Note: All dates are subject to change in light of COVID-19
Attending a trade show is a great undertaking, one that requires a lot of time, resources, and planning. For most times, it usually takes months, and most of the business operations are suspended; that’s how big trade shows are. The upside is, if you do it the right way, your business may never be the same again as it would open new doors for you. However, everyone who attends a trade show is usually faced with one big question, to rent or to buy?
We are going to explore this pertinent question and look at how each of the options works, their benefits and drawbacks, and the things one has to keep in mind when making the selection of either. If you have been thinking of attending a trade show in the near future but have no clue on what to do or where to start, then you are in the right place. Stick to the end to learn a thing or two that will help you on the way.
Trade Show Essentials
Before diving into a discussion of whether to buy or rent, it is good to first understand exactly what it is you will be renting or buying for the trade show. There are certain essential items that one has to have if they ever hope to have a successful day out at the trade show. They include the following.
These are the compartments and the spaces that will house your wares and products. An exhibition stand rental varies in size depending on the size of what you aim to present. Booths for furniture pieces, for example, have to be bigger compared to a booth meant for small items like electronics. The choice of a booth is usually the first decision that one has to make, as that determines the outlay of everything else. It is also one of the costliest undertakings, so handling it first helps clear your plate, allowing you to deal with something else.
These are the smartboards, the display screens, the audio aids, and so many more. You cannot handle everything at a tradeshow. You can’t explain every single detail to all the people that come to your booth, even if you have a huge team of staff. You will require the help of trade show displays for rent and audio aids that explain what you are all about in a well-presented format. Trade show rental displays are what the visitors who come to your booth will watch, and if they have any other questions, they can then approach you.
These are the most important, the entire reason you are attending the trade show in the first place. Display items are all the special products that you wish to showcase to the people depending on the kind of business you are in. You have to pack the very best you can find since you are trying to leave an impression on the visitor who will come to your booth. The items have to be presented in the best way possible, showing their best sides. So take your time when selecting them, as they could make or break your entire plan.
Business cards are your calling cards; they are how you make sure people follow up later on. Every visitor that pops into your booth must leave their business card and must take yours, always insist on the latter especially. Trade show booth rentals are a very busy place, and it is easy for people to remember all the places they may have visited, but a single look at a business card they may have taken will immediately connect the dots in their heads, and they will remember what you wear all about. So print as many business cards as you can when going to a trade show.
You will be standing and moving around a lot, and you should be well-armed with all the energy-giving refreshments your hands can find. Trade shows are usually a hive of activity, from attending to visitors to showcasing an item a hundred times to various people. All this can take a huge toll on your body, and recharging yourself every few minutes is what you have to do if you hope to see the end of the day in one piece. Carry the refreshments you need or buy them from the venue if you can.
First Aid Kit
The good news is that you will probably have no need for a first aid kit the entire time you will be attending the trade show, but it helps to be prepared because you never know what may go down. Having a first aid kit is something everyone must consider making a mandatory item to carry around because all the standing and walking around may have some negative effect on a person. The last thing you would want is to end up fainting in the middle of a presentation in a crowded place with no medical help in sight for the sake of everyone on your team. Make sure you carry a first aid kid with you.
Your booth area must have good carpeting on the floor for the ease of movement and for aesthetic purposes. You have to understand that everything you choose to add to any part of the trade show rentals becomes part of the presentation; therefore, make sure the colors and everything else match up well to enhance the visual effect of the entire booth. Some trade shows come with a uniform carpeting scheme but if that doesn’t compliment your booth, feel free to find one that will.
People need to sit, be it your staff, yourself, or the visitors that come into your exhibit booth rentals. The space may not allow for the setting up of many chairs and couches, but you should have a couple of them around. The booth chairs will come in handy when a visitor or an investor who takes an interest in your booth wants to have a chat with you. Your staff will need to take breaks, and having comfortable lounging chairs for them would go a long way in ensuring you gain the success you are looking for.
