Choosing an exhibition space

Looking at a pin board

Aside from your maximum budget and the amount of space you need, there are a number of other important factors you need to consider when choosing the ideal exhibition space for your stand. Choose right, and you’ll be rushed off your feet. Choose wrong, and you could be facing a lonely few days. Here are six factors to consider.

Visit the venue or get a floor plan

If you have the opportunity you should visit the venue before your event, preferably when another event is being held, to get a feel for the best areas. This will allow you to see where the best places are for high levels of foot traffic, the spaces that should be avoided, and how visitors naturally progress around the event. Once you’ve identified these areas, you’ll be able to find the ideal exhibition stand space for you. If you’re not able to visit the venue, get hold of any previous years’ floor plans for the exhibition.

Avoid the entrance/exit

Particularly in the case of the larger and popular exhibitions or trade shows, visitors making their way into the venue will be keen to quickly move away from what is always a heavily congested area whilst they orient and familiarise themselves with the venue. Chances are, as they pass by they won’t even notice your stand. Likewise, by the time visitors are heading for the exit they’ve achieved everything they wanted to, are probably tired and ready to leave. You would be better off positioning your stand a little way in or even towards the centre of the exhibition hall.

Visibility and accessibility

They keys to creating a successful exhibition stand are visibility, accessibility and visual impact. When selecting an exhibition space it’s important to avoid proximity to any physical barriers that may obscure your stand or distract from its effectiveness. The corner spaces of aisles in the centre of a room have more sides open, so it is easier for visitors to walk on to the stand, and are therefore more welcoming. However, avoid the corners of the hall itself as they can be easy for visitors to miss, particularly if people are obstructing the stands view.

Target high traffic areas

Provided that your stand doesn’t do anything to disturb or annoy them (loud multimedia demonstrations, music or light shows), selecting an exhibition space near an area dedicated to visitor downtime will provide high footfall and a captive audience. There are some obvious places that are guaranteed to attract high levels of footfall including areas serving refreshments, seminar rooms and toilets. However, think carefully before choosing a stand space near to the toilets. After all, how many people are likely to want to hang around outside the toilets?

Major players make ideal neighbours

The biggest exhibitors from your industry are likely to attract the greatest footfall to their exhibition stand, so if you can get a stand somewhere in the immediate vicinity, you will likely benefit from their footfall. If you’re able to gain information about stand positions, it will help identify where the big players in your industry are located. Locating yourself next to direct competitors can go one of two ways. Either it will reduce the number of visitors to your stand or it can provide an opportunity for you to gain useful business intelligence and for visitors to make direct comparisons between the businesses, products and services. You might also consider taking a stand next to a company in a complementary industry as it will offer excellent opportunities to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

Main thoroughfare or perimeter aisle?

Whilst the main thoroughfares may attract higher footfall, competition between exhibitors is also likely to be fierce. If you choose to warrant the cost of a position on the main thoroughfares, your stand must be the most attractive, compelling and visually engaging. Choosing an exhibition space slightly away from the main thoroughfare is likely to cost less but you must give people an irresistible reason to visit such as a free giveaway, a product demonstration or other promotional offer).

Smart man with glasses in black and whiteTom Rigby, Author

For over 20 years, Tom Rigbyhas helped businesses across the UK to find their voice and communicate their messages, in print and online, whether they want to generate sales, attract customers, inform stakeholders, educate the public or persuade them to join a cause. He is a published author and occasional contributor to a number of publications. www.tomrigby.com