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Trade Show Booth Display Ideas

Trade Show Tips: Booth Display Ideas

Trade Show Booth Display Ideas

Get Trade Show Booth Ideas

You’ve secured your space at the show(s) you wish to attend, you’ve determined the message you want to portray, and now it’s time for booth design ideas. Whether you are keeping the design stage in-house, or outsourcing it to an exhibit house, it is the most vital stage in the booth preparation process. We’ve partnered with to provide the best in trade show booth design. For thousands of exhibit images and inspiration, is the best source on the web. Use their on site search engine to find the images you’d like, then save your favorite images to your idea list. Once you’ve created your idea list, share it with one of our team members and get a free pricing. It’s that easy. With the right message and the wrong booth design, you will not see the results you deserve. Often, a mediocre message masked by an immaculate booth design will yield surprisingly high results, because catching the interest of attendees is half the battle. Don’t leave it chance. is the best place to go for trade show booth design ideas, but we’ll also show you some moore sources of inspiration.

Before discussing the different aesthetic additions that can boost your booth, it is important to consider booth layout options and show demographics. The factors to consider in these categories include Booth Size, the Booth Type, and the Audience of the show. After covering these concerns, there are 6 variable categories that can heavily increase booth traffic if utilized properly. These include: Digital Embellishments, Visual Embellishments, Product Displays, Interactive Components, Flooring, and lighting. All of these will be discussed in the proceeding sections.

Booth Size Considerations:

You need to know what size space you have before brainstorming design options. There is significantly more room for custom elements and attractions in booths larger than 200 square feet (10×30 or 20×20 and up). Also, as booths get larger in size, there are more layout options available to you that will be discussed in the next section. Make sure that if you have an idea in your head as to what your booth should have, that you book your exhibit space accordingly. Booking a space that is too small to support your message, goals, and objectives will cripple your plans from the design stage on, and ultimately have a negative effect on your return-on-investment. Standard booth sizes are 10×10, 10×20, 10×30, 20×20, 20×30, and can progress to essentially any larger size beyond that as determined by the show itself. If you want to see some general layouts by booth size, check out our Ideas by Booth Size page.

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10 Common Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid

10 Common Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid

Although mistakes are inevitable, you can use our 10 Common Trade Show Mistakes to Avoid as a safeguard going forward. These are the most common mistakes that we witness on a daily basis, but if you are looking for more trade show tips to assist with other exhibiting problems, feel free to visit our Trade Show Blog.

1. Not Doing Show Research:

As far-fetched as this may sound, many companies fail to do their due-diligence when it comes to show research. All shows will provide with you with an exhibitor prospectus that breaks down attendee demographics, purchasing power, trade show attendees by job title, and much more. This information in conjunction with other qualitative knowledge should be the criteria in your decision making process, not just simply because your competitors are there.

2. Forgetting to Set Goals:

Another common trade show mistake is forgetting to set goals for your exhibiting efforts. Not setting exhibit goals is the equivalent of a football team snapping the ball without calling a play. If you don’t know your plan of attack going in, how can you expect your talent to communicate a synergistic message? The answer is you can’t. Whether your goal is to close x amount in sales derived from the show, generate y amount of new leads, or even to connect with existing clients, it needs to be determined before you get to the show. Ideally, goals should be solidified before you begin your pre-show marketing efforts, which leads me into the next point.

3. Not Raising Awareness Pre-Show:

You wouldn’t host a fund-raiser without getting the word out, so why would you exhibit without doing so. Despite the frivolous nature of this point, it is surprising as to how many companies do not market enough or at all pre-show. Your exhibit is a marketing investment just like any other, so don’t let it go to waste by not spreading the word. Reaching out to your current customer base, prospective clients, and even vendors beforehand will help increase your return on investment significantly. Also, don’t forget to utilize the powers of social media to raise awareness about your participation in the show(s). Pre-Show email marketing can also make a large contribution to increasing show traffic and buzz surrounding your booth. Look into helpful articles provided by the likes of into business emails, there pros and cons, as well as what, and what not to do.

