How can exhibitors cut costs?

Exhibiting at a traded fair always involves certain risks, as the costs are rather high compared to other marketing measures. Below we have compiled some factors that can significantly lower the expense.

Photo: Per Schwarz
Photo: Per Schwarz

Per Schwarz
managing director
Nord Display

Be well-organised
If you want to cut your company’s trade show costs drastically, there is no way around meticulous planning. It is of the utmost importance to get all the necessary measures and tasks done as early as possible, so that deadlines can be met. In addition, being well-organised means that you won’t overlook any hidden cost factors, eliminating costly express charges for last-minute jobs from the start. As a rule, companies should order extra services like telephone connections, Internet, electricity and water no later than ten days before the start of the event. Practice shows that you can expect costs to be around one-fifth higher any later than that. Moreover, exhibitors should measure their capacity requirements generously to avoid bottlenecks and surcharges.

Be well-equipped
There’s no doubt that exhibition equipment accounts for a large part of costs. Therefore, companies should, for example, opt for preferably functional elements that enable you to change the graphics and banners so as to be used at multiple events. In addition, equipment should permit compact folding, to avoid expensive transport and storage costs. High-quality marketing equipment is often substituted by cheap alternatives to save costs. But, practically speaking this is not a good idea. Poor equipment is more prone to breakage and often of an inferior functionality and appearance. In the long run, the need for extra purchases or repairs often makes cheap equipment an expensive misinvestment. Exhibitors should rather opt for less but high-quality trade show equipment. This saves both printing and material costs. In addition, it will make a better impression on potential customers.

Get a good design
Any required designs and graphics for advertising banners and mobile exhibition walls should also be completed well before the first day of the trade show. By avoiding unnecessary errors in trade show planning exhibitors can rule out the risk of needing costly overtime work. 

Order in bulk
Printing brochures, banners and similar materials is also a significant cost factor, which can be systematically reduced. Companies often benefit from quantity discounts when placing bulk orders. Therefore, exhibitors should have all the materials they need produced at one go to effectively lower printing costs.

Less is more
 “Less is more” is a rule that also applies to the amount of company brochures and advertising material. Just take as many copies as you really need. To avoid leaving visitors empty-handed, exhibitors can also offer to send brochures by post or e-mail.

A better impression on potential customers is important. (Photo: Nord Display)
A better impression on potential customers is important. (Photo: Nord Display)

Optimise transport costs
Your transport cost burden is closely related to the equipment you use. For example, smart foldable mobile booths can cut down on the necessary transport volume and hence costs. The same goes for lightweight exhibition equipment such as booths made of aluminium. Being well-organised also reduces transport costs: Exhibitors should know exactly how many containers they need and how much they weigh.

Cut travel costs
Travel arrangements of staff members and booth staff to the event should definitely be planned well in advance. Booking rail travel, flights, transport and hotels early on can save you a lot of money. In addition, exhibitors should not be too shy to ask for group rates or special terms when booking travel tickets.

Smart set-up planning
It is definitely advisable to schedule normal working hours only for stand installation. Doing so will safeguard exhibitors from expensive surcharges such as in the case of weekend work, for example. Likewise, overtime work should be avoided at all costs.

This article was published in TFI issue 3/2017


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