Trade shows and exhibitions are prime priorities for companies to display their brand, products, or services. A well-designed exhibition stand can attract attendees, convey key messaging, and leave a long-term impression. However, designing and building an effective trade show booth requires expertise and thoughtful planning.

In this comprehensive guide, we answer the most commonly asked questions about exhibition stand design, including how to choose the right stand, key elements to include, budgeting, rentals vs buying, and working with stand builders. Whether you are new to exhibiting or a seasoned trade show veteran, this FAQ will provide insights to help you maximize your investment in your next event.

Choosing the Right Exhibition Stand

What are the first steps in choosing an exhibition stand?

The first step is determining your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve at the exhibition? Are you launching a new product, generating leads, or simply increasing brand awareness? Your goals will inform important decisions like stand size, design, features, and budget.

It’s also crucial to consider your target audience. What will appeal to them and attract them to your stand? Gather insights into attendee demographics, interests, needs, and behaviors.

Finally, review the exhibition rules and regulations which will impact your stand choice. Consider the venue specifics, any restrictions on stand size/format, and what’s included with the exhibition package.

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How do you decide on the right size stand?

The optimal stand size depends on your budget, staffing levels, and what you want to achieve. Larger stands allow more room for meeting areas, demos and activities to engage visitors. But they also cost more and require more staff. Smaller stands are more affordable, though offer less flexibility.

First, consider the minimum space needed to achieve your goals. Will you need product display areas, private meeting rooms, large screens or demonstrations? Don’t overload a small stand, but make sure a larger stand will be put to good use.

Analyze your past event metrics. How many leads/sales resulted from different stand sizes? Per square meter, smaller stands can generate more ROI.

Also, factors in the exhibition culture. The standard stand size for your industry will set visitor expectations. Avoid stands that are drastically smaller or larger than competitors.

What are the different exhibition stand types?

The main types of trade show stands include:

  • Inline/Linear: Stands in a straight line with aisles on one or both sides.
  • Corner: Stands at the corner of two aisles. They offer exposure from two directions.
  • Peninsula: Stands with aisles on three sides. More expensive but high visibility.
  • Island: Stands with aisles on all four sides. Most expensive, but maximum exposure.
  • Modular: Custom stands using interconnecting panels and components. Versatile and reconfigurable.
  • Fabric/Pop Up: Lightweight frame with fabric infill panels. Portable and budget-friendly.
  • Custom: Fully customized stand built from the ground up. Offers maximum design flexibility.

Consider the format best suited to your budget, design needs, and goals. Corner, peninsula or island stands are recommended for larger brands wanting maximum visibility.

What factors should you consider when positioning your stand?

Stand positioning can impact results, so consider these factors:

  • Foot traffic: Place your stand in high-traffic areas near main aisles, restrooms or food services. Avoid rear corners with low visibility.
  • Competitors: Don’t place yourself next to key competitors. Be visible from their stand but with adequate separation.
  • Stage: Stands near seminar stages benefit from attendance spillover. But sound can also be distracting.
  • Height: For maximum visibility, avoid areas with very tall neighboring stands that will overshadow yours.
  • Layout: Review the floorplan layout. Target areas that align with your goals, brand image and audience needs.
  • Neighbors: Avoid companies with incompatible or offensive offerings. Relevant neighbors can be beneficial.
  • On-site: At past events, observe where attendees congregate. High energy zones are prime real estate.

Confirm your preferred locations with the organizer early, as popular areas fill up fast.

Key Exhibition Stand Design Elements

What are the key elements to include in an exhibition stand design?

Some core elements that impact your stand’s success include:

  • Branding – Consistent graphics, slogans and colors that communicate your brand identity.
  • Messaging – Clear concise taglines and value propositions aimed at your target visitors.
  • Lighting – Good lighting attracts attention and highlights key areas and products.
  • Meeting Space – A semi-private meeting room or lounge for discussions.
  • Product Displays – An effective way to display offerings visitors can interact with.
  • Media – Incorporate monitors, videos, presentations etc. to engage visitors.
  • Navigation – Clear paths, good lines of sight and easy booth access.
  • Comfort – Chairs, charging stations and refreshments encourage visitors to stay.
  • Storage – Keep brochures, supplies and personal items out of sight.
  • Design – An attractive, cohesive trade show booth aligned with your brand image.

