How to Book Your Next Exhibition

How to Book Your Next Exhibition

Exhibitions present a unique opportunity to showcase your products and company, raise awareness of your brand and network with industry peers.  Unlike most marketing activities, trade shows give you the exciting opportunity to interact with your audience face-to-face and build lasting and more powerful business relationships, so go all out and make sure you make the most out of it. There is an exhibition for almost every interest – from cars to weddings to vaping – so choosing the right one for your business is vital.

However, exhibiting at a trade show can be a significant financial commitment to a small or medium-sized company so getting it right is important if you want to achieve a decent ROI (Return on Investment). Here we have a guide on how to research and book your next exhibition.

Which Exhibition?

There may be several industry specific trade shows to choose from. You need to select the one that attracts the audience you want to target.  Try, if you can, to visit the show before you exhibit so you can see the volume and type of people who attend. Observe how the visitors interact with the exhibitors. Are they buying products or gathering information for later? Why is one exhibition stand busier than the other? Where are high-traffic booths located? What are your competitors doing?  If you can’t do this, make sure you do your research on the internet, look for reviews, and speak to the show organiser.  Things to consider are:

  • How long has the event been running?
  • How will it be promoted? 
  • What sort of visitors does it attract? 
  • Which of your competitors are there?
  • Which Trade Bodies support the show? 
  • What was the previous year's attendance? 
  • Which press and media will be there? 
  • What is included in the cost?

Set your goals for the Exhibition

What do you want to achieve by exhibiting at the show?  Some common goals are:

  • Gaining qualified leads
  • Selling your products
  • Launching a new product
  • Raising awareness of your business and brand within the industry
  • Networking with peers
  • Seeing what your competitors are doing
  • Sourcing new suppliers or partners

Setting quantifiable goals will help you determine the design of your stand and also enable you to measure the success of the show afterwards.

Set Your Budget

It is important to set a budget for exhibiting at a trade show.  Once you know how much the space is going to cost you can allocate a budget as follows:

Exhibition Stand – 50%

Floor Space – 25%

Staff accommodation and travel – 7%

Promotional material – 6%

Electricity – 2%

Furniture – 2%

TV Rental – 2%

Your exhibition stand should be the biggest cost as it will determine how many visitors you get.  There is no point booking a huge space then not having the budget for a decent stand, far better, if necessary, to book a smaller space and invest in a really eye-catching stand.

Book Your Space

The earlier you do this the better, the good spaces at an exhibition get booked up quickly so it’s worth planning this at least 6 months before the event.  You will need to request a floor plan from the show organiser as this will show you the layout of the hall and location of all the spaces.

Aim for a space with high footfall.  If you can visit the venue beforehand, you’ll get an idea of where people congregate.  Locating in the centre at a busy intersection, close to restaurants or toilets, and near the entrance are good positions.  But don’t go right by the entrance, the crowds coming in will mean that people want to move away quickly.

You will have the option of booking a shell scheme or space only.  A shell scheme has walls, flooring and a fascia board with your name on it.  Space only is just that – a marked out area with nothing in it – you will be responsible for building walls, providing flooring, lighting and electric sockets.  See our guide to both options here.  If you are new to exhibiting, a shell scheme provides the easiest option, all you have to do is source graphic panels or a basic modular stand.  The smallest shell scheme is normally 2 metres x 3 metres. Do remember that shell scheme walls are rarely flat or regularly sized and may require an interior "skin" of graphic panels.



During the planning process remember to continue to liaise with the event organiser throughout your preparations. Make sure you’re always up to date on details regarding timings, permissions and promotion opportunities.  Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for all the early bird discounts.

This guide covers the first stage in planning and booking an exhibition.  We will be following this up with a guide on how to choose your exhibition contractor and design your stand.  For advice from one of our experts and free design ideas, call us on 0800 019 2141 or email

Please Visualise this stand with my branding and send a detailed quotation.