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How Trade Shows Work

Designing and Caring for Your Booth

There are lots of things to take into consideration when purchasing and designing your booth. These include the size and type of booth; that is, do you need a floor model or tabletop model? And, if you need a floor model, does it need to be a large custom booth to communicate the right corporate image, or will a smaller, more versatile floor model work? There is a huge variety of configurations for booths. You can have a large custom booth built that will require multiple booth spaces and a crew of workers to assemble, or you can opt for a smaller, 10-foot (3-meter) size that can be easily shipped and assembled and disassembled by your booth staffers. Often, these smaller, modular versions can be broken down and used as two tabletop booths as well.

Here are some illustrations of the different types of booths available.

Table Top Model
10' Pop-Up Model
10' Panel Style
10' x 20' Modular Style
20' x 20' Custom Island Style
40' x 40' Custom Style
Photos courtesy Skyline Displays

Here are the main things to think about when deciding what type of booth you need:

What are your functional needs for the booth?

  • Do you need seating so you can sit and discuss at length with prospects the great benefits of your services or products? If your product or service is more complicated or technical, this functionality might work well for you.
  • Do you need shelving for books or product displays, video capability, or storage?
  • Do you need the booth to be easily assembled, disassembled and packed?
  • Do you need to be able to reconfigure it for different shows or other uses?
  • What kind of traffic flow do you need through your booth?

What are your aesthetic needs?

  • Do you need a display with movement to illustrate your product?
  • Does it need to be backlit to illustrate the detail of your product?
  • Does your corporate image necessitate a certain "look" that would require curves, sharp/crisp lines, or colors?

What are your marketing needs?

  • What is the message you need to communicate?
  • Do you have strong name/logo recognition already?
  • Are you a start-up trying to make a name for yourself?

What is your booth budget?

  • Booth prices vary greatly depending on the size and format. Figure $1,000 (more or less) for a tabletop (graphics make a big difference in pricing); around the $5,000-to-$15,000 range for a 10-foot (3-meter) portable with graphics; and for large 20x20-foot, 20x30-foot or 30x30-foot custom booths, the sky is the limit. (The rule of thumb is $92 to $120 per square foot depending on the design.)

Once you've answered these questions, you should have a better idea of the type of booth you need, but the trickiest part of all is determining how the booth will look.