Does Size Matter? Booth Space Demystified.
‘Bigger is better’ is not necessarily the truth when it comes to booth space. There is a psychology to selecting your ‘workplace away from home’. It’s hard not to be impressed with the booth behemoths that anchor any show floor. It’s easy to be envious of their huge budgets. It’s natural to wonder of your competitors “is my exhibiting space bigger than yours?” There are many variables that determine what booth space makes the most sense for your company, and it’s not always about cost.
Understand what floor plan suits your marketing and exhibit objectives. Small product display works well on an inline plan, especially if you have separate divisions or groups of similar products. Consider an attendee will take three seconds to walk past ten feet of booth space. Multiply your linear space and decide: do you feel confident you can capture their attention in that span of time? Do you plan to have a theater or speaker? Will you demonstrate a product? If so, an island configuration might be a good fit. If your exhibit properties are modular, you can easily jump between sizes based on expected traffic at multiple shows. Count on exhibit structure to comprise about 30 percent of your available space. An average person occupies 25 square feet of booth space. Calculate the number of staff you intend to bring, add past or expected attendee traffic, plus product and exhibit structure. Make sure you are allowing enough room for traffic flow and audience demo areas. A congested booth can frustrate your visitors.
Booth location may play a large role in space planning. Placement by (or away from) a competitor, in the center of the show hall or near an entrance or meeting areas can be a huge traffic enhancer. If you love your location, but need more space, consider going up! Decks can add valuable square footage and create private meeting areas. You are paying for the space from the floor to the ceiling of the show hall so make use of as much of that zone as possible. Before planning a multi-story exhibit, ask show management about costs and height restrictions before committing to purchase. If a deck is not for you, but you need to expand, consider reaching out to show management to see if there is vacancy around your current space. They might be able to re-draw the floor plan if it makes sense.
Do you plan to display or demo heavy or large machinery? Sometimes there is not much booth structure to consider due to bulky equipment. Safety restrictions may cause you to add space to allow your visitors to participate safely. Large hanging signs are a great way to utilize your space and identify your location in a booth space heavy on equipment. Don’t forget to use the inside of the hanging sign – very valuable and visible graphic real estate.
Ok, it IS about the money too. Weigh what is important – your goals for the show – to launch a product, talk to existing customers, forge new relationships…can this be done in a smaller space? If the answer is ‘yes’, reduce your footprint and focus your message in a smaller location.
Try to avoid the pitfalls of the hall structure. Study the floor plan and avoid the obstacles that could cause headaches and result in the exclusion of a large portion of your exhibit space, especially if they’re directly next to or inside your exhibit space. Huge columns, fire cabinets (noted on floor plans as FA or FHC), and network cabling racks can restrict your exhibit layout. Their set-back regulations may require you to leave considerable clearance around them.
Remember, attendees might not notice if you change the dimensions of your booth space, but your competitors will take note. Ask your exhibit expert for more information about the best ways to modify your booth space!