Your Trade Show Display Design: To Rent or To Buy?
This blog post comes from guest contributor Mel White, of Classic Exhibits. When it comes to preparing for a trade show, getting the trade show display design under way can be one of the most challenging parts of the process. There are a couple approaches you can take––either designing and purchasing your own booth or renting the display. Here are a few things to consider before deciding which way to go.
Your Trade Show Display Design: Renting vs. Buying
Most companies devote considerable time, energy, and resources to the purchase of a new exhibit. And they should. Trade show marketing can be expensive, and getting it right requires choosing the right display and executing a comprehensive marketing strategy. Exhibitors work hard to get it right… at the first show. Then, many companies go on auto-pilot for several shows, or often for several years. Renting a trade show display, on the other hand, doesn’t change the planning phase. Most companies work just as hard for the first show, but because they know they can change the display (and most often do), they tend to revisit their strategy before every show. As a result, exhibitors who rent are often more engaged in their trade show marketing program. They view the exhibit, the graphics, and their strategy as evolving depending on the show and/or their corporate goals.
2. Design and Ownership
Owning an exhibit has advantages, particularly for exhibitors who have a basic display or a very large customized exhibit. They get exactly what they want in a design or at a specific price point. For a high-end custom exhibit, there are no compromises. It will be built to their exact requirements. No questions. And once built, it’s their property. However, some exhibitors don’t fit that model. They want a trade show experience that showcases their products or services and allows them to be successful on the show floor. The display has to be distinctive, captivating, and practical, but it doesn’t have to be one-of-a-kind. Modern rental exhibits fulfill all those requirements because they can be customized to meet any look or experience.
Purchasing an exhibit is a considerable capital investment for most companies. They plan for it and put it in their budget. No problem. It’s a one-time expense every year or every couple of years which they depreciate over a fixed schedule. Renting is generally less expensive. Exhibitors rent the structure and purchase the graphics. They have decided that owning the exhibit doesn’t make sense either because their trade show program is always changing or they’d rather budget it in stages.
4. Storage (and Storage Fees)
Many exhibitors like having their trade show booth in their building or stored by their exhibit provider. They know what they have and where it is. They don’t mind devoting space to the exhibit in their office or paying monthly storage fees. There’s a certain peace-of-mind to knowing the exhibit is ready to ship at a moment’s notice. Renting is exactly the opposite. The exhibitor doesn’t own it, so there are no storage fees or floor space devoted to cases or crates. If the exhibit is needed, it requires more advanced planning, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Commitment and change are two sides of the same coin. If the marketing message has been the same for 20 years and it’s been successful, why change? It would be silly to do anything that alters that formula. That said… it’s possible to be committed to a marketing strategy and still change it depending on the audience, the show, or the season. Renting makes that possible. One show may require a 10 ft. display. The next an island. Sometimes having that flexibility is a good thing. When making the decision to rent or purchase your next trade show exhibit, it’s no longer about making compromises. Exhibitors today can select from a wide range of upscale designs at price points for any budget, and they can decide which approach works best for their business. Are you thinking about a renting or purchasing your next trade show booth? Why? Let us know in the comments. Author Bio: Mel White is the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Classic Exhibits Inc., a manufacturer of exhibits, engineered aluminum extrusions, and rental solutions. For over twenty years, Mel has worked with exhibit manufacturers, distributors, and end-users to develop new products, refine their branding, and sharpen their trade show marketing.