Knowing When It’s Time to Own an Exhibit

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Knowing when it's time to own an exhibitWe’ve had many clients ask us when or if they should look at them owning their own exhibit and what the cost benefits would be. There are a lot of factors to consider, and in this post, we are going to address these factors and help you assess whether owning an exhibit is right for your company or not.

First, we’ll look at some important basic questions you need to answer, such as:

  • How many times a year are you renting a booth?
  • Do you participate in domestic and international shows?
    • If yes, how many shows are domestic versus international?
  • Are your exhibit spaces similar in size?

If you do three or more shows a year domestically, with the same or similar booth sizes, it is definitely worth looking into investing in your own exhibit!  According to Exhibitor Magazine, rental exhibits run about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of purchasing a similar exhibit. There are a few things not factored into this and that is storage which would be a requirement, along with new graphic design and print costs for each show or annually depending on your show strategy. Also, if you think of show costs, rentals typically fall under show costs. When you buy a booth, it falls under capital and can be amortized over a number of years, so this also helps the show ROI picture. However, if you do international shows overseas, we do strongly advise renting as the show requirements vary drastically as you move further away from North and South America.

You could base your decision on those basic questions alone, however, we like to dig a bit deeper to make ensure the right and most economical choice is made. Contemplate these more in-depth questions:

  • Is your brand well established and recognized by your audience?
  • Have your trade events provided sales, press and awareness opportunities that justify long-term new show commitments?
  • Is your brand at a breaking point where you’re growing and need to show a larger presence via a larger exhibit space?

If you are a more established entity, the natural progression is to create a stronger presence, and that usually means investing in larger exhibit space and a custom designed exhibit that will be recognizable as your unique stamp to customers, partners, press, and competitors alike. Though you can do amazing things with rentals, doing custom structural design fitted to your brand always raises the level of awareness and gives your company even more credibility.

When Renting May Be a Better Option

Exhibit rentals - turn key marketing solutions

Some people feel that they love the flexibility of rentals and the ability to try new things. If this is you, we still believe it’s a good idea to look at the cost-benefit, so you know how to justify these decisions to investors, boards, CFO’s and executive teams.

We think it’s safe to say that if you are in a startup or small-medium sized company and doing small 10×10 or 10×20 spaces for the duration of time until the company and booth size grow, you should look at renting modular exhibits or investing in a pop-up. We think it’s a good idea to experiment in the early stages of any company until you fully understand what you require and what works best, getting team feedback and gaining an understanding of what the most successful show strategy will be for your company.

Another reason to rent is if you are always seeking to show off the newest trends hitting the shows. There have been a lot of changes in exhibit materials, especially in the last decade. It’s easy to see that trends move quickly in the trade show world, and ancient legacy exhibits usually stick out like a sore thumb.

Trade show rental booths

This brings us to the next point to consider when deciding to buy or rent, and that is, how long might a booth investment last? We get this question a lot, and our response is, it depends on the materials, wear, and tear, and if there are light modifications or updates that can be made so the design still feels current year after year. We like to say a good general lifespan of a booth is 3 – 5 years. We’ve known companies that have huge custom booths for longer however, with exhibit updates today, if a booth is older than five years, it’s likely quite heavy and takes more labor, which means more cost.

There really is much to consider, and hopefully, this brief guide has helped to solidify your decision on whether or not it’s time to own an exhibit. If you’ve decided it’s time, we recommend you have this research and data on hand when discussing a new booth with your exhibit house and justifying it to your executive team. If you would like to explore your new or rental exhibit needs, give us a shout at (contact link), and good luck!

About Art & Display

Founded in 1999, headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA, Art & Display is a trade show and display design company.   Their custom designs have been sought out by organizations such as NASA, Samsung, Google, and Tibco just to name a few. Their team of highly creative, seasoned experts show off their talents by building dynamic, inspired displays that show off their client brands in extraordinary ways.