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12 Essentials for Successful Exhibition Stand Budgeting
June 27, 2022

12 Essentials for Successful Exhibition Stand Budgeting

Even in the digital age, trade shows continue to be a major marketing vehicle and that trend looks set to continue.

It is estimated that up to 40% of businesses use or have used industry niche trade events to further their advertising reach and exposure to target markets.

There are plenty of components to take into account to achieve a successful event, and this article outlines key factors you should consider to ensure your budget will go far enough and cover all potential expenditure.

The following 12 essentials below cover the key areas that most exhibitions stands will require to be successful, and what you should expect to budget for.

1) Pre-Show Marketing

With an estimated 70% of visitors stating they already know which booths they intend on visiting before a trade show even begins, this clearly illustrates that pre-show marketing is critical.

Undoubtedly, people who attend shows do advanced research into which exhibitors will be present at the trade show.

This insight tells any exhibitors that they must make a concerted effort to promote their attendance as far and wide as possible.

Don’t rely solely on the trade show event organisers to promote your attendance.

Always use the best possible means to ensure existing clients and target audiences are made well aware of your intent to exhibit.

Direct mail, email marketing and social media are just three examples of this.

2) Exhibition Space

The next item on your budget should be the rental cost for your exhibition space at the event.

Most trade shows will offer shell schemes and space only stands ranging from just a few square metres, to expansive spaces that can house scores of people at any given time.

So make sure you know what size stand you realistically need and whether you can afford it.

Airwave 3D Exhibition Stand Design
An exhibition stand design can expect to demand up to 40% of your entire budget

3) Exhibition Booth Design

Once you have your exhibition space booked, the next item on your list is to hire a reputable exhibition stand design company.

Getting your exhibition stand design right is critical, so it’s not uncommon for an exhibitor to spend 40% of their total budget on their exhibition stand and booth space.

Make sure you speak to a firm that has experience of building stands at your desired trade show and can offer a variety of options that fall in line with your budget.

Have a clear idea of your budgetary limits, and try to keep the design and build costs inline with that target budget.

Finances can easily get exhausted and spent by adding unnecessary extras and by making too many design changes.

So have a clear idea of what you need, your objectives and how you want your business to be presented.

This will save time, costs and ultimately, disappointment.

4) Furniture & Flooring

An exhibition stand will look fairly unfinished and uninviting without furniture and flooring.

So make sure you allocate some of your budget towards these.

Always choose a quality of furniture that reflects the professionalism of your brand image.

Go cheap and the final finish could be disastrous.

Having custom furniture and flooring that matches your organisation’s branding is a great idea, but it can be expensive.

If you can afford it, great.

But if not, there are a lot of great looking options out there that will offer a suitable solution that will tie into the look you’re trying to achieve.

5) Electrical Installation

Another requirement that is easily overlooked is electrical installation on your booth.

With most stands requiring lighting, as well as power for laptops, tablets, AV equipment and presentation screens, you’ll need plenty of electrical sockets that will need carefully hiding away from view.

Speak to your exhibition stand designers about this need, as most can take care of this requirement for you.

If not, hire a qualified electrician to handle the work.

Like this article? Then try reading: 10 Trade Show Giveaway Ideas That Actually Work

6) Technology & WiFi Connectivity

Most exhibitors heavily rely on tech and internet connectivity to add maximum impact to their exhibition.

Whether you want to offer free Wi-Fi as a way to attract visitors to your stand, or to simply utilise it to help your sales team present your products or services better, technology nowadays is a must have.

So make sure you budget for all necessary tech expenses and to have internet connectivity installed on your booth.

7) AV & Presentation Equipment

Audio and video, as well as other presentation media is a must on an exhibition stand. Stands that lack engaging or interactive content have been shown to have far less success.

Make sure you allow for a suitable budget to cover costs for hardware such as screens, computers and media players, as well as all necessary cabling, speakers, and peripherals. Exhibitions stands can be expansive spaces, so cables may need to stretch over a large area, so costs can stack up.

8) Installation & Dismantling

Don’t presume your exhibition design company will install and dismantled your booth. Many firms do not include this service in their pricing.

Firstly, try to negotiate a full delivery, installation and dismantling fee into the cost of your booth design. If that’s not possible, you need to ensure you can make arrangements to have your stand delivered to the trade show, well in advance of the event and to have it erected to your exact specifications.

Make sure you hire a team that is fully experienced at installing trade show booths at events. Getting the wrong people could be a costly exercise and may jeopardise the success of your exhibition.

9) Travel & Accommodation

If your trade show is located at a distance from your company headquarters, you’ll no doubt need to arrange accommodation for yourself and your exhibition team.

The temptation is to always go for the cheapest options however, if your trade event spans several days, you’ll want to ensure your sales staff are well rested at the end of each long day. Cheaper accommodation may not provide the comfort they need to fully recharge.

So budget for accommodation that is suitable and rewards them with a good nights rest after each event day and ensures they’re ready to perform at their very best the next day.

10) Employee Costs

Trade events invariably run from very early to very late. A normal trade event day could well exceed a normal day’s working hours. So make sure your staff are paid accordingly for the time they put in.

You may want to incentivise performance through bonuses per sale or warm leads. Or you may want to remunerate them simply by paying overtime.

Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you have fully budgeted to cover the additional staff costs involved in paying for their time and effort.

11) Literature & Giveaways

Trade show giveaways shouldn’t be an option, but a must if you want to be remembered and successful at an event.

Whether you want to handout simple leaflets or promotional literature, to more flamboyant branded items such as clothing, USB memory sticks, phone cases and chargers, ebooks or smartphone apps, you must set aside a budget.

The costs associated with giveaways can vary greatly, so have a clear idea in mind what you want to give away long before the event, otherwise you’ll struggle to effectively budget for the production costs.

12) Food & Drink

Every stand needs to have a few basic necessities such as water, light drinks, snacks and candy, if only to keep your team refuelled during busy periods.

You may want to offer more elaborate foods to offer to trade show attendees as a means to invite them into your booth and strike up conversation.

Whichever route you decide to take, ensure you effectively budget for food and how you intend to store the food, whether by refrigeration or in a secure locked storage area.

Food and drink is still one fo the best ways to break the ice with potential customers, so add a sufficient budget to your plans to cover for this need.

Budgeting is never easy

As you can tell, budgeting for a trade show is not an exact science but by having a clear understanding of the absolute necessities your exhibition stand will require, will undoubtedly give you a much clearer idea of how much money you will want to allocate to the entire event.

With a clear list of must haves, you’ll be far better equipped at budgeting for the event, so that you can calculate the numbers necessary to achieve a good return on investment.

Doug Ramsey

Doug is the Operations Director at Rock Solid Exhibitions. When he is not busy penning new blog posts for the company website, he is heavily involved in the design and build of numerous client exhibition stands at trade shows all over the UK and across Europe. Doug is passionate about delivering incredible exhibition booths to businesses of all sizes and loves to offer insight and opinion on our blog using his extensive experience within the industry. To find out more from Doug or to discuss an exhibition stand design, contact us on 01483 338978, email us or follow us on social media.