Trade shows are one of the biggest annual marketing expenses a company incurs. Not only are trade shows one of the best ways to gain brand exposure, they're also great opportunities to develop new business relationships and land new clients. It's no wonder companies from around the world devote a large portion of their marketing budgets to designing head-turning booths and securing prime real estate at their industry's hottest trade shows.
There's no doubt trade shows are big investments. Purchasing trade show displays that are durable, reliable and from a reputable company is just plain smart. We frequently hear horror stories about display purchases gone bad. Our advice? If the deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
As an exhibitor, we know you don't have time to keep up with the latest trends in the trade show booth industry. You've got your own industry to keep up with. To help you out, we've simplified the display buying process. Here are five key elements to consider when choosing the right exhibit display for your company's next trade show.
1. Renting vs. Buying
To rent or to buy? That is the question. Before deciding, consider the following:
- Is your company a new exhibitor or a seasoned one? If you're new, it may be wise to rent your first display. This gives you the opportunity to get the lay of the trade show land without a hard monetary commitment. Renting a time or two allows you to try different manufacturers, different display types, different event locations. It gives you time to figure out what really works for you before investing a lot of money. You may discover you don't do enough events to make buying a display cost effective.
- If you're an experienced exhibitor, you know what looks best in your space, you understand your travel constraints, you've determined which displays are cost effective and which manufacturer meets your needs. Purchasing your trade show materials becomes an exercise in common sense: it saves time and money.
Another aspect to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy is your storage space. Even collapsed and in their cases, trade show displays need storage space between events. Do you have that room? If not, renting may be the better option for you.
2. Displays and Frames
The whole point of trade show displays is to garner attention, ergo they're big. However, you are going to have to transport them, set them up, take them down. Choosing a display with a frame that isn't too bulky, heavy, or cumbersome needs to factor into your decision-making. There are myriad frame choices. Here are the most common:
- Pop-Up Displays: These are the most popular displays. They're extremely easy to "pop-up" and breakdown, highly portable and very compact. Their frames are made of durable, lightweight aluminum making them manageable for anyone to handle and move.
- Panel Displays: These displays are similar to folding screens with images printed on one or both sides. They come in all shapes and sizes. Most are have of a solid frame covered in printed graphics, laminates, or a Velcro-friendly fabric. The bigger and more complex the panel displays get, the more complicated assembly and transport becomes.
- Tension Fabric Displays:Exhibitors love these displays. They've got sleek designs, are highly flexible and easy to assemble. They have sturdy, lightweight aluminum frames, which allow them to travels well. Their true genius is in their versatility.After investing in the hardware, exhibitors can change their graphics (printed portion) easily and affordably to meet the company's changing needs.
- Banner Stands: This is the most common pop-up display used inside trade show booths. They're portable, compact, easy to store, and versatile. They can be placed virtually anywhere in a booth. Their streamlined design makes them easy to set up, tear down and transport. They work best as compliments to the larger booth design as opposed to anchoring the design. Think of them as mini-billboards for featured products/services.
- Table Top Displays: Table top displays are great for small booth spaces. They vary in size, but even the biggest of these displays can fit on a standard 6 - 10' fold-out table. Available in an array of shapes, sizes, and designs, such as retractable, inflatable, and pop-up forms, when collapsed they fit in a small case or backpack. They can be printed on canvas, tension fabric, dye-sublimated fabric, or other durable materials. Small but mighty, they're perfect for new exhibitors who want wow-power in their small space.
- Hybrid Displays: Hybrid displays combine the ease and convenience of the pop-up display with the elegance and sophistication of a full-blown trade show booth design. They incorporate features like lighting, shelving, podiums, and mounts for booth accessories (e.g. monitors). Because they are more involved, they require more: more people to assemble/tear down, more storage, more transportation issues. However, they are stunning. An all-in-one hybrid display, can be a true asset.
Once you've picked out a display type, you'll want to look at what it's made of. Most manufacturers use extruded aluminum in their frames. It's extremely durable and very light, making it ideal for transporting, storing and general handling. Connecting materials are also key. Are they plastic or metal? What are attachments (i.e. shelves, countertops, bases, etc) made of?
Graphics can range from laminated PET film, dye-sublimated tension fabric, and vinyl. Things to consider when choosing a material to print on include storage, durability, care (how will you clean it?) and assembly.
Checking the materials may seem immaterial. However, taking time to research materials can save you time and money in the future.
Carrying cases are a key display component. Your display should come with a sturdy, compact cases that's easy to transport and store. Many are soft-shell, duffle-like bags, although the more complex displays may have hard-shell, rolling cases. The carrying cases' quality should is just as important as the display itself. It's going to take the brunt of any travel hardships. It's also important that its design meets airline guidelines for carry-on and checked baggage. What good is a case you can't get on the plane?
5. Reputable Supplier
Trade show booths are not cheap. However, like haircuts and cars, they do fall into the "you get what you pay for" category. It helps to know your budget before shopping. It also helps to do your research. Look for companies that:
- Have a great website
- Have a broad product selection
- Have great customer service and customer feedback
- Have a helpful blog with exhibitor tips and tricks
- Have warranties and guarantees for all of their products
If these criteria are met, then it's a safe bet you're working with a reputable company.
We know the trade show industry is a dizzying place. However, it can be a lot of fun too. Use these five decision-making consideration to shore up your confidence and then let your imagination run wild. The possibilities are endless - even on a budget.
Have questions about buying a display? Want clarification on display types, materials or how to choose a supplier? Give us a call! We'd love to help you find your perfect display solution. You can reach us at 888-777-0223or on our website: www.aceexhibits.com.
Interested in more display ideas? Check out our latest post on creating a head-turning tradeshow experience.
About Ace Exhibits
Ace Exhibits is on a mission to become the #1 resource for portable trade show displays in the United States and Canada. Our products are made in the USA and meet the highest quality standards in the industry. Based in Los Angeles, CA, we source local materials to reduce our carbon footprint and keep our costs low thereby keeping our prices as competitive as possible.
In business for over ten years, we thrive on innovation and change. We're constantly developing new printing techniques and continually experimenting with design and materials to keep our displays practical, relevant and cutting-edge. We offer three-day order-to-floor shipping and all our products have a limited lifetime guarantee.
From simple stand alone displays to complex all-in-one packages with frame, graphic, lighting, and accessories. our team can help you design the perfect display for you. Call us at 888-777-0223 or use the Live Chat feature on our website to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives.