We have lived with great uncertainty since COVID-19 gripped the nation in March of 2020. Uncertainty now seems a way of life, although the facts and the concerns are constantly evolving.
Nevertheless, after more than a year of only offering virtual events, associations and other trade show organizers are opening doors of exhibition halls once again. Exhibitors and attendees are looking forward to face-to-face events, even if the required safety regulations changes the familiar look of a trade show floor.
Exhibitus will continue to explore and report the changes we see and how companies might react as situations emerge. This blog considers if, and when, booth rental might be a good strategic move given current times.
Is Exhibit Rental Appropriate for the Times?
Prior to the Pandemic, there were a number of reasons to consider renting a trade show booth versus building a custom environment, including:
- Short-term costs – For emerging companies with considerable demand on cash flow, renting a trade show booth typically has been a good alternative to investing in a custom-built exhibit as immediate costs are typically less. Even more established companies find that rental works well when they are in the midst of a project development cycle requiring considerable financial resources. With a rental, pricing is established and budgets respected.
- Evolution of the brand – As companies grow product offerings and evolve brand assets to support growth, current marketing needs can outgrow the company’s custom-built assets. As product offerings and brand messages become more established, a custom exhibit might be a good investment. However, renting a booth during the transition period would allow time to gain clarity on what the marketing and sales teams need on the trade show floor.
- A fresh look every time – For some exhibitors, enticing attendees with a new look for the brand at subsequent shows is part of their strategic approach. With a trade show rental booth, they could easily change exhibit sizes based on the profile of the show and spend extra dollars on graphics and demos to project a “fresh-face” to the brand for their target audience.
With the opening of trade shows, these rent-vs-build decision points haven’t changed, but now there are additional considerations that must be examined.
- Booth space – With safety considerations mandating social distancing regulations, a number of shows that are opening their doors are doing so on a smaller scale. This means that exhibitors might not secure the booth space needed to accommodate their larger exhibit. Renting becomes a stop-gap measure until shows return to pre-COVID floor plans.
- Growth opportunity – On the flip side, should a larger space become available at a popular show when another company elects not to participate, companies wishing to expand their presence, especially in years to come, could commit to a larger space, using a rental option while a custom booth to fit the new size is designed and built.
- Less staff – Many companies are choosing to limit the number of staff in their exhibit. Renting a booth allows staffing requirements to fit the size of the booth and avoids having the appearance of a semi-deserted environment with only a few representatives to welcome guests.
- Shipping costs – Shipping a custom exhibit has always been a considerable cost. Choosing a rental booth with less weight than a custom exhibit can save transportation costs, particularly if it is stored in the same region as the show.
- Attendance unknown – From clients’ reports, even with attendance down at recent shows, the quality of the interactions has improved. That’s good news, but it also says that a smaller rental booth might be the perfect environment for truly connecting and spending productive time with customers and prospects.
For these advantages to be realized, it is important to choose an exhibit partner with a rental program that offers well-designed and well-maintained rental properties that provide a customized look-and-feel to promote your brand.
At Exhibitus, we strive to ensure your brand is transformed into an active engagement experience whether with a custom-built environment or a soup-to-nuts rental kit that showcases your brand. Our desire to create unique, eye-catching designs that deliver measurable results is unparalleled. With expert designers and creative thinkers on board, our on-site teams have one objective: your success. Contact us to learn more about Exhibitus’ Ascend Program, a rental gallery for the return of face-to-face marketing events.