4. Always set a budget prior to show:

Although this isn’t as much of a “requirement” as the others, it is of equal importance. Take the time to do your research, determine what you should be spending for the design and display you want, and set a budget. This will help you keep on pace and informed when making key decisions. Having this rough estimate of a budget will also play a major role when soliciting bids from exhibit houses. Often, exhibit house will not be willing to go beyond initial discussions without having a budget estimate to guide their design efforts.

5. Booth Layout:

Even with your goals in place, your pre-show marketing efforts coordinated, and a target budget you still may fall short of your expectations if you don’t have a powerful booth layout. If you are outsourcing production to an exhibit house, they will usually be able to take your concepts and create a design and layout that will easily meet or exceed your needs. However, if you choose to keep production in-house, there are many factors to consider when laying out your booth. Be sure to keep in mind where entrances are, where general meeting areas are located, where foot traffic generally flows, and your location in relation to your competitors. Your furniture positioning, hanging signs, wall height, and open space are also major considerations when creating a customer friendly design.

6. Booth Staffing:

Booth Staffing is often one of the most overlooked exhibiting considerations. Anyone at your company can work your booth, right? Wrong. You wouldn’t send a rookie salesman to close a multi-million dollar contract, and this approach should hold steady on the exhibit floor. Experience is a great thing, but pairing that with appeal is the key to success on the trade show floor. Whether you hire models, actors, or even just bring the most personable people in the office, it will pay off to have talent that can attract and keep prospective clients at your space. Make sure that above all else, the staff has sufficient knowledge of what you are selling, or your prospective customers will be turned off from the start. This topic is covered in greater depth in our Trade Show Booth Staffing article.

7. Starting the Procurement Process Too Late:

The hardest part of the procurement process for inexperienced exhibitors is determining what too late is. As a general rule of thumb, it is good to begin the process roughly 24 weeks or more from the show. This gives enough time for any contingencies that may arise, as well as the proper planning time needed to procure all of the materials the way you want them. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to have to sacrifice some key components in order to hit your deadline.

8. Distribution of Show Leads:

It is easy to forget that the effects of the show don’t end at the convention center. The amount of companies that forget to follow-up with leads post-show is astounding, and it takes a devastating bite out of your ROI. Digital marketing agencies, such as Ecrease, suggest to sit down with your team to create an automated email marketing strategy and a landing page SEO strategy after the event. It is essential that every single prospective customer, vendor, or general attendee that stopped by your booth gets at the least a thank-you follow up. Your company’s level of involvement with lead distribution among reps and high-quality follow-up content will ultimately determine the level of new sales you receive from the event.

9. Not Reviewing the Exhibitor List for Potential Prospects:

With so much going on in preparation for a show, it is often easy to forget to scan the exhibitor prospectus thoroughly. In doing so, you may miss out on some of the best potential relationships there, other companies. Be sure to read through the exhibitor list, determine which companies could be potential clients or important vendors, do your research, and have your talent visit them during the show. This is an understated process in terms of the potential to build lasting B2B relationships.

10. Lacking a Strategy for Determining Trade Show ROI:

What are your metrics? How do you plan to measure your performance at the event? What do you need to sell in order to “break even” on this event? If you can’t answer these questions, you should start structuring your return on investment analysis plan. It is important that you can prove to upper-management that the event had sufficient returns. If you don’t know how you plan to measure them before the show opens, it’ll be awfully hard to piece together that report after the show. Don’t let this common trade show mistake get you in hot water!

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Trade Show Management Software

Trade Show Tips: The Value of Trade Show Management Software

Trade Show Management Software

For those who are unaware of the value that trade show management software provides, you are in for an enlightening introduction. If you have previous knowledge of what this software can do, you can use this article to help increase the efficiency of your annual exhibiting procedures. Trade show management software takes your everyday exhibiting responsibilities and provides an automation solution. This is useful not only for corporations that exhibit multiple times per year, but also for human resources departments that run many recruitment events per year, or companies that host multiple corporate events. If your company needs to store, manage/ship, and restore multiple assets at various times of the year, trade show management software could be for you, so you might want to look into something similar to inventory management open source which might help you achieve this. Management software is becoming an industry standard across all professions – healthcare, sports, payroll management, and legal case management software for law firms. Trade show management, whilst logistically different, can benefit from following this growing trend of reliance and integration to increase productivity and reduce erroneous errors.

