Many exhibitors undervalue the importance of selecting the right spot for your trade show stand. But when your marketing budget is limited and initial outlay to attend these events uses a large proportion of this, it makes sense to choose carefully.
Why is this? And what factors do we need to assess in order to secure the best location for your business at your next trade show event?
Planning for your trade show event takes time and requires much thought and attention to detail if you are to gain the greatest exposure of your brand or product. Decisions need to be made and set in motion at least a year in advance of your chosen event. So what needs to be done first to ensure nothing is forgotten in the lead up to the big day?
- Select the best event to achieve your marketing objective and reason for attending. Carefully weigh up the numbers of potential visitors to the event as well as the type of people that are likely to be there.
- Have a clear budget in mind for the trade show and consider how this will be broken down to cover all related costs. *
- Before committing to a particular trade show why not go as a 'potential customer' of your business viewing the whole set up from their prospective? Spend the day analysing the types of trades exhibiting, how they draw in the visitors and what the general 'feel' of the show is. At the same time weigh up who your competitors are likely to be and how they have organised their stands to attract customers.
- After attending the trade show, research who the organisers are and start to form a rapport with them personally, registering your interest in future shows and informing them about your business. Build on this relationship throughout the year to keep the contact and to build a bank of information that will help you to make a good choice when it comes to selecting the best stand location. For example; ask who will be exhibiting. Which companies are thought to be 'big hitters'? What is the layout likely to be? And where are the best locations? If you form a good connection with the event managers this could stand you in good stead when it comes to allocating the best spots!
* For a comprehensive guide on allocating your trade show budget read the blog 'How to budget for a trade show.'
Where are the best locations at trade shows?
Human traffic flow
People attending intensified sales arenas will enter and exit at a certain point, turn in a certain direction and naturally walk round in a pattern without giving it a thought. Researchers have undertaken many studies on the natural flow patterns of visitors and come up with some infteresting information that assists exhibitors in choosing the best stands to attract visitor attention. Studies show that:
People will enter the hall and turn right, if they live in a country that drives on the right, and left if they drive on the left
Before turning a corner (right or left) they will look the other way and then converge toward the centre of the room
Exhibitor Magazine identifies five traffic patterns called 'The Trianage', 'The Wide Aisles', 'The Bullseye', 'The rule of Right ( or left) Turns' and 'The Zoom Zone.'
These patterns all confirm that people will miss front corners, as they focus on moving centrally into the middle of the hall using the main aisles after veering to the left if your show is in the UK.
Trade show organisers have costed exhibition display areas accordingly with those located directly in front of visitors at the entrance the most expensive to hire.
Another factor that influences the number of visitors to a certain area of the hall is timing, as those entering the show will be fresh, enthusiastic and wanting to see everything on offer. Whereas those leaving by the exit will be somewhat weary, less attentive and focused on returning home for a rest rather than on what is displayed in front of them!
Maximum footfall routes
Main walkways will run from the entrance of the hall through the middle and alongside prime show locations. These routes direct the majority of footfall around the hall and will therefore be wider, straighter and easier to follow. Visitors will be more inclined to use these aisles, to wander at will and stop to browse; hence the greater crowds using them. Choosing a stand anywhere along these routes will provide the opportunity for vast numbers of prospective customers to become aware of your business and to visit your display.
Throughout the site there will be areas where routes cross and come together providing large areas of space in which to pause, mingle and chat. This is where large numbers of visitors can stop for a moment whilst deliberating which way to go next or to locate a particular exhibit. They are also handy muster points to meet up with associates, friends and contacts. Locating your stand at these points and displaying a highly visible advertising banner could attract a large crowd to come and learn more about your products.
Attending trade shows is quite exhausting which is why there are plenty of areas to rest up and refresh throughout the site. Anywhere there's a snack bar, drinks kiosk or seating booth there tends to be many weary individuals. Offering your own refreshments and seating would always be a bonus in attracting attention as queues for food and drinks are often long and time consuming.
WCs and Cloaks
And of course there's always a need for plenty of WCs and places to put coats and bags. People gather at these points througout the day waiting for friends or party members to rejoin them and having your stand near these locations would mean you could cash in on latent individuals who are not otherwise engaged! Organise staff to approach those waiting to offer them a discount voucher or free gift.
Close to show sponsors and attractions
Trade shows often have a special feature such as a shiny sports car, a movie set or some interactive game to play which attract a great deal of attention. Why not cash in on all this visitor attention and offer discount vouchers or free gifts to those passing your stand from the main feature?
Many trade shows have a central platform or stage area where industry related advice, information and presentations are scheduled throughout the day. These discussions and shows draw in large crowds of the visitors which your business could draw to your stand using well prepared friendly staff or eye catching displays, or even special incentives.
Top Tips for the best banner location
To obtain the best spaces for setting up your display you need to get in fast to secure your slot. But what if you're late in booking your stand? Or maybe your budget does not allow for these premium locations? Consider these tips for securing the prime spot to ensure your trade show is a success:
- Consider opting for two well located smaller stands rather than just one large stand in a less prominent location. As long as you have enough staff the overall cost for exhibiting may be less. There are visitors who are not fans of the larger exhibits, preferring the less crowded, gentler, one to one approach where they can talk shop without interruption or pressure.
- Look for neighbours to your stand who are likely to attract the same sort of visitors. Whilst you wouldn't want to be located right next door to a competitor, there are businesses which may offer a complimentary service to the product you are offering which could just close the sale, especially if a 'joint deal' could be arranged with them.
- Even if there are people visiting your stand who appear unsuitable, maximise on every bit of interest. Why not offer a special incentive for these ones to try out something new? Or to sample the product for themselves?
Choosing the right location for your stand at a trade show is just one small piece of the entire project so be aware that you also need to get your social media campaign, trade show exhibition stand design and 'follow ups' right to make your presence a success.
For professional advice on how to put together a jaw dropping trade show display using exhibition kits, banners and signs call Eazy Print today with your ideas and they will be happy to assist.
For further reading on trade shows and exhibitions take a look at our blogs: