How to find the best location for your exhibition stand…
Posted by Tom Oakes
What is the best location for your exhibition stand?
You can have the best exhibition stand design in the world, stick it where no one will see it and all it’s good for is fire wood and nothing more. An exhibition hall during a trade show or conference is a whirl wind of activity but it is not quite as random as you might think. With some careful thought prior to booking your stand space you can ensure you are in the best possible location maximising your chance of a great return on your investment. In this blog I will give you some ideas of what to think about prior to booking your stand:
1. Where is everyone?
Prior to thinking too heavily about whereabouts your stand should go it’s a good idea to explore what information is available regards the show you are exhibiting at. First things first, is there a floor plan? Most shows will make a floor plan available to you prior to booking a stand. Make sure you have a good look at it. Where are your competitors? Have any of them already booked a space? Does there appear to be a congregation of companies from a specific part of your industry? Is that an area you want to associate or differentiate from? Where are the main attractions in the hall? If you are looking to attract heavy footfall then being close to an attraction is a good idea however, if you are looking to have a more private meeting area then this might not be the location for you.
2. Go with the flow
A floor plan can tell you more than just where your competitors will be. Picture yourself entering the hall. Look left, look right, look straight ahead. What do you see? If you are looking right, and grouped together are the smaller shell scheme type stands, and left there are the industry leaders with their shiny, new bespoke exhibition stands which way would you be inclined to walk first? Again, check where the main attractions of the show are. People will naturally bottle neck towards an attraction or food hall and again, this will affect the shows flow. It is important to remember that visitors have a finite attention span and the sooner you can engage with them during their visit the better.
3. Every man (or woman) is an island? Right?
Once you have decided where might be best for your stand it’s time to explore what space is available. There are 2 main types of stand space. Shell scheme and space only. Shell scheme offers you space within a pre erected area usually featuring back and side walls and a front fascia. This is the cheapest option and limits what bespoke elements you can add to the stand. Then there is space only which means you are paying for a space within the hall in order for you to have built a bespoke exhibition stand. When deciding what type of stand to go for obviously budget will dictate what you can afford. A space only stand is much more expensive and if you are a smaller company or trader this might not be an option for you. If you are operating with a bigger budget however then choosing the right space only stand is important.
An island stand with 4 open sides may be the most desirable of spaces but will potentially cost you more in design given your stand will have to be double sided. An island stand however will help you stand out from the crowd. If you choose a stand space adjoined to another it is really important to think where possible about who that stand belongs to. Do you want to be directly next door to a major competitor? It might be a good opportunity to go toe to toe with your products however, it may be that you wish to be next to a potential trade partner or someone who compliments your product in the industry you work in. Also, think about who is in front and behind you. If you can work out the flow of the show, it may be more important to choose a stand space that will attract visitors first even if the space isn’t ideal.
4. Ah, but what about my budget?
Of course budget and cost is king when considering exhibiting. How you choose to use the budget you have is going to be key to maximising your return on investment. You may have a very clear idea of how you want your stand to look, how big, how high, how impressive but again, the main point to consider here is location. The better the location of your stand the higher the premium you pay to book it but is location where you should be spending your money ahead of aesthetic? Well, it really depends what your goals are for the show. If your goal is to attract footfall and introduce your brand to a new market then absolutely you should be really considering your location, if however you are an established brand looking to simply have presence at the show then location may not be as important. Of course, by investing more heavily in location it doesn’t have to mean that your stand has to be any less impressive but there may have to be a compromise. By choosing a creative contractor who can design, build and install your stand you can save money and still get your desired aesthetic effect.
5. Spread the love
One under used and under-appreciated opportunity that presents itself is in show advertising. Your stand is your HQ, home base, its where you want visitors to flock to and engage with you however, having presence in other parts of the show will have its advantages and can drive visitors to you. So many exhibitors feel the additional cost of advertising at a show where you already have a great big shiny new stand is unnecessary but remember… Everyone has a great big shiny new stand! Explore the options the shows marketing team will offer you from bill board and show guide space to external opportunities, flyers, preshow mailing and anything else that can help prop your head over the massing crowds.
To summarise, stand location is something to be taken very seriously. It is a detail often over shadowed by aesthetic and design but should certainly be considered at least on the same level of importance. If you would like any further information or have any further questions about stand location, do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to help.