At a conference or expo, your trade show booth location can make or break you, no matter how well prepared you are for the show. Consider these principles while selecting the best possible trade show booth location possible to maximize foot traffic.
You need time to collect information about the factors that will influence the decision. Start early. Many expos open the floor plan selection for next year’s show at THIS year’s show. When choosing next year’s space, pay close attention to your first day’s performance this year. If the show is in the same venue, be sure you are familiar with last year’s stats.
Knowledge is power
The more you know about your shows, the better decisions you will be able to make when the time comes. Start by examining floor plans for previous shows. Keep an archive from the show kits from other years. You’ll see who draws what from year to year.
While you are at this year’s show, take notes on the layout. It’s likely to be much the same next year. Check out where the competitors are and list physical considerations, such as columns, traffic flow, and main traffic aisles.
Look at traffic patterns
Which is the main door for the show? The door most of the attendees will be using? Where do the buses drop off? Where’s the registration area? The restrooms? The food court? What door is near the breakout sessions? The general session? You need to be where the action is, not relegated to the back corner where no one ventures.
Keep practical considerations in mind
Watch out for columns indicated on the floor plan. They are often not well marked. Or, if they are, the sheer scale of the show floor makes that six-foot column look miniscule. But in your booth it can become a monster that blocks your traffic flow and sight lines.
Every show is different
Every show has its own particular method for assigning booth space. Find out the selection mechanics for the shows at which you will exhibit. These are among the most common:
- The points method. This approach is based on weighted points for booth size, seniority (number of years at the show), and support of the show (sponsorships).
- Indication of preference order. Here, the hosting association makes final selection.
- Assigned spaces.
- First buy, first pick.
Consider a sponsorship
Which sponsorships are more valuable to the show and to you? If you are willing to pay for preference, this can be a way to better your position when you are up against established, senior exhibitors who naturally get the best locations. Find out whether certain sponsorships have an influence on booth space.
Your business has many stakeholders, but the onus is on YOU to select one of the most valuable tools in the marketing toolbox. However, you don’t need to make a critical business decision of many thousands of dollars by yourself. Get others involved: your boss, his/her boss, your peers. They will all have insights, recommendations, and preferences.
Booths and real estate have this in common: location location location! Include educated location selection in your trade show planning and achieve even better results!