Ask the Experts: How to Save Money & Improve Efficiency for Trade Shows, Part 1 of 3

In the face-to-face marketing industry, planning is crucial and it’s important to take stock of your trade show program. As you work to evaluate your successes and identify areas of improvement, it can be easy to forget important details and key elements along the way.

For nearly 40 years, Exhibit Concepts has been in the business of designing, building, and managing of trade shows and experiential environments. Who better to offer you pointers than our experts?

We asked each department three key questions:

  1. How can clients save money or use their budget more efficiently?
  2. What is the best way for clients to avoid surprises in the latter portion of the event planning process?
  3. Which upgrades, booth trends, or emerging engagements do you see on the horizon that clients can implement to save time and money?

In part 1 of 3, we will focus our attention on the first question. There are several key ways our team works to help our clients save money and use their budget as efficiently as possible. Here’s what they had to say:

From the Creatives

Booth design is all about balance. That is, balancing between creating an engaging, beautiful trade show space that meets the client’s needs while also meeting their budget. From a budgetary standpoint, our design team is always on the lookout for new products that are unique but also lightweight and budget conscious. These solutions include incorporating our vast inventory of rental property, comprised of lightweight modular solutions and choosing materials that are light in weight and aesthetically pleasing, too.

From the Graphics Department

Investing in quality graphics that will last over a year (or more) is crucial to making the most of your investment, according to our graphics department. Knowing you have recurring shows at the same time each year can not only help from a planning perspective, but also helps you to avoid last minute rush or overnight charges, which are notoriously pricey. Start early in order to take advantage of “early bird” discounts and always plan ahead.

From the Fabricators

Our team is comprised of many skilled individuals who specialize in electrical, carpentry, and painting. R&D is a major factor in our process. Our clients are number one, and finding new ways to serve their needs is important to us. For example, we recently built a custom trade show booth for a longtime client. That client wanted a structure that spanned the length of their large booth, but also wanted to avoid the added cost of rigging the structure. Our team quite literally tested the integrity of the span by seeing how far we could go with internal support only; proving that you don’t know how far you can go until you find the limit. By running reinforcements through the interior of the span, we were able to support the weight of the span without the need for rigging from the ceiling of the exhibit hall.

From Account Managers

When it comes to account management, planning ahead and meeting timeline goals is of the utmost importance. Many clients attend the same shows each year or even every two years. In this instance (and all others), a program approach is of great value.

From our Engagement Specialists

Incorporating engagement into the trade show is a major trend in the industry that we don’t see going away anytime soon. However, it is more important than ever to invest in meaningful engagement that provides a compelling experience for visitors. Our team believes engagement should be smart and help deliver on your goals, whatever they may be.

From Show Services

When it comes to services, planning ahead and meeting deadlines is a crucial component to budgeting in this area. Our Show Services department pointed out that meeting the discount deadline date is key, which gives customers 20% to 30% savings from the standard price. As other departments echoed, designing new booth property with lighter weight building materials is the best way to save on drayage and shipping costs.

From the Shipping Department

As other departments have echoed, timing and weight are everything when it comes to shipping costs. Incorporating lightweight materials, such as rental systems or fabric, is a great option for not only cutting down on weight, but also on the number of crates you need and drayage costs.

From Leadership

One school of thought with regard to how to save money or use the budget more efficiently is to go through every single line item involved in executing a particular show and shopping around for the lowest price on each individual item. But this approach can actually backfire and increase total cost when there are mistakes and rework when the different parties don’t work well together. More often, consolidating resources with a limited number of full-service partners can result in a more seamlessly executed event and a lower overall cost.

This is only the beginning; there is plenty more advice on saving money and making the most of your budget to come in parts two and three of this series. In the meantime, why not use our Trade Show Checklist to ensure you have everything in place for your next show?

Want to read Part Two? You can view it HERE.


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