Participation in trade shows is now mandatory for any serious entrepreneur looking to enhance their job profile. With the rapid growth of technology, customers at these shows are not only better informed but also come in extremely well-prepared.
And while this bodes well for your business, it also means your exhibit must deliver like never before on pre-show hype.
Is it any surprise then that many businesses prefer custom trade show booths or trade show booth rentals in Orlando?
If you find yourself overwhelmed with the decision-making process, the guidelines listed below will take you on a step-by-step journey through all the things to consider before you choose a trade show rental company:
Do Your Homework
The most important task ahead of you is to decide what you hope to achieve by participating in the trade show. Is it to unveil a new product and get customers to invest in it?
Is it to bring familiarity with your brand? Is it both? All your trade show booth ideas will flow from this crucial point.
Then, work through some preliminary numbers and hone in on a budget. This will help you finalize alternatives that will fulfill your needs without driving your margins haywire. Remember a couple of points here:
- Don’t go too cheap on your expenditure since it will drive down the impact of your exhibit and create a negative buzz around your brand. Customers are quick to form impressions and it could take you very long to recover.
- Think about practicality. While it’s nice to imagine highly futuristic displays to catch customer attention, these can cost you a fortune in shipping and handling. Ensure that your returns will be worth your investment.
Do you want to go with a trade show booth Orlando or are you looking for custom trade show booths?
Choosing a trade show exhibit partner who will understand your needs and translate them successfully is crucial to meeting your goals. So, start your research early and give yourself a lead time of at least a year.
Here are eight important points that will be critical to your decision-making:
Are You on the Same Wavelength?
We cannot stress how important it is to look for an exhibit partner who works with businesses of your size. If you choose a company that works exclusively with larger brands, they may be unable to prioritize any last-minute additions or changes.
On the other hand, a smaller design company might be ill-equipped to handle a business of your size. Therefore, consider the capability of the company wisely.
Start with understanding their experience in the industry. Companies that have been around longer will be able to guide you better on your journey since they would have intimate knowledge of how trade shows work and can fill you in on any gaps in your planning.
- Begin with their total experience and focus specifically on their exposure to your specific trade show or other shows that run along similar lines.
- How many booths or displays do they make every year? How much repeat business do they enjoy?
- How long has their existing team been working together? Cohesive units that have been together many years are passionate about their work and will be upfront about their commitments.
Website and Portfolio
An experienced trade show exhibitor will have a well-designed website for their potential customers.
- The website should be crisp, focused, and informative. Their blogs and white papers should provide enough information for you to understand their goals and priorities. Look for customer references on the website. An exhibitor with a sloppy website should provide you with the first warning sign of a company that is not expecting to remain in business for long.
- Another important aspect of an exhibitor is their portfolio. Experienced exhibitors will provide you with a peek at their portfolio via their website itself. Take your time to thumb through their work and understand their strengths. Ensure that you can see your booth being brought to life along similar lines.
A Visit to Their Physical Location
We are adding a caveat here – in today’s world, a beautiful website and brilliant online portfolio cannot tell you everything about a company.
While these are indications of a dedicated team, you must make the effort to visit their physical business address.
- Ask to spend some time with their in-house trade show booth designers. This will give you an invaluable insight into their thought process and past experiences.
- While some exhibitors ask you to provide the ideas and simply build on it, others offer a whole suite of design services where you can sit with experts and take their help in realizing your plans. This is especially useful for businesses that are visiting trade shows for the first time.
- Don’t forget to meet with their construction crew and review any current work that is in progress. You can even go so far as to ask for an on-site visit.
Speak to Their References
Get references that you can talk to. Be specific about the type of reference you need. For example, if the exhibitor is just building your booth based on your specifications, ask for a customer whom they did that for earlier.
However, if you are utilizing the services of their trade show booth designers, ask for specific references where the team was in the picture. Understand how satisfied their existing customers are and how much return business they have had. Important questions include:
- Did they stick to the budget given to them?
- Did they assign a project manager to understand your expectations?
- How did they handle last-minute changes or challenges?
- How good was their on-ground team during the event?
- What was the quality of their displays?
- How was the response from the attendees at the event?
Who Will Engineer Your Ideas?
Another very important fact that many overlooks – ask the company how much of their design and construction work happens in-house.
Highly regarded exhibit companies have experienced design teams that have been working together for years. They also have in-house architects and construction engineers who will build on those designs. Together, their invaluable experience will act as a guiding light and maneuver you through choppy waters.
You must avoid companies that sub-contract their design and construction work to outsiders. Remember, your results will be best achieved if the team you work with directly is the one that will actually deliver your expo booth.
Focus on Customer Service
Your instincts tell you a lot if you just listen. When you come out of your first meeting, take some time to recollect.
- Did you get a positive vibe from your interaction?
- Was your meeting with them very hurried?
- Did you feel like you were important? Or did you feel a vague sense of irritation?
- Did it seem like the team was ready to listen to your thoughts and work with you towards your goals?
Every interaction with your exhibit partner should focus on your priorities.
There should be a single point of contact who will be completely dedicated to your expo booth and unwaveringly deliver on your trade show booth ideas.
Budgeting and Timeline
If things seem good so far, you can safely move towards the next important step – discussing your budget and timeline.
Since you have done your homework, you must be upfront about your budgeting limitations. Explain your priorities to your exhibit partner and ask them for options.
- Depending on your need, some exhibitors would provide you with a breakup of your expenses to help you design a budget that suits you, while others will ask you for a budget and explain how they will make it work.
- Ask them if they would fit in shipping, handling, installing, and dismantling of the booth into the same budget. This will help you avoid any last-minute shockers.
On similar lines, be very clear about your timeline for your event. Do not wait until a week before D-Day and tie yourself into a knot trying to make things work.
A good exhibit partner will provide you with a sneak peek at your booth many weeks in advance. This will give you ample time to make any changes you deem necessary.
Before you move on…
At every step in the process, remember your goals. The success of your booth will be dictated by the footfall within your booth and by the enthusiasm and engagement level of your attendees.
And while it’s a given that you are heavily invested in your success, you should feel the same level of passion and enthusiasm from your trade show exhibit partner, too.
So, start your trade show sojourn with an experienced exhibitor who has impeccable references, an in-house team dedicated to your priorities, and famed customer service that will always exceed your expectations while also satisfying your financial requirements.