Backdrop and Banner Stands
Trade shows are the perfect places for aggressive advertising; if there’s one event where you should go all out with brand visibility, then this is it. Get all the banners that display your company and what you are involved in to ensure that people get a full picture of what exactly you are involved in. These banners and backdrops can be situated in any part of the booth where people passing by can have a good look at them. This is how you generate interest at a trade show.
You will be surprised at how fast the booth can get dirty. A single day of a trade show event can end up with you setting hundreds of visitors who come trudging into your booth; it goes without saying that dirt will accumulate over time, and to ensure the booth continues to look spick and span, you have to constantly clean them every chance you get. Have bins nearby and someone on standby to clean things every few minutes.
Lastly and most importantly, you must have client giveaways, not for everyone, just those who show genuine interest by buying some of the products on display. These giveaways and prizes are what will attract more people to your booth, and at the same time, they will leave a huge impact on anyone who gets gifted. They will end up spreading the word about your company, and that’s the level of advertising that cannot be bought.
Buying vs. Renting
Now you just made your list of the things you need for your trade show; it is time to make the decision between renting what you need or outright buying them. Each option has its own advantages and drawbacks, visual presentation, and depending on several factors, you will have to make a decision quickly.
Buying is where you purchase all the things you need for your trade show presentation.from the booths, the flooring, the presentation visual aids and any other need that may come up. Compared to renting, this is a very costly option, but people who go with it usually have good reasons. The following are the advantages and disadvantages of buying.
- With a buy trade show exhibit, you have more control over what you can do with all the items you buy. There’s no one loading over you or monitoring how you use the things you need for your trade show presentation. You are also exempted from paying damages if you happen to return damaged items. With this option, you have some peace of mind.
- You can go to multiple trade shows with the same products and essentials without having to buy new ones or re-hiring them over and over again. All you would need is to change the design of each arrangement depending on the layout of each new trade show venue. This way, it is more cost-effective as you have more control.
- It is cost-effective and cheaper in the long run if you are running a bigger booth. By buying a bigger presentation booth, for instance, you have the freedom to fit any smaller booth into it without having to add any extra cost. You also have the advantage of just setting it up once and use it for anything you want until the trade show comes to an end.
- You can customize it any way you want since you have already paid for everything. This gives you the freedom to add any modifications that you believe will further enhance the success of your booth. You can go with any type of color you feel like; you can add extensions to make it bigger and any other thing that comes to your mind. As long as you keep everything within the limits of your allocated booth space.
- With buying your own booth and any other essential addition to your trade show is the longevity. You get to resume them over and over again for a lot of years without ever spending a dime hiring anything in the process. This will give your trade show exhibitions a very unique touch, and it will not be long before people associate your brand with a specific look.
- You can incur a lot of losses if what you buy doesn’t work or gets damaged before the start of the show. Once you have bought a booth and any other essential addition, you will not have time for returns, especially when the event is being held in another country.
- You will be forced to foot the bills for storage, insurance, refurbishments, movements, and any repairs and maintenance. All these can end up being costly if you are the type that only attends a single trade show in a year. Only go with the buying option if you are assured of attending several trade shows in a year.
- You will have a booth that looks the same every year, and everywhere you go, and this may not reflect well on your brand since these trade shows are frequented by the same people all the time. People will stop being intrigued to come to your booth since they have seen everything already, and that will hurt your business.
- It is not a good option to go with if you are on a small budget. If you don’t have the resources to cover such a huge undertaking, then you may find yourself struggling to keep things afloat when the trade show finally kicks off.
The renting option allows you to hire everything you need for the show for a set period of time. It is a more flexible option since you don’t have to worry about how you will get things ready for the trade show. All you have to do is to pay and show up, and you will find everything you need ready waiting for you.
- You have the freedom to change the branding on your custom exhibit rentals with ease. In fact, you can have two different booths for two different days, and only the keenest clients will be able to tell the difference. This adds a new dimension to the presentation.
- Renting is the best option when you are on a tight budget. As previously mentioned, running a trade show booth is not easy, and by the time you are ready to hit the road, you will have spent a good chunk of your budget. It is at this point that many companies decide to go with renting, such as furniture rentals, whatever they don’t have yet as it is cheaper and faster.
