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What's the best location for your exhibition booth?

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6 feb 2017
Posted by: The Inside

Soon you’re exhibiting at a trade fair or event. And now you have to choose and register your spot at that fair. And of course you want that one space where the most footfall is and where your booth really stands out. Because trade shows are like real estate: it’s all about location, location, location!

Traffic is key

That location must attract a lot potential customers who will visit your booth. To realize this there are a few aspects that you have to take into consideration when choosing your location. Of course this all starts with planning ahead, because the prime locations will be reserved first. It’s also essential to get a floor plan of the exhibition center.

Flow of traffic

You have to establish the flow of traffic so you can find out which aisles will the busiest. Research suggests that the majority of exhibition visitors in the US (and Europe) instinctively turn right when they first enter the exhibition venue. This means that your exhibition booth positioned somewhere to the right of the entrance is automatically a good position to attract customers. Keep in mind that this is opposite in countries where people drive on the left side of the road, like the UK. Visitors will turn left after entering the exhibition in those countries so when you’re exhibiting in the UK you want a location on the left site of the exhibition ground.

Type of booth

After mapping the flow of traffic, you have to choose the type of booth you want to get designed and build for the exhibition. Because the type of booth also determines what would be the best location at the exhibition. Do you prefer a booth on the outside (of the aisles), a corner booth or an island booth? All three types have their own pros en cons.

The benefit of a booth on the outside is that those tend to have a standard size as a result of which you can re-use your booth. A disadvantage is that other booths could easily block the view from your booth. Therefor you would have to work harder and offer more to attract visitors to your booth.

The big advantage of a corner booth is that you can let it be designed in a way that it’s open at two sides so you can capture visitors on two different 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 in 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 jammed at those busy intersections.

You can go all the way with your design when you choose an island booth. Those types of booths attract the most attention and therefor the most footfall. Obviously there is a lot of competition between the island booths: they all want the biggest and most appealing booth with the largest trusts and most beautiful signings. You have to make sure your stand really pops out and can handle the competition!

High traffic area

The next decision you have to make is whether or not you want a location next to a high traffic area. Those are the areas at the exhibition venue that surely will attract a lot of footfall: the terrace/food area, the toilets and (when the exhibition includes seminars or lectures) the conference area.

A location near this spots also has pros and cons. The advantage obviously is the large amount of visitors that will pass your booth. After all visitors will at some point have to use the toilets and will grab a bite to eat or sit down to drink a coffee. The largest disadvantage is that although they will pass your booth, they probably won’t have much attention for your booth. When they are on their way to the toilet, they won’t be very willing to pause at your booth. On the other hand: when they finished their toileting or their lunch break they are likely full of energy and ready for another round at the exhibition.

Competition

Now there remains only one big question: will you choose a spot nearby your biggest competitor or the market leader? The well-known names in the industry will always attract a lot of visitors to their booths. Whether it’s a smart decision to locate yourself next to them depends on your line of business and your exhibiting targets.

When your standing (almost) next to their booths your booth also profits from the footfall they generate. This could however be a disadvantage: when your biggest competitor tend to boast larger, more vibrant booths they will overshadow your space. But when the opposite is the case, you can lure the visitors away from their booths and into yours.

Another strategy could be to pick a location that is on the route to the booth of your competitor. Now you can profit from the extra footfall they generate without having the directly compete with them. But because you’re not located right next to their booth the visitors won’t compare your product with the one of your competitor. This is a disadvantage when your product is least expensive or made of high-quality materials.

Decide for yourself or consult your colleagues whether it’s smart to choose a location nearby the competition.

Pitfalls

Now you’ve established what the best locations are for your booth at the exhibition, it’s important to map the spots you definitely don’t want to get stuck with. After all, when you’re going to reserve a spot and all your prime locations are already booked, you don’t want to be handed an alternative with a lot of disadvantages.

For example, you don’t want a location near the exhibition ground entrance or exit. Those are often crowded places, but also very chaotic and visitors won’t pay any attention to your booth. People who just walked in are mainly busy scanning the exhibition area and grasping an overview of that area. And visitors who are making their way to the exit of the exhibition are often run-down and overfed with information. They reached the point that they won’t take a look at any booth any more and just want to go home.

This may be stating the obvious but don’t accept a spot at a dead-end aisle and, as I have written before, don’t choose a location at the left side of the exhibition ground. Unless you’re exhibiting in the UK.

Also you don’t want any physical obstructions like pillars or alcoves in your booth space. Or overhanging ceiling pipes for that matter. After all the key to a successful exhibition booth is visibility!

Time to design

Now you’ve mapped all the pros and cons you can contact the exhibition organizer to register your favorite location. And when that’s settled you can take the measurements of your location to your stand builder so their designers can design the perfect booth for you!

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