With tight budgets in an uncertain economy, exhibit managers must find ways to minimize costs. Below are a few tips drawn from an article published in 2003 that still apply.
1. Negotiate Booth Space Discounts
Bypass the salesperson and call the show manager directly. Show management would rather make less money on an occupied booth space than no money on an empty booth space.
2. Trade Your Stuff
Is your product or service something that show management or exhibitors can use during the show? Can your CEO give a speech? Trade for free booth space.
Get a partner to pay for the booth space in exchange for doing all the show preparation.
4. Staff Your Booth with Local Drama Students
Students can quickly learn enough about the product to pull attendees into your both and turn them over to an experienced sales person. This saves employee travel expenses or the cost of high-priced actors.
5. Record all Vendor Mistakes
Don’t request a fix, negotiate a discount instead.
6. Never use the Official Show Freight Carrier
At the very least, get quotes and compare to other carriers. If your booth can be shipped FedEx or UPS, do it. And send it to your hotel rather than to show site. Wheeling your display into the show hall yourself will save drayage charges.
7. Hurry Up and Wait Until the Last Minute
For shows you know you want to attend, start negotiating early for discounts on booth space to give show management time to consider your offer. Follow-up periodically. As the show gets closer, show management will be more interested in filling empty booth spaces (see no. 1).
By Sandy Flom/CEO, Extraordinary Show Productions Ltd. (ESP)
Find more trade show tips at http://www.espexhibits.com
Source: Secrets of a Trade Show Tightwad by Whitney Archibald, Exhibitor Magazine, September 2003