What Trade Show Management Software Should Include:

  • Asset Management including warehousing, pick/pack, and fulfillment
  • Asset Inspection, maintenance, and reconditioning, graphic design and in-house printing capabilities
  • Dedicated Project Management
  • A cloud-based, secure portal to manage events and real-time inventory reporting
  • A streamlined process for accessing, altering, and scheduling the use of your company’s assets
  • Easy logistical management

The end goal of trade show management software is to relieve your company of the time consuming duties associated with events and exhibiting. It removes the hassle of keeping track of your assets, scheduling them to be shipped and stored at your various locations between events, and restoring them when they get damaged. All of these activities, when done internally, can be time consuming and confusing. However, by using an online management portal, your company will be able to manage all of these activities in mere minutes. Everything from printing replacement signage and marketing materials to logistical coordination can be handled within your trade show management software from your company-specific, secure portal.

MyConcierge Trade Show Management Software:

At Metro Exhibits, we provide our own trade show management software, MyConcierge. Many of our clients utilize this service to keep their multiple events organized and timely. You can access our MyConcierge page or watch the video below for more information.

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Trade Show Games Prize Vault

Best Trade Show Games for 2015

Trade Show Games

If standing out isn’t part of your strategic trade show plan, you might want to reconsider your plan of attack. Grasping attendees’ attention is a very critical component of trade show success, but it is a lot easier said than done. One of the most effective approaches from a cost and performance perspective is the use of trade show games. There is an abundance of games available, but the key is to find one that is not only engaging but that helps to enhance your brand awareness as well. You can also use the games as a way to promote your business even further by giving out prizes like CamelBack Bottles with your logo on if the participants get above a certain score. This will help people remember your brand and also promote your business long after the trade show is over. The small investment is well worth it. Below you will find a compilation of different game ideas that can be used across all industries and show types. Some are more tailored to particular industries while others are much more general.

Prize Vault:

Trade Show Games Prize Vault

It is rare, if not impossible, to find someone who does not enjoy the thrill of winning, especially when it comes at no cost to the individual. This is what makes the Prize Vault so compelling. The idea of the game is to put something of high value (Typically your best product or money) in the vault, and to have your attendees attempt to guess the code. If an attendee is able to guess the code, he/she will receive the grand prize inside the vault. A major benefit of this particular game is that you can hand out conciliation prizes with your companies branding on them for those who guess the code incorrectly. Also, while your visitors are waiting in line to test their luck, it is the perfect opportunity to have your talent up-sell your brand and gather their information.

Prize Decoder:

Trade Show Games Prize Decoder

The Prize Decoder is a particularly unique trade show game. This attraction is a hybrid between pre-show direct marketing, and trade show engagement. This is the best way to ensure that the critical attendees or clients you’ve identified pre-show make their way to your booth during the event. With the Prize Decoder, you are able to design and print branded tickets that correspond with the different prize choices you’ve selected. You can send the large prize tickets to your most valued clients and you can create blank tickets that show attendees will fill out before inserting them into the prize decoder to capture more contact information. When they arrive at your booth, they will insert their ticket into your branded Prize Decoder, and it will inform them of the prize they’ve won. Although this is a slightly more expensive option than some of the others, it is a great way to tailor your game to key contacts and to drastically increase engagement.

Interactive Gaming:

When it comes to interactive trade show games there are practically endless options, and they will vary heavily by the industry you are in, your product/service offering, the type of show, and much more. For that reason I will provide two examples of how interactive games can be tied into your exhibiting presence, to help get those creative juices flowing. Finding an interactive game that will work for your brand is the most important part, so be sure not to pick a game just because of its entertainment value without considering the return it will provide.

