15 Winning Strategies for Custom Trade Show Booths in San Francisco


San Francisco has been an important commercial center since the California Gold Rush of 1848. This City by the Bay has also thrived on shipping and trade for several years. Today, the city has evolved into a global leader in online start-ups and serves as home to America’s famed Silicon Valley.

It also continues to be a crucial trade hub, but that’s not all it’s known for. Housing attractions like the famous Golden Gate Bridge, the bustling Chinatown District and the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, San Francisco is a popular tourist destination as well.

What this means is that trade shows held in the city are extremely well-attended by locals and foreigners alike. In fact, trade shows in San Francisco draw in some of the largest crowds in the country.

The competition at trade shows in Frisco is quite fierce, so if you really want to boost your sales and ensure that your company is placed firmly on the map, you will have to do a lot of research and plan your booth to perfection.

If you’re about to head to a show in the Golden City, this list will help you make the most of your event booth rentals in San Francisco.


Find the Right Event


There are a number of shows held in the city every single year. Once you find all the shows related to your industry, do a little digging and check their records. Find the show that has seen a significant rise in the number of participants and attendees. This is where you’re likely to enjoy the most success.


Set Your Budget


Now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to work out your finances. Your booth budget should be quite large and should cover everything from the actual cost of the booth to printing marketing materials, procuring giveaways, and the travel for you and your staff.

Start by chalking out an amount for your booth and then work out the amount you will need for everything else. Your booth is the centerpiece of your entire show, so it might seem expensive, but it’s definitely worth every penny.


Pick a Booth


Before you even start preparing for the show, you will have to decide whether you want to purchase a booth or rent one. If this is your first outing in the city, we recommend opting for a rental. Your rental partner will be able to hold your hand through the planning process, while also providing you with insights on the latest trends in the local market.

Additionally, rentals are cost-efficient as compared to purchased booths and allow you to experiment with your look before you find your groove.


Select Your Size


At most events, you will find booths of different sizes. The most common size is the 10×10 in-line booth. However, if you’re looking to make a big statement and announce your arrival in style, you might want to secure a larger, island booth for yourself.

Depending on your budget and the organizer’s pricing model, you may want to get yourself space for a 20×20 booth or even a 50×50 booth.


Make a Good First Impression


If you think we’re overstating the importance of making a truly amazing first impression, consider this: Studies have recently found that your company’s first impression on an individual has a very high correlation to your long-term relationship with them.

It also takes barely a tenth of a second to make this all-important first impression. This means that you have to ensure that the graphics you use are 100% on point.


Design with Care


Once your amazing graphics do their job and invite crowds into your booth, you need to ensure that your booth’s design allows them to stay for a while. While creating your booth’s layout, ensure you leave enough open space for people to walk around without feeling claustrophobic.

Replace bulky furniture with sleek seating arrangements and keep the booth as open, clean and inviting as possible. Focus on creating a booth that has a natural flow and encourages visitors to walk around by themselves.


Use Oversized Props to Make a Statement


If you really want to grab attention and draw people to your booth, you should consider using larger-than-life props to decorate your event booth rentals in San Francisco. Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes for a moment. If you walked into a trade show and saw that one booth had a life-sized model of a rocket or a water bottle, wouldn’t you walk over to see a little more?

Large props will draw everybody’s eyes to your booth, enhancing your chances of generating quality leads at the end of the day. Plus, if you choose your props wisely, you will also be able to communicate what your brand does without saying a single word at all.


Offer People a New Experience


Trade show attendees will walk through a number of similar-looking booths in a single day. Their days are monotonous and quite boring. If you were able to offer them something new and exciting, you’re sure to become to talk of the trade show.

The easiest way to offer people a fun experience is by warping reality slightly. Instead of showing potential customers your display, ask them to wear a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, and give them a tour of your warehouse or office instead. You could also use augmented reality to play games in your booth and send visitors on a fun treasure hunt.


Indulge Every Sense


While creating your booth, instead of focusing solely on the visuals, think about how you can soothe a visitor’s others senses as well. Consider using materials like wood or fabrics like linen to build your display. Use scented candles and aromatic essential oils to make attendees feel calm and at ease while they’re in your booth.

If you have enough space, and it isn’t against the organizer’s rules, serve refreshing drinks and delicious snacks. This will ensure that people linger in your booth for longer and will also make it easier for them to focus on your pitch.


Create a Photo Opportunity


One of the most common phrases we hear today is, “Pics or it didn’t happen!” Our generation has become obsessed with documenting every second of their life on social media websites, and you can use this to your advantage. The easiest way to encourage people to stop by your booth and snap a picture is by using an electronic photo booth.

This allows you to add fun filters and graphics before giving customers a personalized souvenir from your booth. Of course, if your booth has a bit of an old-school vibe, you can make use of retro ‘head in the hole’ photo opportunities as well.


Hand out the Most Fun Giveaways


Every booth at every trade show will hand out promotional giveaways. The idea behind this is to reinforce your brand in the customer’s mind. Sadly, this means that most companies hand out pens or USBs with their brand’s name on display for all to see.

Instead of doing what everybody else does, find a way to make your giveaways stand out. Hand out bags that have an assortment of fun items like battery packs, a small notepad, a travel adapter or perhaps even headphones.

If the bag is reusable and has your logo on it, you can increase your visibility not just at the trade show, but also in the future when attendees reuse the bag.


Trade a Few Names


Since trade shows are industry specific it’s likely that you will be exhibiting alongside other businesses who have the same target audience as you. If you’d like to boost the number of leads you generate at a show, why not agree to swap names with a brand who is targeting the same people?

Instead of trying to strike up unlikely friendships with your competitors, look for brands who function in a similar space to you, but aren’t your direct competition. Talk about a win-win situation.


Think of the Customer’s Comfort


One thing that even veteran trade show participants commonly overlook is the customer’s comfort during the show. Attendees will be on their feet for hours, walking around the venue and interacting with several people. They may be exhausted by the time they get to your booth and might not even listen to any of the wonderful things that your staff is saying about how your brand can improve their life.

In order to make customers more receptive to your offerings, you need to put them and their comfort first. If you have a tight budget, something as simple as swapping out plastic chairs for comfortable, padded ones might be enough to earn you a few brownie points.

But, if you have the means and the space to do so, we recommend creating a full-blown lounge where visitors can put their feet up and relax. Once they’re feeling slightly refreshed, you can engage with them and deliver your pitch.


Engage on Social Media


One of the most important parts of any trade show is the trade show chatter that comes with it. Instead of forgetting all about your online presence, use the event as a chance to reach out to more people and engage with your followers.

During the show, you can ask people for feedback or post live footage or behind the scene pictures of what’s happening. Every time you post, make sure you use the event’s official hashtag for better visibility.

Have a member of staff checking your social pages often, responding to any queries that customers have or reposting and retweeting positive comments that visitors have left for you.


Follow Up Efficiently


Once the show is over and your event booth rentals in San Francisco have been dismantled and put away, it’s time to start following up with all the leads you made during the show. The quicker you follow up, the more likely you are to convert your leads into long-term clients.

While you’re making your calls and sending out emails, don’t forget to personalize your communication.

Participating in a trade show in San Francisco could catapult you to new heights of success. With these 15 tips and little careful planning, you will be well on your way to pulling off a successful trade show.