Karin Roberts, Director of Marketing for The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group has created a piece with great insight to exhibit options and configurations. The conclusion of the article will be released Wednesday, March 30.
Not all trade show booths are created equal. Each type of display has its proper place, depending on the size of the show, your marketing objectives and your budget. Some companies use different types and sizes of exhibits for different shows, while others rely on just one exhibit for all shows. Knowing your options for trade show displays will help you choose and plan wisely.
What constitutes a display?
A trade show display, or an exhibit stand as the Europeans call it, is a graphical display device designed to be used at an event, trade show or trade fair to convey your marketing messages and represent your brand. Exhibit types range from pop-up devices and tabletop displays to typical 20 by 20 foot exhibits to giant, custom booths that make a big statement.
Types of trade show displays
Displays available for purchase vary greatly in size, cost and complexity, but all are designed to visually represent a specific solution, product, or strength of the company. Trade show displays use bold graphic images and powerful messages to attract attention and visitors to the exhibit space. The space itself should be designed to fit the marketing activities you plan for the show, whether you want sales representatives to give a company pitch in person, show a video demonstration, hand out brochures, provide educational information, or capture prospects’ names and validate their need for your products and services.
Custom exhibits: Available for rental or purchase, custom exhibits are generally larger than a simple booth. The exhibit is custom designed for the booth space and fabricated from a variety of materials, based upon the design and the needs of the exhibitor.
Custom exhibits often incorporate hard wall panels to create rooms and separate spaces, stages, large metal structures, display and work stations, and other components. Because of their size and complexity, custom exhibits cannot normally be set up by the exhibitor’s staff. Most shows require that large booths be set up by using the services of an approved onsite labor source, whether through the show’s general contractor or a labor contractor approved by show management.
Modular exhibits: Standardized exhibit structures or modules are used to create the booth, which falls somewhere between a pop-up trade show display and a heavy-duty panel and frame system. A modular display is designed to fill the entire exhibit space. The structural elements may be a metal framework or a thin, lightweight
panel construction, which is then configured within the confines of the structure limitations to what the exhibitor requires. A study by Trade Show
Week Magazine showed that modular exhibits weigh, on average, about 60% less than traditional custom exhibits, which makes them less expensive to ship. The modular nature of the components means that they can be typically easily reconfigured into new layouts as the exhibitor may require from show to
show. Depending on the size and weight of the components, modular displays can be transported in small traveling cases, often made of injection-molded plastic, and checked on an airplane or transported in a small vehicle, rather than being shipped by truck.
Portable displays: A portable or pop-up display is typically a small background piece for a booth space, such as a display wall or graphic panel. A pop-up display is constructed for ease of use and set-up. Pop-ups incorporate a flexible graphic panel, made of fabric or other man-made material, which is attached to a spring-loaded roller on which the graphic winds for storage. When ready to display, the graphic can be pulled up and then secured to a support post at the back of the roller, which holds the graphic taut in place. Most often curved in shape, pop-ups also are now popular as straight walls with attached fabric mural graphics. Pop-ups can be used individually, or in a series, as needed. Like tabletop displays, they are normally very lightweight and can be easily transported in small traveling cases, without needing much, if any, on-site labor support for set-up. However, some shows require labor for elements such as electricity so it is important to check the show rules before assuming you can handle all the set-up yourself.
Sizes and configurations of trade show displays
The typical booth size in North America starts at 10 by 10 feet (3 by 3 meters). Exhibitors can typically rent space at trade show events in multiples of the standard 10 by 10 foot space. For example, renting two 10 by 10 foot spaces beside each other would form a 10 by 20 foot space; renting four 10 by 10 foot spaces in a square would form an exhibit space of 20 by 20 feet (6.1 m by 6.1 m). In Europe and Asia, exhibit spaces are typically measured in one-meter increments, with the smallest typically being 3 by 3 meters (9.8 by 9.8 feet).
The show floor is organized by arranging the various exhibitors based upon their booth spatial requests. Regardless of geography, the realities dictate that all displays on a trade show floor will fall into one
of several configurations:
- Linear booth (in-line booth): An exhibit space with booths in a row on either side and/or behind in another row facing a different aisle
- Peninsula exhibit: An exhibit or area that stands apart from other exhibits with aisles on three sides, which is usually 20 by 20 feet or larger
- Split-island exhibit: A peninsula booth that shares a common back wall with another peninsula booth
- Island exhibit: Any booth exposed to aisles on all four sides, which is virtually always 20 by 20 feet (6.1 by 6.1 m) or larger
Keep in mind that the most popular shows book early. If you have your eye on a prime location on the show floor, you will need to put in your space request as soon as exhibitor registration opens for the next year.