  • Xbox Kinect

Trade Show Games Xbox Kinect

When it comes to interactive games there are practically endless options, and they will vary heavily by the industry you are in, your product/service offering, the type of show, and much more. For that reason I will provide two examples of how interactive games can be tied into your exhibiting presence, to help get those creative juices flowing. Finding an interactive game that will work for your brand is the most important part, so be sure not to pick a game just because of its entertainment value without considering the return it will provide.

  • Golf Simulator

Trade Show Games Golf Simulator

It’s pretty obvious that this particular interactive game is highly tailored towards the golf industry, but the idea behind it can be applied to many different products/services and industries. Golf simulators come in different shapes and sizes and can help to showcase experience while testing out the latest the golf industry has to offer, an example of this is a simulator similar to the skytrak launch monitor which is a game system that can track and monitor your playing style in real-time. This could be a great help for companies in the golf industry. For a golf club or ball manufacturer this is an ideal addition to your exhibit. Not only does it provide your attendees with the opportunity to test out your product offering on the spot and to discuss its benefits with your staff, but it builds strong customer relationships from day one. This will increase brand recognition and equity with the show attendees, and will generate buzz around the show about not just your game but your product as well.


Trade Show Games Cornhole

For those of you who may not be familiar with Cornhole, it is a game that consists of tossing bean bags towards a hole in an opponent’s board. There are typically two teams of two standing 27 feet apart (can be less depending on space available). This game is great because it is highly cost effective, and does not have an instantaneous victor. Cornhole runs longer than many traditional games, leading to elongated engagement times which provide more opportunities to discuss your brand. Have your talent split up and play on opposing teams each consisting of a booth visitor if possible. This will allow your staff the time to make a personal connection with attendees in a receptive setting. At the end of the game provide the winner with a prize, and the loser with a promotional conciliation prize.

Here are step by step instructions as to the game play and scoring of Cornhole.

How to Play:

  • Split up the teams and the bean bags, then get situated along side your respective boards.
  • After deciding who will go first, take turns lobbing your bean bags at the opponent’s board. Be sure to alternate teams with each throw.
  • If a bag lands on the ground, hits the ground and then lands on the board, or is hanging off the board and touching the ground it does not count and should be removed from the playing field.
  • Once all bags have been thrown, add up your scores. Whoever scored the highest starts first in the next round


  • Bags on the board are worth 1 point
  • Bags that went in the hole are worth 3 points
  • Equal points cancel out, meaning only one team scores per round (If you score 8 and your opponents score 5, your team finished the round by adding 3 points to your overall score)
  • To win you must be the first team to reach 21 points, and you typically must win by 2

If the length of games is a concern, you can adjust the scoring in any fashion you see fit to speed it up.

P.S –Don’t forget to brand your Cornhole boards for additional exposure.


A time-tested and full proof game is a Drawing. This approach not only helps to drastically increase lead acquisition, but it also generates buzz about your booth if your prize is something that the attendees value. Have your booth visitors drop their business cards into a container and provide them with a raffle ticket. Make it clear that attendees must be present at the time of the drawing to win, if that is the direction you would like to take. Otherwise, send them follow up information post-show informing them of their victory. This is another inexpensive way to generate buzz at a show and subsequently increase lead generation.

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Trade Show Tips: How Experiential Marketing at Trade Shows Will Build Your Brand

Experiential Marketing is one of the hottest topics out there today. With so many of the major players resorting to this marketing medium lately, it makes us wonder how we can incorporate this model into our own marketing plans. Some question cost restraints, others question the ability to measure return-on-investment effectively, but realistically trade shows are the perfect arena for this marketing channel and I will tell you why.

Before diving in to how this method can be used on the trade show floor, I would like to briefly discuss the meaning of experiential marketing for those who may not be familiar. Experiential Marketing is a promotional method that encourages two way interactions between the consumer and a brand in an attempt to connect on a more personal level and to provider higher engagement rates. It is a method that is notoriously hard to ignore, yet less intrusive than typical marketing or advertising means. When done well, experiential marketing makes consumers want to be involved as opposed to invoking the feeling of being forced to listen. Still having difficulty grasping the concept? Let me share some of my favorite examples of experiential marketing with you.


