Design Search / Trade Show and Event Tips / Fine-Tune Your Trade Show Knowledge /

Mastering Trade Show Booth Selection

Trade Show Booth Selection

  • Trade show exhibit booth space is assigned based on booth size and show seniority
  • Location is only one factor in selecting an ideal exhibit booth space
  • Keep some distance between you and your competitors
  • Restrictions on height can vary by show and by country

In general, trade show exhibit booth spaces are assigned based on an exhibitor's past participation in the show (seniority). Exhibitors who attended in the past are contacted first and allowed to select their space. New exhibitors are contacted later.

You can usually draw a triangle from the entrance of the show hall and determine where the highest demand spaces will be. There are other show hall spaces with good visibility and high traffic potential that are less obvious than the ones in this triangle. For new exhibitors with a sharp eye, prime spaces may be available later in the selection process. It is not uncommon for exhibitors to cancel their reservation on a booth space, sometimes months and even weeks before the show. The show organizers will be happy to move you into this more favorable location if they know you are willing to move.

It's Not Just Location

Location is only one factor to a successful show. Depending on the show, your location may not offer much advantage. Pre-show promotion, a clear marketing message, and good trade show booth staff are generally more important than good booth placement. However, it can only help to have a space with the highest traffic pattern for your booth size.

What Booth Size to Select

Consider factors such as how much space your competition has committed to, projected attendance, how many employees will staff the booth, and how much space is required for products, demos, meetings, etc. You will also want to consider your plan for growth in the industry. Downsizing your display booth space from one year to the next is not recommended. For example changing from a 20' x 30' island booth to a 20' x 20' island is rarely an issue. But, going from a 20' x 20' island to an inline 10' x 20' has far too many negative connotations about your company's financial health.

Selection Tips

Once you know the booth size you need, you'll want to consider these tips in making your selection:

  1. Large expensive display booths are generally located near the show hall entrance. They typically fan out and give way to smaller booth spaces toward the back and perimeter.
  2. You many want to keep some distance between you and your closest competitors.
  3. Consider the architecture of the facility. Be aware of columns and variations in ceiling height.
  4. Look for opportunities to stand out. Often, there are great opportunities away from the entrance or in another hall that can give you an advantage. Consider exhibiting near the restaurant entrance or in a space flanked by primary traffic aisles.
  5. There are restrictions on height. Some shows strictly enforce these regulations. Don't assume the regulations in the United States are the same in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. They're not.
  6. Don't discount perimeter booth spaces. Perimeter spaces often allow full height exhibits (up to 16 ft.). This advantage, along with placement at the start or end of high traffic aisles, can attract lots of attendees.
  7. Consider splitting an island booth space with another company. Many shows allow two exhibitors to share a booth space and divide it to suit. An island can be converted into two peninsulas for example.

For more information about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next show.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

Add designs and photos to your personal gallery simply by clicking on the +My Gallery links

Then email your "My Gallery" to colleagues, friends, or your favorite exhibit designer. There's no better way to begin designing a display that reflects your exhibit marketing goals.

Note: My Gallery uses a temporary browser cookie to store your gallery. We recommend that you send your gallery to your email address if you need to retain it for longer than 30 days.

  • Production lead times are based on business days and DO NOT include any shipping days.
  • Production-ready artwork (when applicable) must accompany the order confirmation. Delays in uploading artwork may lead to expedited charges or shipping changes.
  • No order will be released to Production without a signed order confirmation.
  • Shipping is based on the availability of materials and graphics. Additional charges may apply if materials or graphics must be expedited.
  • Shorter lead times may be available based on schedule openings in Customer Service and Production. Rush charges may apply.
  • Standard lead times do not apply to orders of multiple quantities.
  • Please check for product availability on ALL RENTAL exhibits.
Exhibit Weight varies depending on the packaging and the shipping method. Variables include but are not limited to:
  • Dimensional Weight vs. Actual Weight: Dimensional weight is defined as crate or case size. On most air shipments, the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight
  • Portable Cases vs. Wood Crates or Molded Tubs (where applicable): Exhibit designs that require one wood crate would require multiple portable cases. Selecting one vs. the other affects the total weight (dimensional or actual).
  • Freight Carrier: LTL carriers (Less than Truckload) quote freight based on space used. UPS, FedEx, and air freight carriers quote freight based on either the dimensional or the actual weight of the shipment.
  • Freight Service Level (number of days): Service levels range from Same Day Delivery to Two Week Delivery.
For more information about exhibit weights and freight options, please contact your local exhibit representative.
Electrical, Cord, and Wire Management varies depending on the display and each exhibitor's requirements. When ordering your trade show display, consider the following electrical/wire management issues and discuss your options with an exhibit professional:
  • Inline vs. Island Displays
  • Lead Retrieval Devices
  • Computer and Monitor Cables
  • Demo Equipment
  • Overhead Lighting
  • Grommets and Grommet Placement in Counters
  • Overhead vs. Floor Power Supply
  • Flooring and Electrical Wiring
  • Options for Hiding Cords and Cables
  • Flat vs. Round Electrical Cords
  • Multi-Plug Outlets and Extension Cords
By reviewing your wiring options BEFORE you order your display, you'll save TIME and MONEY and ensure your exhibit exceeds your expectations and your installation is trouble-free.