What you should know before you purchase your first booth.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE JUMPING IN TO YOUR FIRST BOOTH PURCHASE.
It isn’t hard but you need to educate yourself to save money and get a functional display !
Determine your budget. If it is low, concentrate on graphics, not hardware.Look on the internet, as it will get you the best pricing possible.. Exhibit producers have been around for decades and understand exhibits and trade shows. Originally, all booths were custom. Then exhibit systems evolved as an alternative to the high cost of custom craftsmanship. Now, there are multiple exhibit categories/hardware. All have distinct advantages and exhibit companies work hard to know the pluses and minuses of all of them. This is where an experiences sales consultant can be very useful. Ultimately, all exhibit salespeople should try to help you maximize your marketing potential at shows.
Be prepared for sticker shock. Many first time buyers are shocked by the price of even a 10 ft. portable exhibit. Exhibit manufacturing is a low volume, highly specialized operation.Figure on about $2-3K for a good 10’ unit, minimum. Around 4-8K for a 10x20’ etc.
Where to buy-who to buy from?
If you plan to exhibit more than once or twice, chances are you’ll work closely with a company that has been around for awhile. Shop around and base your decision on more than just price. Exhibit producers have years of experience about design, function, marketing , graphics and trade show tactics. Their knowledge will help you avoid the pitfalls that most inexperienced trade show marketers make. A mistake can cost you thousands, so go with a company that can DEMONSTRATE their knowledge.
Most exhibit producers or distributors work with manufacturers. Some distributors are exclusive to a system manufacturer, but the most knowledgable carry multiple exhibit systems. These distributors range from sales-only operations to complex operations that provide value-added services such as design, graphics, rental, and storage. Most are somewhere in between. The company that represents the most manufacturers usually has the best knowledge base. Find the guy that knows about all the systems out there, as he can point you to the right hardware.
Usually exhibits from the above sources are portable systems and in standard "kit" configurations. Most distributors have websites. Many allow you to order exhibits on their website with a credit card. Design and consultation are traditionally free. Lead times for portable display systems range from a few days to a few weeks, but rarely exceed three weeks unless the display is very large.
Don’t make a hasty decision when buying your display. You will have to live with it for many shows past the first one.. Planning ahead also provides time to correct errors and make last minute changes (which are not uncommon regardless of your careful planning).
Have a strategy
Your exhibit strategy should be consistent with your general marketing plan. Creating an exhibit marketing strategy may reveal what type of exhibit or exhibits are best suited for your company. If your company plans to attend numerous shows back-to-back using a 10 x 10 space, you may want to evaluate multiple exhibit purchases. If your company does a number of smaller inline booths along with a few major shows, then you’ll want to consider portable/truss type that is re-configurable.
Get a rendering or CAD--see it first.
You might work through several designs CADS and quotes until the booth suits you perfectly. This CAD service should be free. The rendering helps avoid mistakes by: seeing your graphics on a virtual booth design, seeing how pricing options can affect your look, determine booth proxemics (room) and determining the overall appearance from several perspectives
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