Small Booth = Big Success

Size -bigger is better- is often used as an indicator of success and how it can improve performance.  Naturally, one would think that a larger and flashier trade show booth would yield better results than a small booth.

Not so fast.

Success doesn’t boil down to size when it comes to trade show exhibits.  At the end of the day, it’s substance and attention to detail that comes out on top.

Maximizing your potential will go a long way in attracting attendees to your booth.  The following suggestions will help you get the most bang for your buck.

Small Space, Big Impact

I could spend all day perusing the goods at IKEA.  I know this because I have. But what I love the most about IKEA is how good they are at using space.  Every square inch is well utilized and thought out; it’s an effective way to transform a space without waste.

You want your space to feel welcoming to your attendees, not stiff and corporate.  Here are some tips to help you draw people in…

Keep it open

Open spaces are more inviting than ones that feel claustrophobic.  Setting up a table with a couple of chairs behind it closes off your space and doesn’t invite people to linger.  Use space saving furniture that is functional. For example, instead of the overused rectangular table, set up a narrow high top bar instead (make sure it is wide enough to hold informational materials).

Make it Cozy

A cozy space is one that makes a person feel welcome.  A great way to make attendees feel welcome in your space is to make sure your booth staff is friendly and attentive but not pushy.  Nothing makes me want to flee a space more than an overly officious staff member. On the flip-side, attendees won’t stick around if your booth isn’t properly staffed.  There is a lot to see and do at a trade show and people won’t hang around if they have to wait forever for someone to answer their questions. More staff means a greater ROI for you.

Cozy also means comfort.  You don’t need to hand out snuggies and a place to binge watch the latest Netflix hit to provide comfort.   What you should do, however, is invest in comfortable flooring by placing padding underneath to give your guests some relief for their tired feet (it can make them to stay longer).

Be Interesting

Gimmicks sometimes work -otherwise, people wouldn’t deploy such tactics- but one of the many problems of being gimmicky is that the results are short-lived.  And there is a major sleaze factor associated with gimmicks. Use the following tactics instead to draw interest…

  • Use your event location to your advantage.  In Vegas? Have a showgirl. In Miami? Incorporate art deco into your design.
  • What’s something that nearly everyone has in common?  We all like free stuff. Or at the very least have the chance to score something for free (or discounted).  Have giveaways and promotional items at your booth to attract the cheap-skate we all have deep down inside.
  • Technology is a reliable way to draw people in.  It doesn’t need to be fancy schmancy to attract people.  Audiovisuals, monitors, video loops, or interactive displays are an easy way to inform and draw people in
  • Have live demonstrations at your booth to give attendees a better understanding of what your product is and how it can be used.  It’s much more appealing than having a product sitting on a shelf.

Get Familiar With Regulations

Many exhibitors don’t make full use of their booth space because they are short-changing how much they can take advantage of.  The sides are often underutilized for no reason. There is plenty of real estate to be used on the sides. Familiarize yourself with IAEE rules for booth size and get the most out of your space.  Just remember that the rules are different internationally where space is sold by cubic feet, not square feet.


When you don’t have a big budget for a large booth, sponsorships can help you expand your footprint.  For example, a small sponsorship, like contributing to lunch, can give great exposure to your brand and drive traffic to your booth.


The truth is bigger isn’t better.  Your small booth can perform just as well or better than it’s larger competitors.  Size isn’t the cause of your success; you know what you need to do while others don’t.

That’s winning.