Not too long ago, the main trend in trade shows was for the people running the exhibits to offer demonstrations. That was what people went to the trade shows to see. A booth did not have to be expensive or flashy. There just needed to be something to demonstrate.
1) Exhibit Space – Contract early to get a great space and pay full price, or contract late and ask for a discount. Most shows currently have more space than exhibitors have contracted for. The only way to get the discount is if you ask. 2) Labor and other services. Avoid hiring outside services. Use an exhibit that you are allowed under show regulations to set-up yourself. Typically, you are allowed 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour to set-up each 10 x 10 booth before you are required to hire union labor. 3) Shipping. Hand-carry everything you can.
1) Show paperwork
Typically, we have found that mistakes are made with the show paperwork. This is usually because the person filling out the paperwork is not a field person, and does not have time to make themselves into a paperwork expert for each and every show. They tend to fill out each upcoming set of show paperwork almost identically to a past shows paperwork. However, rules, including services and time frames change from venue to venue, so your paperwork strategy should change as well. On average these small mistakes cost you the customer 10% - 15%
With the economic slowdown, people are left wondering if they should go ahead with a trade show, or if they would be better off waiting until the economy picks back up. I think the numbers speak for themselves. In 2005, Exhibit Surveys, Inc conducted a survey on 73 different trade shows.
I have been in the trade show business for years, and one thing I have noticed recently is businesses are afraid to enter into a trade show because they are afraid of the costs. They are afraid to make the investment into a trade show because they are not sure of their ROI. There is a secret to getting a strong ROI, and that secret is to decrease the costs of running your trade show exhibit. These running costs add up to much more than the costs of the exhibit itself, and so can the savings.