Best Practices For Cost Saving at Trade Shows

    Best Practices For Cost Saving at Trade Shows

    We have all had the pleasure of inclusion in the rising cost bubble.  Trade show companies are not immune.  Construction materials have seen 30-50% increases in just a few short years.  Warehousing and operational costs have soared as well.  60% of our industry workers did not return to the industry after an almost 18 month hiatus post COVID.  We have had to train an entirely new workforce.  We already knew trade show exhibiting was expensive and the cost continues to rise.  With all these things at play, how do we save costs?  Here are a few tips to follow….

    • Plan ahead

    Secure your exhibit needs early.  Trade show company’s costs are far lower when you sign off early.  Most trade show companies are most comfortable and efficient with a sign off 120 days out of a show date.  If you wait until 30 days out to start planning expect to pay 50% more for the same needs and show floor costs increase by at least 35%.  

    • Rent

    If you are going to one or two shows a year you are better off renting your exhibit.  Local rentals save on shipping costs and you do not have storage costs.  

    • Design with Reuse in mind

    Stay away from dates on graphics.  Refrain from using images of products that may be discontinued soon.  Generalize all large format graphics.  If you have a rebrand planned in the near future save the money on reprinting until after that comes to fruition.

    If your exhibit changes size or format at different shows make sure the exhibit house designs for a reconfigurable use.  

    Use lightweight materials to save on shipping costs but be careful that they don’t break down into too many pieces as your labor costs can often outweigh shipping costs when the exhibit is difficult to put together.

    •  Ship Smart

    When available ship your materials back to your exhibit house after the show.  Small outbound shipments are very expensive showsite and FEDEX and UPS do not ship from the show floor.  

    • Always Ask for Alternatives

    There is more than one way to skin a cat and sometimes the other way has cost advantages.  Don’t be afraid to ask for them.  

    • Digitize Your Marketing

    There are countless ways to digitize your marketing materials today and many of them are 100% FREE.  From QR Codes to download links placing your items in the cloud frees you from printing and shipping costs.  Trade show Drayage is upwards of $120-$150 per 100 pounds today, and that is just moving the freight from the dock to your booth space.  Most printed documents go right into the trash these days anyways. 

    Need additional assistance planning your next trade show?  Check out our 30 page Rock the Show Like a Pro E-book here.


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