What are essential exhibit booth staffing tips?

Well-trained booth staff are vital for driving engagement at your stand. Useful tips include:

  • Set schedules with sufficient coverage for all open exhibit hours. Factor in breaks.
  • Choose personable, knowledgeable staff able to engage visitors. Prioritize soft skills.
  • Train all staff on your goals, key messages, products, promotions and processes.
  • Provide visible staff badges and uniform apparel like t-shirts for easy identification.
  • Encourage proactive outreach to visitors, but avoid aggressive hard selling.
  • Capture visitor contact details for post-show follow-up. Lead retrieval apps can help.
  • Keep the booth neat, refresh literature stocks, and remove garbage promptly.
  • Set up discussion and demo areas away from appliances like coffee makers.
  • Schedule morning briefs and debriefs each day to review successes and identify improvements.

What are low-cost ways to create an impactful trade show booth?

Effective stands don’t have to break the budget. Affordable ways to maximize your presence include:

  • Rent furniture like counters, screens and seating rather than purchase.
  • Use visually striking fabric graphics and tensioned signage for affordable branding.
  • Rely on lighting for performance and interest rather than expensive builds and finishes.
  • Set up interactive demonstrations to engage visitors rather than static displays.
  • Create a hall with cost-effective AV like tablet presentations and simple screen layouts.
  • Use free social media event apps rather than investing in custom lead capture tools.
  • Maximize vertical space with hanging banners and suspended graphics.
  • Offer giveaway snacks, charging stations, device sanitizers and other practical touches.
  • Train booth staff on visitor engagement, storytelling and memorable experiences.

Budgeting for Your Exhibit

How much does it cost to build an exhibition stand?

Entry-level tabletop exhibits can cost just a few hundred. Elaborate custom builds can exceed 80.000€. Most 10 x 10m. trade show booth design range from 20,000-60,000€.

While exhibiting is an investment, the ROI can be significant:

  • Capture hundreds of qualified sales leads in just days.
  • Accelerate the sales cycle through face-to-face meetings.
  • Display new products and innovations.
  • Generate immediate sales through special show offers.
  • Increase brand visibility and strengthen position against competitors.
  • Network, find new distribution channels and partners.

To maximize value, set goals and work with designers/producers experienced in achieving exhibit results.

What budget factors should you consider when estimating exhibit costs?

Key elements that impact budgets include:

  • Stand size – Budget increases with more square meters.
  • Design complexity – Simple designs cost less than elaborate multi-level stands.
  • Custom vs. modular – Custom builds are typically more expensive.
  • Rentals – Furniture/AV rentals add cost. Purchase options may save long-term.
  • Location – Premium spots like corners or islands cost more.
  • Graphics – Custom graphics and signage have higher production costs.
  • Lighting – Complex lighting plans with trusses/spots add expense.
  • Interactivity – Smart displays, AV, demonstration areas etc. boost costs but can deliver more engagement.
  • Install/dismantle – Union labor and contracted services can be pricy but save internal resources.
  • Shipping/logistics/insurance – Responsibility for transporting materials adds budget impact.

Where should you focus to optimize value from a limited budget?

If the budget is constrained, focus spends on the elements most vital for success:

  • Messaging – Invest in graphics and content that speak directly to your target attendees.
  • Visibility – Don’t cut corners on lighting. Go tall or bright to stand out on the show floor.
  • Staff – Spend to bring/train the right booth personnel. They make the biggest impact.
  • Lead capture – Budget for a lead retrieval app even if you save elsewhere. Data is critical.
  • Product/demo – Display your key product even if you forgo other items. Interactivity is key.
  • Furniture – Rent essential counters and seating. Skimp on storage, cabinetry or catering instead.
  • Non-essentials – Cut visitor giveaways if needed. Spend on design, not swag.

How can you track trade show booth ROI to justify the expense?

