Smart decisions


When it comes to exhibiting at a trade show the budget can be blown so quickly and a company can return deflated and underwhelmed with leads. It isn’t just the cost of the space and stand, there is utilities, lights, storage, shipping, travel and accommodation costs to think about. And if you really want to make an impact and leave an impression on visitors you might consider marketing tools like videos, competitions, live demos, freebies, sponsorships or specially printed leaflets and brochures. This can quickly spiral.

Smart decisions based on experience along the planning can influence the whole project and even extend to the next events in a very positive way.


I worked with a UK based company that exhibited at 3 to 4 shows every year – one in UK and the others in Germany. For every show they had their bespoke built stand shipped on 9 pallets to the show and back again every single time. Each transport cost around £2500! Plus, the storage facilities in the back of their warehouse were not ideal for the expensive stand to be stored in (I am talking fork lifts bumping into it and rodents making themselves at home). The costs to fix the stand up for each event alone, blew a big proportion of the budget.


After I took over, I quickly assessed that the bespoke stand isn’t even used at the one UK show the company is participating in and so the question arose why they would ship it back from Germany all the time? The answer I was given was because of the language barrier and potential storage costs that might be higher than the shipping (but no one ever checked).

I made some calls and sent a few emails to find a suitable stand builder in Germany that can also store the stand and within a few days I found the perfect business partner. They offered that if the company signs up to execute all 3 shows each year with them, they would store and ship the stand within Germany for FREE!! That alone was a saving of £7500 and the responsibility of any damage to the stand was now shifted to them.

For the one UK show I found a local stand builder that very cleverly had developed a design that can be rented at a very good price. It was a basic profile stand, but he designed it in a way where the rails were hidden by magnetic graphics, so the stand actually looked very smart! He also offered features like in-build glass shelves, a little storage room, and a wall mounted TV. The price included furniture, carpets, lights and electricity, build up, breakdown and the company got to keep the graphics for another show. 


So now they had two stand builders, two stand designs, but still saved money while an experienced professional delegated and managed all the exhibitions for them.

With shows it really is about looking at the bigger picture, including the companies’ vision and goals, and making decisions that carry over to future exhibitions if needed. This can be from the stand build to marketing materials.