! If not, consider what storage space you have available, and if that will add to your overall costs. Knowing in advance how small the display needs to pack can help plan the production process.

You have selected the shows that you want to attend and have your pre-show exhibit strategy and team in place. Will you need lots of storage space? Will you need two 60” monitors to run your product demonstration? Do you need a WiFi connection or a laptop hook-up? Trying to fit these items in after the display system has been designed and laid out can be a pain. Ensure that any extra needs you have for your space go into the initial planning stage. Think about demos, product display, and electronics, and pass that on to your exhibit house as early as possible.

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