6 Tips To Manage Your Budget For Your Trade Show Appearance

tips manage budget trade show appearance booth design

Trade show participation is expensive. It’s expensive on your time and money. You have to manage and accomplish dozens of tasks for your trade show appearance. There are several expenses to consider as well. You have to book your booth space, select your booth design, and train your staff. And, these are just main expenses that you can identify, there are other equally important expenses that can’t be immediately quantified. These include the costs of labor, electricity charges, Wi-Fi, storage, hotel stay, meals, and travel. This makes budgeting for your trade show tricky, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help your budget for your trade show appearance. We’ve designed these tips to apply to exhibitors at every experience level, you should apply these tips at the start of your budget planning. 

1. Booth Space Estimate  

Exact costs for renting booth space varies, but you can still come up with average estimates to help you. According to the Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) at any trade show held nationally, a square foot costs for renting trade show space is estimated to be betwen 138 to 155 dollars. So if we take $155 as a figure, planning to set a 10×10 booth comes to 100 square feet, so if you multiple 100 square feet by $155 it comes up to $15,500 to rent your booth space. One thing to note it the figure will also vary based on the popularity of the trade show and how early you book your booth space. Finally, to be on save side, it’s best to take your figure and multiply it by two for your booth space budget. 

2. Booth Budget 

Booth costs differ based on whether you choose to buy it or rent it. The trade off you make in the case of purchase is more savings in the long-term, whereas with trade show booth rentals you don’t have to worry about managing after the show. If you’ve exhibited before, it becomes much easier to make an estimate, based on how much you spend at your last show. You simply have to adjust it for inflation and plan your budget as per the next show. But, if you want a more concrete method, then you simply need to know the cost a square foot, which we have covered above. Once you’ve know the cost, you rough estimate for your booth budget would be three times that cost. Why three times? Because you will also need to account for electricity, Wi-Fi, permissions, marketing documents, giveaway, staff essentials and furniture. 

3. Categorize Major Expenses 

After you develop a rough budget estimate for your booth, now the question comes about how to categorize it. As per Exhibitor online and TSNN, here are the primary categories where your trade show budget will be used. 

A. Booth Related:  This includes booth space, accessories, seating and other components needed for your particular booth design. 

B. Staff Costs:  This includes hiring and training your staff, the costs of booking hotel rooms, travel expenses and meal expenses. 

C. Logistics:  This includes transporting your booth to the trade show. There are booth contractors that offer this service to exhibitors, but if they don’t then you’ll have to manage transporting your booth. 

D. Promotion & Marketing:  After visitors leave your booth, it’s your marketing collateral and giveaways that they carry back with them. It becomes the touchstone for your brand after the trade show is over. 

4. Prioritize Costs 

Your cost priority is about how to allocate your budget to every expense category. Almost 40% of your budget should go to your booth space and trade show booth design, since you can’t fulfill your exhibiting goals without them. Forty percent might sound a lot, but you need the buffer space, in case prices go up. The next 15% should be spent on travel and hotel booking, travel and hotel costs are never going to get cheaper, even if you book well in advance. The other 10% will be to pay overhead costs such as electricity, materials, storage. The other 15% should be spent on training your staff, this includes familiarizing them with your target audience, teaching them how to engage a potential customer and how to keep the booth tidy and well stocked. The rest should be adjusted for marketing, promotion, staff payments and any overhead expenses, such as Wi-Fi needed to be handled. 

5. Spend Money On The Right Places 

The primary metrics for success at a trade show appearance is booth traffic and how many visitors follow your company after the show is over. So don’t slash your budget for costs that affect how your prospects will experience your brand. Your booth design becomes the face of the company at the trade fair, so when you buy or rent your trade show exhibits it’s important that the design you choose is grabs the attention of your intended audience. So the exhibition graphics, lighting and every other material needs to be of the best quality. And, finally there is staff training. You booth is the face that will draw visitors in, but it will be your staff that will nudge them in their customer journey. Good staff training means that your on-site team has acquired the skill to greet, qualify and build rapport with prospects at your booth. You staff also needs to have all the tools at the booth to engage the visitors without any hassle or delay, so they also need to be trained to use any technology you deploy for your promotional activities. 

6. Define Exhibiting Objectives

Your company’s trade show goals affect your budget. They are foundation on which you will decide, if the amount of money and other resources you are spending is justified. Outlining your exhibiting objectives makes executing your budget planning more simpler. How do you find your exhibiting objective, doing that is simple, you just need to ask the relevant questions such as: 

• Do you want to establish brand awareness, and enhance your company’s credibility? 
• Do you want to strengthen or maintain your brand position? 
• Promote a new product into the market? 
• Establish your USP, which differentiates you from competitors? 
• Explore new markets? 
• Start a new brand? 
• What benefit does your company get through exhibiting? 
• Why is exhibiting the path towards growing your company? 
• How important is this benefit from the growth of your company? 
• What kind of trade show booth ideas does you booth need to have to achieve your company objective? 
• Which type of trade shows would you need to attend, for reaching your objective? 
• Who is your target audience at these shows? 
• How would you reach out to them? 
• What kind of promotional activities do you plan at the show? 
• How many staff members will you need? 

These are some general questions to ask yourself, when planning your trade show exhibiting objectives. Once, you have your objectives it’s important that you share it with your team and your relevant stakeholders. If everyone refers to the same picture, on-boarding becomes much easier. Coming up with ideas for your budget also becomes easier, since your team can now come up with relevant ideas to help you achieve your exhibiting objectives. 

Have A Tremendous Trade Show

So there you have it! Follow these six top tips to help you make the most out of your budget at your upcoming trade show.

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