Trade show costs can end up going through the roof if you’re not paying attention. Some associations will just take the hit, assuming that trade show costs are always going to be high and that they are, in the end, worth it. However, there are plenty of ways that an association can lower trade show costs. The following are ten ways that your association could actually reduce the costs at your next trade show:
Associations should be aware of other trade shows occurring at the same time. If you’ve scheduled a show on the same weekend that the biggest trade show within your industry is occurring, few exhibitors will bother with your show. Venues may also be in more demand during certain periods of the year. During their peak times, renting their space is going to be more costly.
Location matters to both exhibitors and attendants. If the venue is out in the middle of nowhere, attendants may be less willing to go, which means exhibitors won’t see the value of having a booth at your show. Making sure that the venue is easily accessible is important to ensuring a high ROI.
- Venue contract
Some venues will give you a discount for paying upfront and early. Keep an eye out for hidden costs, such as taxes, parking, telephone and Internet hookups, and more. You should also make sure that the venue agrees to apply any cancellation penalties to future business booked within a specific period following the cancelled event.
- Sponsor Participation
Look for businesses who can help sponsor the trade show. You can strike a deal with them in order to give them more exposure. For example, you could give out conference bags to all of the attendants that have the sponsor’s logo on them.
Similar to sponsorship, you can save money by creating partnerships. For example, if the venue is a hotel ballroom, you could offer to hand out promotional items with the hotel’s logo and name on them in return for a discount on renting the venue. Or you could make a deal with the company renting the A/V equipment to you by offering to set up a free booth for their company.
- Reusable Signage
Instead of printing new signs for every show, use a number of generic signs with the association’s name or logo and then make a number of smaller ones that can be attached using velcro onto the larger ones. You can also go digital, which may be more costly initially but will save money in the long run since you can just upload new text and logos for each show.
- Contractor costs
Always make sure that you are only paying for what you need when hiring a contractor. You may also want to inquire about a deal for hiring the contractor for more than a single trade show.
- Combine conferences or shows
You could split the venue space – and costs – with another association planning a trade show within an industry that is relevant to yours.
- Creative lighting
Sometimes you don’t need to light up the entire venue – darkness can have a big impact depending on how it’s used. You don’t need to install specialized lights either – you can save money by using gobos.
Vests are an easy way to identify volunteers and trade show staff. Keep them simple but make sure they stand out – this way you can reuse them for trade shows.
These are ten ways that your association can reduce the costs of setting up a trade show.