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Rent vs Buy |

Your Trade Show Exhibit: To Rent, Buy, or Both?

Since 81 percent of conference attendees remember visiting a company’s exhibit, the pressure to stand out has never been greater.  Tack on the stress of working within a budget and event managers have a lofty financial decision in front of them: buying a custom exhibit, renting a booth and the elements needed, or some combination of the two.

Whether they have an existing booth or are starting from scratch, a company’s number one hurdle is their budget. Because of the financial commitment among other deciding factors, the debate to rent or buy is typically a corporate decision with policies and objectives influencing the choice.

Below is a brief rundown that compares just the benefits of renting, buying, or going hybrid. Download the white paper for a deeper dive into the pros and cons, as well as the financial impact, of your exhibit investment options. See our infographic for a quick rundown as well.  

It is important to understand that our white paper is not in favor of one alternative over the other. It is merely a discussion of your options. Remember – one size does not fit all. This is an individual, financial, and specific decision for each company.

Is Renting an Exhibit Right for Me?

Once upon a time, rentals were just repurposed elements that exhibit companies had left over in their warehouses.  This model is no longer the norm. Now, trade show managers have access to high quality exhibits at a lower cost via renting. It gives you the opportunity to spend your coveted dollars elsewhere on areas that better support your trade show goals.

One of the best aspects about renting is you will not be responsible for paying for storage or accidental damages.  After the show, the booth is shipped back to the production house who stores and repairs it for the next exhibitor. It’s the best of both worlds: you get a high-quality exhibit without responsibility after the show.

Does Renting a Trade Show Booth Sacrifice Quality?

There’s a common misconception when it comes to the quality of materials in a rented or purchased exhibit. It is assumed that trade show rentals sacrifice quality and are inferior to purchased exhibits, which guarantee the highest quality materials. While this may have been the truth years ago, this assumption is no longer true. Superior materials and craftsmanship make rented exhibits just as prestigious as purchased ones.

Look around at the next conference. Can you tell which ones are rented and which ones are purchased? Some companies purchase exhibits that don’t produce trade show ROI. Others rent exhibits that exceed trade show goals. At the same time, the opposite can also be true.

Should I Purchase My Trade Show Exhibit?

Pride in ownership of an exhibit and a lofty conference schedule are two solid reasons to purchase. Plus, your owned trade show booth will bring ROI for years to come. For example, if you purchase a booth for $60,000 and attend three shows per year, you will have that property to use for the next three or four years. If you rent that same property at $20,000 for each of the three shows, you will have paid the same amount over time, but without the possibility of using it beyond that one year.

As compared to rental trade show booths, your purchased exhibit is yours to alter as you see fit. You decide every detail and angle, and align it with your brand guidelines with no restrictions. The options are endless when it comes to custom exhibit design, technology, and lighting.

When Should I Consider a Hybrid Exhibit?

Hybrid exhibits, a mix of custom and rented elements, are great for companies with a limited budget and/or specific needs for a show. Typically, the purchased parts of the exhibit are the foundational structure, counters, display cases, shelving, or other items that are specific to a company. On the other hand, rented items are just additional elements that can be mixed and matched as each trade show demands. This flexible approach lets you try out new floor plans and rent the exact pieces you need without breaking the bank.

Are you ready to take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of your exhibit options? Download our white paper, To Rent, Buy, or Go Hybrid: Your Exhibit Decision. In addition to the comparison of each option, we’ll provide an in-depth discussion of the financial aspect of this critical decision, as well as what to look for when choosing an exhibit design company.


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