The Internet is awash with advice on how to prepare for and what to bring to trade shows and exhibitions. Book early, plan ahead, always staff the stand… do these sound familiar? If so, that’s great because they are indeed things you should take into account. But there are quite a few things that are not so well known about exhibitions… and here are three of them!
1. Everything costs £££! When you book a stand for the first time you assume the hefty price you pay will get you a few square metres you can use to present your company to the world. Unfortunately, as you will find out very soon, the space is all you’ve bought - no carpet, no electric sockets, no display screens, no chairs and no tables.
Inexperienced exhibitors often don’t realise they need to budget for these 'extras'. The electrical supply is a particular trap for the unwary. Even when you’ve paid for your socket, you could find that it’s not even suitable for boiling the kettle! If you need to plug in a couple of computers, a TV screen and even a modest amount of display equipment, the costs can mount significantly.
Hospitality furniture is another element that can end up costing dearly during shows. Organisers will gladly provide chairs and tables, but you may end up thinking that you’ve paid for their weight in gold!
Unfortunately, these expenses can’t really be avoided so it’s absolutely essential to plan ahead and include them in the overall exhibition budget from the outset.
2. You can always negotiate!
Trade shows are expensive affairs and it’s easy to be put off when you look at the price list for stands. But, inquiring as early as possible, especially if you have your eyes on a specific location, could save you a useful amount of money. Exhibition organisers’ sales teams are keen on getting their numbers up so there is always room for negotiation, especially early on.
Other things you can negotiate over include sponsorship opportunities, speaker slots and inclusion in promotional materials. Depending on the size of the show and the level of interest, you can nearly always negotiate a better rate for sponsorships or persuade the organiser to throw in a few other perks – like a focus feature on your company in the show guide. Some exhibitions also do TV and video interviews so it’s worth trying to negotiate inclusion here as well if you’re already sponsoring.
3. Last minute isn’t always a bad thing
While getting in early is important if you’re keen to secure a specific location, if you’re more relaxed about where you’ll be, booking a stand close to the event date can also deliver cost savings. As the show gets closer, the organisers are keen to fill up any remaining space in the halls and not to be left with empty stands, so they’ll probably be ready to offer a few bargains!
Similarly, organisers may find themselves missing a keynote speaker or in need of an extra person for the round table discussion because someone has dropped out. Maintain good communication with the organisers and seize these last minute opportunities when they arise. Not only will this leave you in good standing with the organisers, it will also mean your company gets great exposure for very low fees.