Custom Trade Show
Trade shows represent huge opportunities for marketing managers and their teams. They offer a chance to directly connect with key audiences, deliver your best marketing messages, and differentiate your business amidst a sea of competitors.
Packing all that into a few days is a big challenge, and one you’ll likely spend months preparing for. When the big day comes, you’ll want to know that your exhibit is as dialed in as you and your team are.
When looking for a new exhibit, one of the first questions you’ll come across is whether to rent or buy. We believe that booth ownership isn’t right for anyone, ever. Why? Because things happen. Budgets change, goals evolve, companies rebrand.
With a custom rental, you can adapt and benefit from those changes instead of getting sidelined by them. Here, we’ll showcase the pitfalls of booth ownership and explain the benefits of a custom rental.
Here's what you'll find on this page:
- Comparing Owning vs. Renting (Why No One Should Ever Buy a Booth)
- Benefits of a Rental Booth
- Examples of Custom Rentals
- Questions to Ask as You Move Forward
“I need a trade show booth, what now?”
No matter what your trade show goals are, one of the first questions you should ask is whether you want to own or rent your booth. Believe it or not, there isn’t much of a difference in the quality or capabilities of an owned vs. rented booth. Here’s how they compare:
Buying a booth comes with a substantial up-front investment. In most cases, companies that buy a booth must use it for three to five years in order to justify the start-up costs. During this time, companies are responsible for managing and paying for all of a booth’s shipping, handling, storage, setup, teardown, maintenance, and repair logistics. Those costs typically add up to about 10-20% of the total booth cost, incurred on an annual basis.
More and more companies are choosing to rent their trade show booths because they’re more affordable, more flexible, and easier to deal with than an owned booth. And, they don’t compromise on features. With a rental, you can change your booth for every show you attend, and your fee includes all logistical support, including support during the show. In most cases, a custom rental costs about 70% less than an owned booth.
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The Essential Guide To Custom Trade Show Booth Rentals
Owning vs. Renting
When deciding between owning and renting your trade show booth, there are a number of things you expect out of your exhibit. Things like on-site support, maintenance and repairs, and your overall investment are important to keep in mind when making a decision. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect with each option:
|You own the booth elements||X|
|Decreased up-front investment||X|
|Flexibility to change design between shows||X|
|Includes on-site support||X|
|No ongoing fees for shipping, handling, and logistics||X|
|No worrying about maintenance and repairs||X|
|No paying for storage fees||X|
Understanding the Potential for Ownership Disasters
Booth ownership traps you in the same design for years unless you want to pay for costly renovations. To help illustrate how that commitment can lead to problems down the road, here are a few examples of things that have gone wrong:
Over Budget on Setup
A large healthcare company decided to purchase a booth and budgeted $200,000 for the project. After working with designers, the booth was delivered and the healthcare company started preparing to take it to the show. That’s when they got hit with a surprise.
The logistical costs associated with setting up the booth were far higher than they ever anticipated. They had to spend an additional $75,000 just to get their brand new booth set up. But that wasn’t all.
After the show, the sales team reported the booth to be a failure. It didn’t suit their needs and they wanted to go back to the old booth, which had already been discarded. Now, the company was stuck with a booth they couldn’t afford to set up and didn’t want to use. Ultimately, the project was a total waste, and they had to start over.
One of the most effective ways to draw attention to your booth is to maximize its height with high walls and big hanging signs. So, when a company set out to purchase a new booth, they went big with a $600,000 design that towered above the show floor.
Shortly after, one of the venues that hosted a show the company planned on attending changed its rules and restrictions. One of those rules imposed lower limits on the maximum height of exhibits. The company was stuck. They had to make a choice: cancel their attendance at the show or shell out tens of thousands of dollars for modifications.
When you buy a booth, you’re committing a lot of money to the notion that nothing is going to change. But marketing doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t move at a glacial pace.
Budgets, goals, restrictions, rules, brands, and slogans are changing on a regular basis. A custom rental gives you the chance to keep up with those changes where an owned booth only bogs you down.
The Benefits of a Rental
A custom rental gives you the flexibility to create the perfect booth for the perfect price, at every trade show you visit. It allows you to maximize your exhibit’s marketing potential, eliminates the stress associated with operations and logistics, and guarantees that you don’t go over budget on expected fees.
