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Mastering Trade Show Booth Selection

Trade Show Booth Selection

  • Trade show exhibit booth space is assigned based on booth size and show seniority
  • Location is only one factor in selecting an ideal exhibit booth space
  • Keep some distance between you and your competitors
  • Restrictions on height can vary by show and by country

In general, trade show exhibit booth spaces are assigned based on an exhibitor's past participation in the show (seniority). Exhibitors who attended in the past are contacted first and allowed to select their space. New exhibitors are contacted later.

You can usually draw a triangle from the entrance of the show hall and determine where the highest demand spaces will be. There are other show hall spaces with good visibility and high traffic potential that are less obvious than the ones in this triangle. For new exhibitors with a sharp eye, prime spaces may be available later in the selection process. It is not uncommon for exhibitors to cancel their reservation on a booth space, sometimes months and even weeks before the show. The show organizers will be happy to move you into this more favorable location if they know you are willing to move.

It's Not Just Location

Location is only one factor to a successful show. Depending on the show, your location may not offer much advantage. Pre-show promotion, a clear marketing message, and good trade show booth staff are generally more important than good booth placement. However, it can only help to have a space with the highest traffic pattern for your booth size.

What Booth Size to Select

Consider factors such as how much space your competition has committed to, projected attendance, how many employees will staff the booth, and how much space is required for products, demos, meetings, etc. You will also want to consider your plan for growth in the industry. Downsizing your display booth space from one year to the next is not recommended. For example changing from a 20' x 30' island booth to a 20' x 20' island is rarely an issue. But, going from a 20' x 20' island to an inline 10' x 20' has far too many negative connotations about your company's financial health.

Selection Tips

Once you know the booth size you need, you'll want to consider these tips in making your selection:

  1. Large expensive display booths are generally located near the show hall entrance. They typically fan out and give way to smaller booth spaces toward the back and perimeter.
  2. You many want to keep some distance between you and your closest competitors.
  3. Consider the architecture of the facility. Be aware of columns and variations in ceiling height.
  4. Look for opportunities to stand out. Often, there are great opportunities away from the entrance or in another hall that can give you an advantage. Consider exhibiting near the restaurant entrance or in a space flanked by primary traffic aisles.
  5. There are restrictions on height. Some shows strictly enforce these regulations. Don't assume the regulations in the United States are the same in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They're not.
  6. Don't discount perimeter booth spaces. Perimeter spaces often allow full height exhibits (up to 16 ft.). This advantage, along with placement at the start or end of high traffic aisles, can attract lots of attendees.
  7. Consider splitting an island booth space with another company. Many shows allow two exhibitors to share a booth space and divide it to suit. An island can be converted into two peninsulas for example.

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For more information about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next event.

Article Author:

Mel White, CEI

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