What is the best booth location at a trade show?

Trade shows can provide a great opportunity to build your brand and reach out to new customers. But choosing the right trade show and then the best booth location can really affect the return on investment. You want to make sure you stand out from the crowd and draw as much attention as possible. It is a good idea to visit the venue before attending, this will give you an idea of the layout and areas with the most traffic. Choosing the best spot means booking early as it will be done on a first come first served basis.

The main things to consider for the best booth location are as follows:


The best booth locations will be in areas where there is most footfall. So the booths around cafes or seating areas are likely to receive a lot more attention as people will linger there. Attending exhibitions is tiring so delegates are likely to visit these areas at least once. Likewise locating near the toilets, you may get people lingering outside as they wait for colleagues. Rooms where seminars or lectures are taking place will also be where visitors gather so could provide good traffic flow.

It might seem a good idea to locate at the entrance to the trade show as all visitors will have to pass through this area. However, it may be busy and congested which will make people want to get through it as quickly as possible before they start browsing. Being not far from the entrance is a good idea though as visitors will be fresh and interested. Likewise locating yourself at the back of the hall isn’t the best idea as visitors will be weary, if they even make it that far. There is some evidence that visitors to trade shows in the UK tend to veer to the left after entering so being to the left of the entrance may get you noticed.

Type of Booth

There are several things to consider when you select the type of booth. These are size, orientation and whether you want a shell scheme or space only.

  1. Size
  2. It goes without saying that the larger the stand, the more likely you are to get noticed. But the size you choose will obviously be determined by your budget. Most UK venues charge between £300 and £350 per square metre. You will also have to factor in the cost of hiring or buying the stand, flooring, lighting and power, the bigger the space, the higher this cost will be. As a rule of thumb most exhibitors spend a third of their budget on the space leaving two thirds for the stand and staffing.

  3. Orientation
  4. Locating your booth at a busy intersection in the centre of the hall is likely to get you a lot of attention than being on a back wall. The location you choose will affect the type of stand you have, being down an aisle will probably mean you need three walls with just one open to visitors. This has the advantage of being able to display a lot of information but being enclosed may make you less visible. The benefit of a booth located around the edge is that these tend to have a standard size, meaning you can re-use your stand. A disadvantage is that other booths could easily block the view of your booth. Therefore you would have to work harder and offer more to attract visitors to your booth.

    Locating on a corner means you can have two walls open and two to display information. This gives you the advantage of being able to get visitors from two aisles. Furthermore, visitors tend to stand still at a corner or intersection to decide which way to go next. And that’s a perfect moment for you to welcome them into your booth. On the other side, when it’s very crowded at the exhibition the corner booths will be quickly passed by the visitors because they don’t want to get stuck at those busy intersections.

    A peninsular booth has three sides open and can be located at the end of an aisle or by splitting an island booth. Having three sides open gives you the advantage of traffic from three aisles. You can also create something really eye-catching without the restrictions of walls.

    An island booth is open on all four sides and usually located in the centre of the exhibition. This gives the obvious advantage of maximum visibility and footfall. However, they tend to be large spaces so expensive, and you have to have enough stand to fill them.

  5. Shell Scheme or Space Only
  6. You generally have two options when you book a booth at a trade show, a shell scheme or space only.

    A shell scheme has prefabricated walls, basic lighting, furniture, flooring and power. This is the most cost-effective way of exhibiting as so much is already included therefore you don’t have to supply it yourself. However, the shell schemes tend to be blocked together in aisles which can make it difficult to stand out. You are also limited in your display, you have three walls and a fascia panel, exactly the same as the people next to you. If you do book a shell scheme it is worth asking the organiser if the ceiling grid can be removed, taking away this along with the fascia board would immediately open up your stand.

    Booking space only is exactly that, just a marked-out space in the exhibition hall. You have to supply flooring, walls, lighting and furniture. This gives you the freedom to design what you want and the chance to really stand out from the crowd. If you are a regular exhibitor and able to re-use your stand this is probably the best option as you are not restricted by prefabricated walls. However, the additional time and cost of creating a stand from scratch significantly adds to the budget and effort. The space costs the same but you have to factor in the stand.

  7. Competition
  8. The final thing to consider when choosing a location at a trade show is whether to be near your competitors. It may be an advantage to be close to an industry leader. They will have a large, attention-grabbing stand which visitors will flock to. The well-known names in industry always attract a lot of visitors to their booths. If you are nearby you may be able to lure them into your booth too. However this strategy is not always a success. If their stand is larger and more vibrant than yours it may overshadow your space. Another strategy may be to locate on the route to your competitor, this will give you the advantage of the footfall without being directly compared.

    Being close to suppliers of complementary products may be an advantage, especially if you can persuade them to recommend you and you them. Word of mouth is a successful strategy and could make the trade show a success for both of you. Organisers of exhibitions will often group similar product types into one area which may enable you to differentiate yourself, or you may get lost amongst the competition.

    Choosing the best location at a trade show should be influenced by traffic, budget, the type of booth, including size, orientation and shell scheme vs space only, and competition. The best spaces will go quickly so it’s always a good idea to book early. Obtaining the floor plan of an exhibition early and working out the likely flow of visitors, the places they are most likely to gather and recognising any spaces that are best avoided will help you choose the right exhibition space for your business.

    Here at Black Robin we supply a wide variety of modular stands, to either hire or buy, built or self-build. We even offer free bespoke visuals to aid your decision. To discuss your stand requirements with us please call 0800 019 2141 or email design@exhibition-stands.com.

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