The most effective marketing campaigns capitalize on a specific moment. Each trade show you attend represents one of those moments. If you’re approaching that opportunity by dusting off a booth you’ve owned for three years, you’re missing out.
Owning a booth restricts your brand’s ability to be as flexible as the market you’re trying to impact. By renting your exhibit, your brand can design for the moment.
When you own a booth, it’s your responsibility to coordinate shipping, storage, and handling. At the show, instead of training staff or prepping for last-minute client meetings, you’ll have to manage labor teams to construct your booth. All of these operational demands can make exhibiting far more stressful than it needs to be.
A rental eliminates the stress associated with exhibit logistics by providing you with awesome support, every step of the way. Here’s what your exhibit house should provide:
- All shipping, handling, storage, maintenance, and repairs
- Booth setup and teardown
- Stellar on-site support
With these logistical needs met, you can focus your time and attention on executing your marketing message and enjoying the show you worked so hard to prepare for.
Everyone wants to get the most out of their marketing dollar. The only way to do that with an owned booth is to keep using it for years and years, hoping you never need to alter anything or make repairs. Even then, every time you use it, you’re risking unexpected fees.
We believe a custom rental makes more financial sense for everyone, at every show they attend. Here’s why:
- Per show costs for a custom rental are significantly lower than an owned booth, whether you exhibit once a year or every month
- Operational costs are included in your rental price, so you’re never hit with unexpected fees
- You have total flexibility to change your design or size between shows to reflect changes in your budget
Plus, because a custom rental includes all your operational and logistical support, you can get a fixed, guaranteed price from your design company. Your exhibit house should provide you with a comprehensive and inclusive invoice so you know exactly what you’re paying to use your booth.
What’s Possible with a Custom Rental?
Some people believe you can’t actually get a custom look with a rental. The reality is that exhibit houses actually have everything they need to create a booth that's fully custom to your needs for every show.
Want proof? Check out these examples of custom trade show rentals.
We collaborated with beMatrix to create an exhibit that was lauded by judges at Exhibitor Live for its aisle-spanning arch, inviting feel, and innovative use of space. It took home The Best of Show Large Booth Award.
To pull off the design, two spaces that were directly across from each other were connected using an overhead arch. To add eye-catching impact to the arch, it was covered with a cutting-edge LEDskin® that allowed for stunning visual displays.
And, because the booth spanned an aisle on the show floor, traffic flow was maximized. Once inside, attendees were introduced to beMatrix products through engaging product demos.
Gracenote needed lots of product demo areas to showcase its wide range of automatic content recognition technologies. They specialize in music, sports, and entertainment, so we decided to create a casual meeting space for each.
Each product station included a high-top table, comfortable stool seating, and a big A/V display. Beyond the demo stations, an open floor plan and edge-lit letters rounded out the sophisticated design they used for CES 2019.
For Money20/20 in Vegas, Samsung came to us with a few significant challenges. They were on a tight budget, and they needed a design that could be built in a day, instead of the usual timeframe of 2-3 days.
To facilitate a quicker decision-making process, we worked directly with Samsung headquarters in South Korea. With clear communication and our proven design process, we found a way to deliver a two-level exhibit that set up in a single day and aligned with their budget.
Questions to Think About as You Move Forward
Interested in a custom rental for your next trade show? Learn more about the design process, pricing, and how to choose the perfect exhibit house for you by checking out the links below.
- How should I budget for a booth rental?
- What should I look for in an exhibit house?
- What questions should I ask an exhibit house before hiring them?
- What does the design process look like?
- How can I improve my trade show results through my booth?
Got more questions? Check out our blog to find informative articles, handy checklists, and case studies that illustrate the potential of a custom rental.
Here’s the bottom line. When you opt for a custom trade show rental, you’re getting the perfect booth for the perfect price, every time. With a custom exhibit rental, you can:
- Maximize your marketing potential by customizing your booth to your strategy and your audience
- Eliminate unexpected fees by getting an affordable booth with
guaranteed pricing that’s inclusive of all associated logistical costs
- Reduce stress by letting awesome support teams handle everything, from shipping and handling to storage and maintenance, so you can focus on the show
It’s hard to ignore the benefits of a custom rental. That’s why more and more businesses are ditching booth ownership. Learn more about the industry-wide switch by checking out our page: