In the United States, the saying “location, location, location” is commonly associated with real estate but is it equally important in buying your trade show exhibit space. In this two-part series, we will provide information that will help ease the stress of space selection by sharing information we’ve learned from our experience with global trade shows. Exhibitions are a marketing investment companies make and although the exhibit space is only rented for a particular show, careful thought should be given when selecting your location. When thinking about the ROI (Return on Investment) at each show, your location is an integral part of achieving the strategic goals for each trade show. Designing your exhibit is part of the process but what space will help maximize your success at the show?

Selecting the space for your company to exhibit may be complicated, so having a guideline will be helpful. Over the years, research has shown the tendency for American visitors entering an exhibition to turn to the right while Europeans turn left. Designing your exhibit to capture audience attention is important but so too is the location. Island spaces at the corners of the hall or peninsula configurations naturally set your exhibit apart from the others. A space around the perimeter can be an advantage but having your booth at the entrance may have a negative impact as attendees rush into the hall, your exhibit may be missed. Think about possible high traffic areas such as proximity to food service or restrooms. When considering how attendees move throughout the hall, remember there can be a downside to a congested area as it may have distractions that divert your customers’ attention away from a conversation or presentation.

Find out when you can reserve space and selection procedures so you can book early. Associations and trade show organizers have varied procedures regarding booking space. When you see the initial floorplan, select multiple possibilities because your first or second choice may not be available when it’s time to book your space. Some exhibitions work on a “point” system to reward companies for the number of years exhibited, size of space booked, or sponsorships. If the show is a point system booking procedure, you will be notified in advance the points your company has, date and time for selection. Your company may exhibit at a show that allows current exhibitors to secure the same location for the coming year and be wait-listed for larger spaces or locations that become available. There are also trade shows that sell space on a first come, first served basis. Whatever the booking process is for your shows, know the rules ahead of time so you don’t miss out on what you consider a prime location. If a space that you feel would be better for your company is already sold, contact the organizer to express your interest in case of a cancelation.

In Part 2 of this series, you can read more about guidelines for booth selection. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance in planning your next trade show or call 817-370-1400.