- It gives you the flexibility to experiment with different designs and colors. Some companies that specialize in renting out booths and the likes usually have very many options you can choose from, and this can help you make the right decision as far as the aesthetics are concerned.
- You can save on trade show equipment rental storage fees and any other liabilities like insurance, maintenance, or disposal fees. You simply show up, set things up, do a show, and once everything is done, you simply walk away, and the hiring company handles the rest. The only liability you will be subjected to is any damages that the things you hire may sustain during their use.
- You can meet all the rules and regulations of each trade show if you choose to go with renting. No two trade shows are the same, and when you start moving around with bought booths, you may end up being barred from participating if you don’t meet the standards. Renting is the only way to get around this hurdle.
- You don’t have to worry about shipping logistics or setting things up. Most companies that offer booth rental services, for instance, usually price their packages to include everything, from shipping to setting up the booth to security and dismantling. All you have to do is pay and show up, and everything will be ready waiting for you at the venue. You only need to trouble yourself with the products you wish to showcase.
- You are limited to the number of customizations you are allowed to do since you don’t one the things you hire. At the end of the day, they have to be returned in their original condition so that another client can use them for their own trade shows. This can be limiting when it comes to creativity.
- There’s always the likelihood you may end up having a similar booth like other people in the same trade show since most businesses tend to hire from the most easily accessible booth rental companies. Having to set up shop next to other people who have similar booth designs and colors may not make your business stand out as much as you may need it to.
- The booth may show signs of wear and tear due to prolonged use by other clients before you. This may not be very apparent to many visitors who come knocking but eventually, it may affect the aesthetics of your booth, and as we already know, image is everything when it comes to trade shows.
- There’s always the danger of rental companies running out of rental materials when an event is overbooked. This can make it hard for any form of presentation to take place. Relying on rental companies is not a good idea if the trade show you’re attending is a do-or-die type of situation.
Deciding What to Go With: Things to Consider
With all the options on the table, how do you make a choice to go with rental over buying or vice versa? Considering the magnitude of attending a trade show, there are some pertinent factors that you have to pay close attention to in order to make the right decision, and they include the following.
After footing the flight bills for you and your staff, the accommodation expenses, and all the contingencies, you may find yourself strapped for cash, and this is where switching to rentals comes in handy. Renting trade show essentials is much cheaper and can be charged per hour compared to buying everything on your dime for an event that will only last a day or two. Therefore, if you want to save money, consider renting over buying.
You will be better off with renting if the capacity of your presentation is not that big. If all you need is a single booth and a few essentials, then renting them for a day makes more sense compared to spending good money buying things you cannot use for a long time. But if you are a big company with the capacity to bring down the entire company for a trade show, then buying your stuff is something you should consider doing instead.
The one thing that pushes many people off from buying their own booths is the storage and insurance liabilities. Having your own equipment and tools means you have to create room for them when traveling and when you land in another place for a trade show. This can be too much work, especially if you are a small company. If storage would be a problem, then consider renting. But if you have the means and the storage space, then buying your own booths would be a better financial move.
The venue of the trade show determines a lot of things, among them, the decision to either rent or buy the booths and other necessary essentials. If the venue of the show is in another country, then renting would be the smarter move to reduce the luggage you have to carry with you on the flight. If the venue is within a short distance from your business premise, then investing in your own booths is way better.
Depending on your customization needs, you may be better off with your own booth compared to having a hired one. When you have the full benefit of ownership, you get to make any modification you want that will enhance the presentation. Rented booths are limited as far as customizations are concerned because the booths have to be reused by other people, and making any modifications will render them useless.
Trade Shows are a big deal for all businesses. It is recommended that every company that wishes to become a force in their line of work has to attend at least one trade show. It is through trade shows that people come face to face with things they never knew existed, and this helps the company grow further. If you have been thinking of attending a trade show of any kind in the near future and you would like to have rental services that suit your needs, then don’t hesitate to drop us a call anytime you’re ready, and we will take you through all our offerings in detail.