How To Select The Best Trade Show Booth Location
Are you preparing to exhibit at your first trade show? From massive conventions to small events, the key to success at any trade show is often location, location, location.
Just like a well-situated retail store can attract twice, triple or quadruple the foot traffic of a store in a less eye-catching position, the best trade show spots can often play a major role in helping your booth attract the foot traffic it needs for a good return on investment.
In this guide, we’ll share five tips, tactics and techniques to help you choose the right location for your trade show booth, whether you’re preparing for your first convention or aiming to maximize your impact at your second, third or fourth show.
Aiming for maximum traffic? Stay near the entrance
Most of the time, the best locations (at least from a foot traffic perspective) are located near the entrance to the show floor.
There are several reasons for this. The first is that attendees feel “fresh” when they first step into a convention hall, meaning they’ll see your signage before anyone else. If you’re aiming to hook in attendees with an eye-catching trade show display, the event entrance is often the best place to do it.
Another benefit of being close to the entrance is the sheer amount of traffic. Since everyone will enter and exit the event through the same area, you can attract a huge amount of visitors with a stylish booth located near the main entrance.
However, there are downsides to choosing a spot near the show floor entrance. First, it’s often expensive, making it a no-no for small businesses. Second, although prospects are “fresh” and highly responsive, many aren’t ready to commit to a deal the moment they enter an event.
Consider “secondary” locations that receive lots of foot traffic
Don’t have the budget for a spot near the show floor entrance? One way to maximize foot traffic while on a budget is to look for “secondary” locations that attract a lot of foot traffic but cost less than the prime spots near the main entrance and exit.
Good locations include high-traffic intersections, where major walkways connect. These spots can stand out and help you maximize your visual real estate, since attendees will be view your displays from multiple angles.
Other good options include the areas around food and drink services, where attendees will stop during the event, and locations around the restrooms. These locations are usually available for less than the “prime” spots at the event entrance but still attract plenty of foot traffic.
Ask for a location close to a major brand or show sponsor
Here’s a simple way to get more bang for your buck — ask for a location near one of the event’s sponsors, or a well-known brand in your industry.
Exhibits from major brands tend to attract a large amount of foot traffic. Since these brands have substantial marketing budgets, they can act as “magnets” for visitors, bringing in attendees from across the event floor and shaping the flow of traffic through the convention hall.
Pick a spot nearby and you can “piggyback” on a big brand’s marketing efforts and benefit from free exposure, as well as a small but steady trickle of foot traffic from the larger exhibits around yours.
Choose and reserve your space as early as possible
If you’re exhibiting at a popular trade show, it’s important to get in early and reserve your space before your competitors.
Registering early for your next trade show has several benefits. First, you might be able to save money by registering as an early bird. Second, you’ll have the best selection of spaces to choose from, giving you more choice over your exhibit’s final location.
Finally, you’ll avoid every company’s trade show nightmare — being forced into an undesirable space after all the top locations are booked out. Book early and you’ll get the best pricing, plus the knowledge that you aren’t going to be beaten to the top spots by your competitors.
Before you choose a location, consider your budget
Finally, it’s essential that you keep your total event budget in mind when choosing and paying for a location for your trade show booth.
Location matters, but it should never come at the cost of other aspects of your rental booth. If you’re considering reducing your display or staffing budget to pay for a premium location, it might be worth reconsidering your priorities before you secure your event space.
Remember, trade shows are all about results. If a premium location is beyond your budget, it’s usually better to choose a second-tier location than to dig into other parts of your event budget to secure a top spot.