Top Exhibition Budgeting Tips


Attending an exhibition can bring many benefits – direct sales, visibility within your industry, the opportunity to network – but it can be a costly activity.  Budgeting for an exhibition isn’t always easy, there are many costs involved – the space, your stand, promotional items and staffing costs can all add up.  But with a little careful planning, it is possible to save money.  Here are our top exhibition budgeting tips:

  • Book early

Trade show organisers will often have early-bird discounts so make sure you plan well in advance, ideally 9 – 12 months before the show.  In addition, booking early will enable you to secure the best booth location at the show.  Remember to negotiate, especially if you plan to attend more than one show organised by the same company, they may offer a bulk discount.  Look out for offers like free catalogue listings, and advertise your attendance on social media using the exhibition hashtag.

Order your stand in plenty of time so that you’re not faced with expensive express delivery charges.  Hotels and train fares may also be cheaper when booked in advance.  But keep an eye on the prices to see if they go down too.



  • Book a smaller booth

If you are trying to reduce your exhibition budget it is better to book a smaller space than to economise on your stand.  At around £300 per square metre, you can make big savings by cutting down the size of your floor space.  Visitors are more likely to pay attention to your stand than the space it is in.  What’s really important is to have an eye-catching stand design so that you stand out from your competitors. 

  • Buy a re-useable stand

If you plan to exhibit at more than one show consider buying a modular stand that can be reused many times. Custom-built stands can be expensive, and if they are just discarded at the end of the show, very wasteful.  A modular stand is straightforward to store and can be redesigned for different spaces at different shows. And as you have the flexibility to use the same stand over your entire exhibiting calendar, you could save up to 70% on repeat exhibiting. 

As well as being significantly cost-effective, reusing your exhibition stand is more environmentally friendly, as it avoids the wastefulness of “throwaway” custom-builds which are likely to end up in a skip at the end of the show.  We will even help you reconfigure it for other shows for nothing.



  • Consider hiring a stand

If you only plan to attend one or two exhibitions a year, hiring a stand could be the ideal option.  Most exhibition stand companies will offer hiring options, at a fraction of the cost of buying, and your graphics will still be completely bespoke to your business.

Our “Hire to self-build” option allows you to rent your stand and build it yourself, avoiding the cost of an exhibition contractor.  We support you with free one-to-one training and online tutorials and if you need some help on the day we can supply a stand-fitter at a simple day rate.  You’ll own the graphics which we can store at a low cost, and we will help you reconfigure your stand free of charge.

  • Be careful of additional electricity charges

Make sure you discuss the cost of the electricity supply with the show organiser when you book your space.  Exhibition organisers use contractors to install sockets on your stand and the cost can be between £200 and £800 depending on how many sockets you have.  There can also be additional charges for testing.  If you are on a budget keep electrical items to a minimum and use LED lights which can all come off one socket.  Although the use of audio-visual displays and interactive technology can certainly enhance a stand if your exhibiting budget doesn’t allow it then it would be best to leave this out of your exhibition package. 

  • Be wary of offer bundles

Many event organisers will offer furniture packs for hire to add to your stand.  The charges for these can be quite high.  You may be better off sourcing the furniture yourself, then you can re-use it at future exhibitions.

  • Limit booth staff

Many choose to hire staff to man their exhibition stands, but this can add additional unnecessary expense.  Instead, use your own staff, they will already be knowledgeable about the company and products.  If necessary, offer them training in sales techniques to help them on the day.



  • Consider promotional items carefully

Branded giveaways are part of the exhibition experience but can be expensive to buy.  Make sure you shop around for bulk discounts.  Be selective about who you give them to, rather than having them in a pot on the desk for any passer-by to grab, keep them behind the desk and only give them out to people who really engage with you.  That way you’re not throwing money away on people just there for the freebies.

  • Don’t forget storage costs

If your stand is too big to store and transport yourself you may end up having to pay to store it, either with the stand designer or a storage company.  This can add a significant cost to the exhibition budget. The cheapest and easiest option is to use an exhibition company that includes storage and transportation as part of your exhibition stand project management service. 

So with some careful budgeting, it is possible to save money when exhibiting, the trick is to plan everything meticulously and look for areas where savings can be made.  To discuss your exhibition requirements phone us on 0800 019 2141 or email

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