I start with Costco because of its simplicity, low cost, and the relevance that it holds with the majority of people. The (pre-pandemic) samplers at Costco are one of my favorite, and most appetizing, examples of experiential marketing. It is hard to leave Costco having not purchased something from a sample stand, and that is the draw. Consumers choose to get involved, it isn’t viewed as intrusive, and even if it doesn’t result in an immediate purchase it builds positive customer relationships for life.

Costco Experiential Marketing


In 2012, TNT launched its “We know drama” campaign. From a cost perspective this example is on the opposite side of the spectrum than the Costco Samplers, but the execution and inherent intrigue is terrific. The reason this example of experiential marketing is so powerful, is because it reached beyond the immediate audience to a much larger one following the recording. This video now has over 52 million views on YouTube in addition to the number of individuals who witnessed it live or on TV. The majority of the successive views were free, all due to the buzz created from the initial experiential marketing effort.

What Experiential Marketing Can Do at Your Next Trade Show:

Now that the basics of experiential marketing have been covered, it is time to uncover the benefits of using this medium at your next trade show. Experiential Marketing can:

  • Increase voluntary customer interaction
  • Build positive long-term relationships
  • Create a desire for your product/service offerings
  • Increase word-of-mouth marketing on the trade show floor
  • Increase overall return-on-investment for the event

The reason that a well-executed experiential marketing plan can accomplish all of these goals is because people enjoy the element of surprise. People attend trade shows expecting to buy and learn, and are generally presented with a monotonous routine. The company that uses unique experiential marketing methods that create two way interaction and appeal will be the talk of the show. However, you want to make sure that you have established you measurement criteria in advance.

Measuring Experiential Marketing Return-on-Investment at Trade Shows:

The nice thing about experiential marketing at trade shows is that it is substantially easier to measure performance at a show than it is to measure performance when done in public. If your presence, booth layout, and staffing are all part of the experiential marketing experience, than your return-on-investment is just the all-in cost divided by the number of leads generated. This will give you your best KPI, being your cost per lead acquired. The best incremental performance metric is to compare your productivity to that of last year. If you did the same show last year and have the performance results without experiential marketing, comparing this year’s metrics to those of last year is the best way to quantify its relative effectiveness. There will always be variables from year to year (overall show attendance, booth location, etc.) but if done well, you should see a significant increase in booth traffic and lead generation using experiential marketing. And remember, if you succeed and get a large number of people visiting your booth then that means that there will be increased traffic to anywhere you have online presence. This is vital because if the people don’t like that they see because your website is old and hard to use then they won’t want to invest in you. Some companies may put all their focus on their social media platforms as a way to build an audience around their brand. It gives companies a way to interact with both their customers and potential customers, answering any questions they may have, and integrating them into their development process. Social media is great for experiential marketing as it gives businesses a direct line through their customers thus aiding with their audience and customer growth.

Examples of How Experiential Marketing Can Be Used at Trade Shows:

If you are struggling to come up with a good experiential marketing concept for your next trade show, I will provide some general options by show type. Granted these are just ideas, but please feel free to use any that you see fit for your brand.

Fashion Show – Create a runway in your booth space and let your attendees model your clothing on the catwalk. Have your staff take photos like paparazzi and give them this photo as a memento with you company’s contact information.

Gaming Show – Create a digital wall that will let your prospective customers immerse themselves in a video game virtual reality. Even if the game is not necessarily one that you sell, a basic game will still draw attendees to your booth and incite interaction with your staff. This is the perfect time to build a relationship.

Security Show – Have professional pickpockets work your booth. When they interact with attendees, they will confiscate their belongings without their knowledge. At the end they will present the attendees with their belongings and build a memory that will last a life time. This will tap into their need for safety (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) and entice them to learn more about your product offerings.

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