4 Ways to Make a Big Impression But Cut Costs

30x40-double-deck-exhibit-green-walls-LR

Evaluating your trade show budget to find ways to get creative with how your money is being spent is important to do from time to time. Exhibition booth design is constantly evolving. Sometimes all it takes it a little out-of-the-box thinking to save you some serious money! Your trade show budget can be cut down in many ways from managing travel, lodging, eating, and entertainment expenses to changing shipping strategies. The focus here is on making your trade show booth as high-impact as possible for less money. 

Rent instead of purchasing

Does your company only attend one or two trade shows/year? Does your look change often? If so, renting an exhibit might make the most sense for you. We’ve written a number of articles on this topic! Renting can be a fantastic way to save money while maintaining your exhibition booth design flexibility. 

Get a lighter booth to save on transportation costs

This only really makes sense if you’re in the market for a new booth anyway, but it’s worth mentioning. Newer booths are often built from lighter-weight, higher-strength materials. In addition to being less expensive to ship they often have a sleeper, more updated look to them as well. Reducing weight saves on both shipping and drayage (material handling) costs at the show. 

Update your current exhibition booth design, but shop around for the best price!

If your company has already invested in a trade show booth but it’s not suiting your current needs, it might be time to look into a cost-effective replacement. Shop around to see what will be the best long-term fit while keeping renting in mind as a cost-saving option as well. Oftentimes the most cost-effective path is to add new components to your existing booth or update the graphics.

Make sure assembly is straight-forward

If you or someone from your company is installing your booth, insure your exhibition booth design is easy to assemble. An outside I & D company should be familiar with your display manufacturer to avoid costly set up delays. Unnecessary delays can rack up labor costs quickly!

30x40-double-deck-exhibit-green-walls-LR
high-impact exhibition booth design

More Trade Show I & D Tips

custom trade show exhibits

Some Ways to Save $$

Items to consider before getting a labor estimate:

  • Do you have a hanging sign? If so, make sure someone on your labor team knows to assemble it for the riggers.
  • Will electric need to be installed?
  • Need any special equipment? You’ll want to arrange for it to be at your booth ahead of time if so to avoid delays.
  • Is there furniture to be assembled?
  • What are the booth materials?
  • Who will install your flooring? If you order flooring through us, we’ll handle this. If it’s through the show make sure it’s down before your install team arrives to avoid delays.
  • Who will provide the supervision on the show floor? We will if you rent through us. Otherwise, make sure someone who’s familiar with your booth will be around to ensure everything gets done as efficiently as possible!

Deciding how to ship

Direct to Show or to the Advanced Warehouse? – If timing permits, it is almost always best to ship to the advanced warehouse. That way your freight is more likely to be at your booth space by your move-in time. You’ll need to allow extra time when shipping direct to account for delays.  Delays can be caused by the truck driver having to check into the marshaling yard, waiting to be called to unload, and getting paperwork. To be safe, you’ll want to delay your labor start time by about 4 hours to give your freight time to make it to your booth before set up begins. You don’t want to end up paying your install crew to stand around waiting for something to do for hours! When renting from P.O.P. Exhibits Inc., we’ll always ship to the advance warehouse whenever possible.

Scheduling Dismantle – Always take into account the entire schedule to avoid delays when scheduling dismantle with your labor & shipping companies. Oftentimes it’s safest to schedule labor for the morning after and shipper to come later in the afternoon. This is because returning the empty freight can take a while, especially for large shows.  If your show requires the floor to be cleared by 12pm the next day you might consider scheduling labor for a couple hours after the show breaks.  

Keep in mind that if you’re renting your exhibit through P.O.P. Exhibits Inc. we’ll handle I & D for you at a guaranteed price. That means that no matter the hiccups encountered on the show floor, your price is fixed.

Trade Show Planning Checklist

custom trade show exhibits

Planning for a trade show (especially your first) can be complicated and overwhelming. There are a multitude of deadlines to keep track of, details to plan, and logistics to be figured out. Getting some help with these things is a big reason why many companies hire an exhibit company to help with trade show planning. We at P.O.P. Exhibits Inc. hope to make the process a bit easier on you by helping with design questions, deadline reminders, and paperwork assistance when needed.

We love it when our clients plan early for their shows! Not only does planning early help everything go more seamlessly, but it also helps keep costs down. When rush shipping and production costs can be avoided, everyone is happier. We don’t enjoy charging our clients rush charges. When planning comes down to the last minute it’s stressful for EVERYONE.

If you’re planning for your trade show yourself, setting goals to manage all the elements and deadlines is critical for success. We’ve compiled a list to help guide you through everything involved:

First Steps: 6-12 months from show

□ Set your budget. Setting a goal for your return on investment (ROI) is also a good idea. Figure out how you’ll calculate your ROI. Research the show by talking to prior participants about their experiences, if needed. 

□ Set your goal. Why are you attending the show? Are you debuting a new product, generating leads, making sales, increasing brand exposure, or meeting with existing clients? 

□ Identify your booth space needs and reserve your space early! Good locations go quickly. Research the show venue to find high-traffic locations that’ll give you maximum exposure.


Next steps: 3-6 months from show

□ Review show paperwork and make note of deadlines. 

□ Start designing your trade show booth. Determine the elements you need (conference space, graphics, monitors, workstations, etc.) so that you have a solid idea of where to start. If you’re working with us, this process can take a while or be relatively quick! We have clients who know exactly what they want right away, and others who go back and forth with alterations before settling on the perfect design. Either way, it’s always easier (and less stressful for everyone) when we have ample time to get the design perfect!

□ Plan and prepare your booth graphics. Once we settle on a design, we’ll provide your designer with specs for preparing graphic files. We’ll give you a deadline and provide reminders. Planning early helps avoid rush fees.

□ Write a concise but compelling sales message that gets across the key points you want to communicate at your exhibit. Rehearse it with your staff so that you can use it confidently on the show floor.

□ Place your orders for electricity, rigging, cleaning services, and flooring (if your exhibit company isn’t providing). We’re happy to help with electrical and rigging order paperwork.

□ If you’re launching a new service or product, confirm it’ll be ready for the show.

□ Plan your giveaways/handouts. Determine the marketing and literature materials you’ll need and begin design and printing. 

□ Finalize your trade show team and order uniforms, if needed.

  • Make all travel and hotel reservations for you and your team.

□ Choose your vendors and make sure they’re clear on dates/deadlines. If you’re renting your exhibit through us, we’ll handle shipping, I & D and storage for you! Otherwise, you’ll need to coordinate shipping, installation, dismantling, and storage vendors.


Final Steps: 1-2 weeks before show

□ Confirm all dates and details with your shipping, installation, and storage vendors. Exchange contact information with your install crew.

□ Put together follow-up packets to send out after the show to your leads

  • Finalize payments with your vendors.

□ Start marketing your show presence. Use social media to your advantage! Let people know you’ll be at the show and where to find you. Contact target clients/distributors and set up meetings in advance, if possible. 

□ Make sure your staff is trained and sales pitches rehearsed. Everyone should be able to answer questions about your company, products and services.


Day of Show:

□ Execute your plan and reach your goals! 

  • Wear comfortable shoes. 

□ Keep your booth staff motivated. Provide snacks, water bottles and breaks. Trade shows can be long and tiring. Don’t let unhappy employees cause a bad impression at the show.

□ Keep careful track of contact information collected at the show.


After the show:

□ Analyze leads, send follow-up info and reach out as appropriate

□ Review your objectives from your plan and evaluate the success of the show. Is it worth attending next year? What changes could be made to improve success in the future?

□ Calculate your ROI by reviewing your budget and total expenses