Understanding the new Exhibit Buying Paradigm

For “insiders” like me, it’s an exciting time to be in the trade show industry. At no other time in the past 20 years has the pace of change been so dramatic. And while some exhibit houses are embracing it, others are sticking their proverbial index finger in the air to see which way the wind blows. Take rental displays for example. Just a few years ago, rental displays were the stepchildren of trade show design. Neglected and underappreciated by both exhibit houses and general service contractors. Exhibitors who chose a rental display either weren’t serious about trade show marketing or simply didn’t understand the poor image those displays projected on the show floor. To put it into context, in a world of skinny jeans and leggings, they were bellbottoms and sweatpants from the thrift store. Oh baby baby, how that has changed! Rentals have gone upscale and depending on the provider can be customized to meet almost any exhibitor’s marketing goals. They are basically indistinguishable from the purchase display across the aisle or your competitor’s new exhibit. So why the change and why should you consider a rental OR better yet a purchase/rental? There are about 30 reasons…. But you probably have a job and a life so let’s narrow it down to the Top 3 – plus a Bonus Tip. 😉 Reason #1 – Design Flexibility If you are like most companies, your marketing goals are constantly evolving. Plus, you probably have a series of campaigns and perhaps a host of products and services, each with a distinct brand and messaging. What worked in Q1 may need to be massaged for Q3 or scrapped all together. Rental displays make it easy to change graphics, add structural elements, or simply go from an inline to an island (or vice versa). That flexibility can be very empowering to your branding and marketing goals and more cost effective long-term. Reason #2 – Upfront Cost Rental displays are not only less expensive upfront, but they also allow you to stretch your budget even further. Take the exhibitor who settled for a ho-hum inline in the past. With a rental, they could add attractive meeting space, LED lighting, large monitors, shelving, and extensive storage – all at the same price of a purchase. More bang for the buck means you can elevate your trade show presence with attendees. Or, if you choose not to make significant changes to the display, the savings can be spent on client entertainment/meals, pre-show marketing, or booth staffing. Or directly to your marketing bottom line. Reason #3 – Associated Expenses When you purchase a new exhibit, there are always associated expenses, some you may not anticipate. Storage for example. Larger exhibits are packed in crates. Those crates either must be stored at your exhibit house for a monthly fee or in your own facility. Either way, it’s an ongoing cost. Plus, when components are lost or damaged, those must be replaced. Before each show, someone has to reassemble the booth to ensure all the parts and pieces are there, and if there are changes, then there are design fees, new components or graphics, and the labor to get it prepped and perfect. With a rental, nearly all of that disappears. No storage. No prep charges. No labor. You may have new charges if you change the graphics or the design, but in general, those are more controllable and predictable.   Bonus Tip – Rental and Purchase Rental vs Purchase doesn’t have to be an either/or decision. More and more sophisticated exhibitors are choosing both. They purchase those design elements they know they’ll use again and again regardless of the show or configuration. For example, a central 12 ft. tower with locking storage. If you need that every single time, then it makes sense to buy it and rebrand it when necessary. However, if you sometimes need multiple monitor workstations but other times you would rather have more meeting space, then it doesn’t make sense to purchase monitor stands. Rent them instead. It’s often the peripheral items like counters, pedestals, charging stations, monitor stands, lightboxes, etc. which change frequently. Rent them. That way you can play with what works best and make informed decisions based on your experience and success. Still a bit confused? Your next step is to work with experienced exhibit professionals like Brave Exhibits whose sole mission is maximizing your trade show success. Show after show. Brave Exhibits has learned how to avoid the costly mistakes that inexperienced exhibitors make. And believe me, it’s easy to waste money before you know what works and what doesn’t. They’ll ensure that doesn’t happen whether you decide on a Purchase or Rental or Purchase/Rental. To browse our extensive rental inline and island galleries, click on the links.
About The Author: Mel White VP of Marketing / Business Development Classic Exhibits Check Out Mel’s New E-Book Here – What’s So Funny About Trade Shows