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Setting a Proper Budget for Your Trade Show Booth

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Setting a Proper Budget for Your Trade Show Booth

Tools for Managing Tradeshow Budget | Exhibitus

Trade shows are a great opportunity to promote your brand, products or services to potential customers and industry professionals. However, it is critical that your program’s budget is in line with your company’s objectives and expectations. Only with a carefully planned budget can you demonstrate a successful return on your marketing investment.

There are many items to consider in your budget, including rental space, promotional materials and an eye-catching custom trade show design. When you understand all the resources that go into a successful trade show, you can set a proper budget for your custom exhibit.

Here are some common items to include in your trade show budget.

Exhibit Space

This will be your largest expense, accounting for up to one-third of your total trade show budget. The costs for space rental varies depending on the size of the space and where it’s located within the exhibition. Generally, your total trade show cost will be around three times the cost of your rental space, so this is a major factor to your overall budget. Keep in mind that custom exhibits can be designed to make the most of the available exhibit space.

Custom Exhibit

You’ll need to decide if you’re going to buy a new exhibit or rent one. If you buy an exhibit, you’ll also need to factor in the additional cost of ownership items such as repairs, refurbishment and storing it after the event. Whether you rent or buy, there are shipping, drayage and other transportation costs to consider. Your custom trade show design should be planned carefully to maximize the impact of your marketing message to visitors. Collaborating with a custom exhibit design house will ensure your brand message is clear and visible to trade show attendees.

On-Site Trade Show Services

Show services account for the second-largest portion of your trade show budget at around 17 percent of your total. Some costs may be covered by your show entry fee, but it’s not a guarantee. On-site services and contingencies may include installation and dismantling, riggers, cleaning, electrical, internet and A/V services, photography, carpet rental, and other miscellaneous or unexpected expenses.


Just getting attendees into your booth is not enough to guarantee success. Your staff will need to engage them and, hopefully, move them along to the next step in the sales process. There are many types of engagement resources to consider, from highly sophisticated technology like virtual reality to no-tech stations that share food or drink. Knowing the type of engagement you want to include will allow the custom exhibit house to incorporate the appropriate space in the initial design, thus avoiding costly changes after the structure is built.

Promotional Materials

Marketing and promotion are critical for a successful trade show exhibit. You’ll need to budget funds to cover promotional materials your company uses, such as advertising (social media, mailing list, direct mail, etc.), show giveaways, printing costs, meal and activity sponsorships, and video production. You can reduce your printing costs by taking advantage of exhibit designs that incorporate technology like digital signage.


Your trade show exhibit can’t run itself, so you’ll need to budget for expenses for staffing. This includes both event marketing staff and sales reps. In addition to paying staff for their time, the budget for training, staff attire, transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, and entertainment.

Fully understanding and sticking to a budget will help you maximize your return on investment for your trade show exhibit. Once your budget is set, you can focus on finding ways to amplify your brand and make an impact at your event with an exhibit that stands out to attendees.

Exhibitus specializes in custom trade show designs, and we’ll work with you to tailor your exhibit specifically to your brand.  For more information on how Exhibitus can help your company wow prospects and generate sales leads, contact us today.