Trade show booth location

Trade show booth location

Trade Show Booths Are Like Real Estate: Location, Location, Location

The success of your trade show booth location rests upon the amount of traffic you can attract and retain. Prime booth locations can be proportional to the potential number of leads and sales achieved at the show. Where are the prime booth locations, and what position pitfalls should your company avoid?

High-traffic areas have always been sought after by exhibitors: main aisles, entrances (without being too close to the entrance), ends of rows, and corner spaces to attract traffic from intersecting aisles are all highly-desirable locations. Also seek out locations that are two or three booths up the main entrance aisle. Did you know that the right side of the aisle, when entering from the main doorway, is more advantageous than the left aisle?

Try to locate your booth along the major route to seminar rooms, if seminars will be prominently featured at the show. Also consider locations that are near, but not adjacent to, food service centres and restrooms. Granted, these are high-traffic areas; however, attendees have their own personal agenda when visiting the concessions or restrooms, and your booth will not rank high on their priority list. Furthermore, you may find attendees loitering in front of your booth as they finish their meal, blocking other attendees from reaching your booth staff.

Search for less congestion within expected high-traffic areas. Congestion can actually hurt your lead and sales prospects at a show, as it may be challenging to initiate meaningful conversations with potential customers. 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.

Also be wary of your neighbours – your company may suffer the misfortune of being located next to someone using a PA system. Although the PA system may attract a large crowd, the loud, distracting monologue will preclude effective discussions with attendees. Avoid positioning your booth adjacent to key competitors or major companies who tend to boast larger, more vibrant displays. Keep in mind that a booth location on the outside edge means you are less likely to have a neighbour hosting a floor show next to your booth, sidetracking visitors. And avoid the following position pitfalls if at all possible: dead-end aisles, spaces obstructed by columns, and overhanging ceiling pipes.

If this is a repeat-performance trade show, ask yourself if you desire the same location as previous years. Regular attendees can easily find you, but you may prefer a more advantageous location. Remember that most shows have a pecking order for booth selection. You may have to compromise on your booth location for a year or two. Scope out the perfect location for next year’s show, and keep trying. A couple of considerations: if you can’t secure a decent booth location, don’t compromise. Rather, consider attending the show as a visitor and critically evaluate the future value of the show. Bring your booth location map to the show and identify several desirable booth locations. And two, remember that you can still drive traffic to your booth with effective pre-show promotions and at-show advertising, even if you weren’t assigned an ideal space in the first place.

You must book early, since the prime locations are reserved first. Know your preferred locations, and position your fingers over your computer mouse or telephone as soon as the booth selection opens. Your company can secure a booth location that optimizes your exposure and your trade show results if you act quickly, pinpoint the prime real estate, and avoid the position pitfalls described above.