All About Booth Space Location: How to Secure the Best Spots
Choosing your booth location is not an exact science. Many theories advise where the best spots are on the show floor. This article from Exhibitor Online does a great job mapping out each theory – and it also plots the theories on a mock show floor so you can have a visual.
Here in this article, we will touch on theory a bit, but the primary purpose is to prepare you for things you do have control over. We hope it is a useful resource for you!
Choosing the Best Location
Let’s start by talking about the psychology of traffic patterns. Many of the theories for best booth locations are based on natural human behavior. As humans, we tend to do the same things over and over. When shopping at a grocery store, we tend to enter the store and then turn right.
We proceed to shop the perimeter of the store or start on the right and go up and down each aisle as we make our way to the other side of the store. Attendees at trade shows tend to do the same thing: enter the show floor and make a right. This leads to our first tip:
Tip #1: Consider choosing a booth that favors the center or right side of the show floor.
This is assuming traffic will flow the way it is expected to. It might not. Perhaps attendees flood in from a side door that is close to a shuttle drop off. It is quite possible that the designated main entryway is not the one that will have the most traffic.
If this is the case, your front and center booth location might not be a good choice. In other words, traffic patterns will likely vary from show to show. This leads to our second tip:
Tip #2: Know all the hall entrances and exits. Consider traveling to a show and studying traffic patterns and hotspots for yourself.
Most trade shows will have “anchor exhibits,” which will likely attract a ton of traffic. If possible, position yourself close to one in hopes some of that traffic will also stop by your booth. This leads us to our third tip:
Tip #3: Consider choosing a booth near specific landmarks like anchor booths.
Choosing the Best Booth Type
The act of selecting the best booth location is just an attempt to maximize your booth’s visibility. Its all about visibility. Getting the location you want is not necessarily under your control.
What you do have control over is the type and size of your booth. Regardless of your booth’s location, you might be able to amplify the traffic to your booth by merely having a highly visible, open, and welcoming booth. This leads to our fourth tip:
Tip #4: Select a peninsula exhibit at the end of an aisle. Or even better: an island exhibit.
Island exhibits give you excellent visibility because they usually allow for maximum signage height. They are also the most “open” style of all exhibits, giving you aisles on all sides. People are naturally more comfortable in an open environment.
They also tend to be grouped in favorable locations on the show floor. If an island exhibit is out of your budget, look at peninsula booths. They typically let you raise signage 12-16 feet tall. To compare, standard “in-line” spaces limit you to 8 feet.
Another option is to split the cost of say a 20×20 island with another brand. You both get a 10×20 space with maximum visibility and open space. Simply put up a double-sided banner. Please note that you will have to work this out with the show organizer, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
The Booth Sign Up Process
Now that you have an idea of which locations and booth types are best, you have a game plan for when you visit the sales area to put pen on paper. Many show organizers will have a sales area set up on the show floor, usually next to the exhibitor lounge.
Remember, each show is different and will have a unique floor plan. When you visit the sales area, make sure you ask questions before signing up.
Some questions to consider asking:
What is the assumed traffic flow and hotspots?
Which doors will be open and closed during the show?
Where are food service locations?
Where are special feature locations?
Where are my competitors located, and what are their traffic-generating activities?
Besides these questions, pay special attention to the show floor’s legend. Know what the symbols represent, so you don’t choose a booth with obstacles. The next step would be to read the show kit so you do not miss any details that might affect your booth space choice.
Common things to look out for:
Columns inside your booth
Ceiling height changes
Rules that disallow hanging signs
Hanging sign height limits
Overhead electrical issues
Booth locations that require late setup and early dismantle
It is common for a show organizer to give you a set time to visit the sales area to choose your booth for the next year. These times are primarily based on a complicated point system.This point system considers things like seniority, level of membership, and how much money you have spent with the organizer.
Since this is primarily out of your control, make sure you are as prepared as possible with the things you do have control over that were discussed earlier in this article.
Best booth location is a contested subject with a wide variety of theories. What has your experience been with different locations and booth types on the show floors?