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Whether you’re purchasing or renting a trade show booth, there are plenty of ways for inexperienced exhibitors to blow their budgets. Here are a few of the most common ways companies misuse their trade show dollars — and how you can sidestep these pitfalls.
Procrastinators beware: there’s no way to speed-up the design and construction of your exhibit without accruing extra costs. Rush fees can add up quickly and eat into your ROI.
You’ll also pay 10-20 per cent more in show services (like electrical, phones, and cleaning services) if you order them at the last minute.
Solution: Reach out to an exhibit show house 6 months before the trade show to ensure you have ample time to create a booth that showcases your brand without blowing your budget.
Pre-order any show services you need a month in advance to avoid extra costs. Some exhibit houses, like ExpoMarketing, offer project management services to ensure clients meet the deadlines for discounts and benefit from reduced pricing.
A custom build can help your company stand out, but there can be hidden costs. The materials you use, as well as the shape and size of your booth, can inflate your drayage fees (what you’ll pay the show’s unionized staff to move your booth’s components from the truck to the show floor). So even if a custom wood booth is likely to turn heads at the show, it may not be worth it if it strains backs — and blows your budget.
Solution: Your exhibit house can help you value engineer your booth to reduce costs. One common solution is using modular components to achieve the same look and feel as a custom build, at a fraction of the cost.
Anything that isn’t attached to your booth — like hanging lights and signs — needs to be rigged by staff at the show. While it sounds like a small thing, rigging can actually cost you thousands of dollars and quickly blow your budget.
Solution: As you design your booth, make sure you know the rigging costs required for the flashier design elements. When possible, consider alternatives to getting the same look (like working lighting into the top of the booth, rather than suspending it overhead).
Sometimes, companies invest heavily in technology for their booths without considering how well it conveys their brand to customers or helps gather leads. Technological gizmos and gadgets are not only expensive to procure, but pricey to set-up and operate (remember that trade show services don’t come cheap).
And, of course, technology is often fragile and can break during transportation or on the show floor, creating unexpected repair costs.
Solution: Design your booth with customer experience in mind, not gimmicky tech trends. The technology you use in your booth should integrate well with your overall exhibit strategy and be transported, set-up, and operated without blowing your budget.
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