Measuring exhibit results is key for assessing value. Capture data on:

  • Lead volume/quality – Number of leads, conversion to sales opportunities.
  • Sales – Revenue directly attributed to exhibit attendance.
  • Brand impact – Increased awareness, purchase consideration. Survey visitors.
  • Engagement – Foot traffic, lengthy discussions, interactions, demo users.
  • Media coverage – Mentions, impressions.
  • Relationship development – Valuable contacts and partnerships created.
  • Competitive intel – What you learned about the marketplace and competitors.
  • Customer insights – Feedback and data derived from interacting with prospects.

Compare metrics to pre-defined goals. Relate costs directly to results achieved wherever possible.

Renting vs Buying Exhibit Displays

What are the pros and cons of renting vs buying displays?

Key advantages of renting display elements:

  • Lower upfront cost than purchasing.
  • Ability to change size and configuration for different shows.
  • Access to new/updated rental inventory rather than owning aging assets.
  • Avoid storage and transportation costs and headaches.
  • Efficient option for one-time or infrequent exhibitors.

Benefits of buying displays:

  • Invest in quality products designed specifically for your goals.
  • Reuse at multiple events lowers per-show costs.
  • Consistent branding from show to show.
  • Greater control over availability, transport, maintenance and upgrades.
  • Can be less costly long-term for frequent exhibitors.
  • Ability to customize to your exact specifications.
  • Residual value from selling assets.

Weigh cost savings against convenience, branding continuity, quality control and lifetime use when deciding between renting and buying.

Should you buy or rent audio-visual equipment?

AV rentals are generally recommended over purchasing. Reasons why:

  • Technology changes quickly. AV purchased today risks becoming outdated.
  • Rentals allow you to always have the latest, most impressive equipment.
  • Setup/operation services often included with AV rentals.
  • Ability to alter rental packages as needs change. Purchase only fixed assets.
  • Don’t pay for transportation, insurance, storage and maintenance like owners do.
  • Reduced risk of damage/theft than if owning high-value AV assets.
  • Ability to trial new technologies by renting before making purchase commitments.

For maximum flexibility and cost efficiency, rent core AV components. Purchase only essentials like mounts and cables to work with rented equipment.

Working with Exhibit Booth and Display Suppliers

What should you look for when selecting an Exhibition Stand Design and Build Partner?

Key traits that indicate a qualified, reliable Exhibit Display Partner include:

  • Experience – Established for many years with extensive project expertise.
  • Strategic – Will take the time to understand your goals and guide you accordingly.
  • Creative – Delivers innovative designs tailored for you vs cookie cutter booths.
  • Communicative – Responsively answers questions and provides updates.
  • Organized – Meets deadlines, attentive to details. Manages the entire process smoothly.
  • Connected – Trusted network of rental, production and service contacts.
  • Accountable – Stands behind their work and makes things right if issues arise.
  • Analytical – Assesses your event performance and identifies improvement areas.
  • Client-focused – Dedicated to your best interests rather than upselling excessive packages.

Look for depth of experience focused on your specific industry and objectives. Ask for past client references.

What questions should you ask potential Trade Show Booth Rental Partners?

Important questions to ask potential partners include:

  • Do you have experience in our industry and with our target audience? Ask for relevant examples.
  • How do you approach the design process? Do you offer multiple concepts or revisions?
  • Can you provide a detailed budget breakdown and suggestions to optimize spend?
  • What value added services do you provide like lead retrieval tools or show promotion?
  • Do you offer in-house fabrication or partner with rental houses?
  • How can you make our presence stand out from the competition?
  • How will you measure exhibit success and provide post-show reporting?
  • What is your process and timeline for developing, approving designs, and meeting deadlines?
  • Can we see previous designs you’ve produced and speak to satisfied clients?
  • Do you have contingency plans to handle potential issues at the show?
  • Will you be onsite and available throughout the show?
  • How does your pricing compare to competitors?

Take time upfront to align on expectations, processes, timelines and budgets before committing.


Designing and executing a successful Trade Show Exhibit Display requires careful planning and partnering with experienced providers. While exhibiting can be a significant investment, the payoff in lead generation, brand visibility and other impacts make the cost well worth it. Keep these frequently asked questions in mind as you prepare to maximize your presence and achieve your goals at your next show.

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