PICK A WINNER: Choose the Right Booth Size and Location

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Choosing the right booth size and location: Is it art, science or magic? Sadly, there is no magic wand to make this process simple or definitive in every case. To add to the quandary, as you read material on the subject, you will encounter expert opinions which disagree with one another. That said, here are a few basic things to incorporate into your decision making process.

When it comes to size, well, yes, it does matter. Bigger can be better, if the space is used appropriately; the exhibit and display must suit the space and the personnel need to be professional and on point with sales and marketing objectives. Rest assured that if you have only a 10x 10, you can still accomplish big things –  it may just take more work to be seen amidst the vastness of the hall.

More often than not, as a tradeshow manager your exhibit space size selection is a budgetary constraint or a done deal based on what your company has already invested in for an exhibit. There are ways not to be bound by size constraints; you can purchase a systems, such as the Mark Bric Display Ripple or Wave ,that can easily and quickly be added to or detracted from for varying booth size configurations at each show you purpose to attend. (That, however is an article in itself).

If you have the luxury of deciding which booth size to pick, again, it, comes down to sales and marketing goals and objectives. Once you determine what you need to accomplish – pick a booth that allows you room to do that without looking cluttered or crowded. If you need to have three or four experts there to demo a product, be sure the booth you have chosen is big enough – there is nothing worse than spilling out in the aisles and being an inconvenience to the show attendees. Use YOUR space wisely. There is nothing wrong with a 10 x 10 booth space if it meets your needs. Wasting money on a large booth that is overkill is sort of like the newlyweds who purchase the mansion and then are sitting on the floor eating off a cardboard box table because they can no longer afford a sofa to sit on or table for their large-enough-for-the-whole-football team dining room. Don’t be fiscally irresponsible – use your budget wisely. Booth size is only one part of the overall picture.

 

Location, location, location, however, is another matter. The good news is, studies conducted by Exhibit Surveys Inc. confirm there isn’t a significant difference in exhibitors’ results based solely on location. “Research concludes that the location of an exhibit in a hall (front, rear, right, left, center, etc.) in and of itself is not a major factor in exhibit performance,” says Skip Cox, CEO and president at Exhibit Surveys (full article: http://www.exhibitoronline.com/topics/article.asp?ID=1796&catID=32 )

Even though there may not be a direct correlation from booth location to success, I would not suggest throwing darts at a board with the floorplan taped to it. You still want to make informed location choices to afford your company every and any available advantage. To garner success, it is foundational to study the floorplan. Begin by watching out for the obvious things like columns, fire hose cabinets, fire extinguishers, fire strobe lights etc. These can create booth arrangement issues, setup issues and you have to abide by mandated safety guidelines in close proximity to these things. Save the stress and choose something elsewhere when possible.  Avoid spaces too close to entrances and exits. “For example, entrances and exits are notoriously crowded and chaotic, and attendees may fail to even notice your booth if it’s located adjacent to the door.”– Smart Trade Shows  Also try to avoid being near the freight doors. You do not want fork lifts speeding through your area as you set up and during tear down it can get crazy when shipping boxes and crates are being redistributed to everyone.

Watch out for the food courts and the restrooms too. Inevitably, someone will end up in the last available booth tucked in the back corner near the food court or the restrooms where all show traffic is really momentarily rather preoccupied with an agenda other than what you have to say – just don’t let it be your company.

After booths closest to those elementary items are eliminated, draw a triangle on the floor plan. The apex of the triangle should be at the main entrance way and the legs should go from there to the far back right and left corners. Areas outside of this triangle are the dead zones – avoid these spots. Choosing from inside the triangle, consider preferred areas within each show hall that will naturally garner you more or less traffic; most experts agree that to be along a wider aisle is better as more traffic tends to flow through these. Ed Marquez, President of Mark Bric Display, illuminates another factor, “There is what is commonly known in the industry as the rule of “right”. Attendees tend to walk to the right side of the show hall first go to the furthest aisle and begin walking up and down the aisles. People also, for whatever reason, prefer booths on their right hand side. Therefore, attempt to secure a space on the right hand side of an aisle following the rule of right.”

When surveying the floorplan – it may be helpful to shade or highlight these non-desired areas so that you have a visual of what is left from which to choose. I would suggest calling show management and find out which booths are no longer available and, if you can, which booths your competitors have selected. Ideally, in this environment it is best to avoid a head to head competition with them. Now, if you are up for the challenge, by all means, do your own thing; but, you really do not want to increase the already tough struggle for attendee attention or be staring into the competition’s eyes all day. You want to focus on doing the best job for your potential clients in that moment. Taking time to scope out the competition is wise, but remember if you are right next to them they can see and hear you too!

All things considered booth size and location choice can be stressful and at times frustrating when the space you prefer is no longer available. In the end, remember it is just one small piece of trade show exhibiting success. So, do your research and then pick a winner!

Still need more help? Check out a reputable trade publication such as Exhibitor Magazine or give us a call and we can talk about where and how a Mark Bric Display product would function best at your next show.

by Stacy Poole, Marketing Professional at Mark Bric Display Corp.

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