What does it mean to be budget conscious at trade shows? A budget, defined by the dictionary, is an itemized summary of expected income and expenditure of a company over a specified period, usually a financial year. Being budget conscious in terms of a trade show means having a specified amount of money a company can spend on the event. The challenge is choosing the correct tools to make the trade show successful but still staying within the budget.

This is an important component when choosing the right trade show. A good thing to remember when making a budget is to consider all the costs involved. It will be hard to have a successful show when you are not being realistic about the cost. Expect to spend anywhere from $5k to $15k on average for a small show and the cost can be a lot higher for larger booths and larger mainstream shows . It is good to view this budget in every angle in order to include any unexpected costs. There should always be a little wiggle room for expenditures that could arise. A few of the points we will cover are:

  • Show Costs
  • Target the Correct Audience
  • Placement at a Show
  • Utilize Every Resource
  • Unexpected Costs

Budget Conscious Trade Shows

Show Cost

Costs of attending the show itself, this being just for the show and booth space, can vary from 2k to 5k or more. A great way to minimize cost and maximize success would be to choose a small booth space. It is possible to have a successful show with a smaller booth size and this can be achieved by choosing a product that grabs the attention of the attendees. Consider any of our backlit display systems to make your brand stand out from the crowd!

Target the Correct Audience

Choose a show that targets the audience that you want to hit so that your gains outweigh the costs. It is possible to invest at a lower cost niche show and still be very successful. This means working effectively with the tools at hand. Someone who has a low cost pop up booth can be more successful than a company with a truss display if they target the audience in an appropriate fashion.

Most attendees are not coming to see who has the biggest and most flashy booth. However, they are there to gain information about future purchases they want to make. One resource many people do not consider is asking the opinions of the attendees. Find out what they are trying to achieve by attending, this goes both ways. What are you trying to gain and what is the attendee trying to gain? This is the biggest question when considering a budget. One of the biggest tips I can offer is: Ask yourself what is the end result and will it outweigh the costs?

Placement at a Show

Formulate Master 10ft Straight Displays S6 LiveWhen choosing a show ask yourself, where would I want to be placed so I can maximize my return on investment and gain the most traffic? This is being business savvy. The reason is, it is better to spend more money to be in the center of the action then spending less money and not have any traffic. Think of high traffic areas as high dollar potential profits. The more attendees who you engage and follow up with can lead to big business in the future. Business models are based off what a company can make in the future compared with the current profit margin. There is money to be made when attending trade shows because the face to face interaction you receive is still more valuable than using interactive trade shows.

Utilize Every Resource

Using as many resources as possible is the smartest move a company can make when planning a trade show. When trying to choose their booth for the show ask as many questions as you can from the company you are trying to purchase your booth from. A good trade show display company will be extremely knowledgeable on every aspect of a trade show. They will give you suggestions on booths that can be low cost but still give the wow factor at the show. Use your resources!

There are many ways to keep costs low and by doing your research and finding the right deals can help save some of the outward costs involved. One thing to keep in mind is to find alternatives to renting equipment from the convention center. The cost of renting equipment at the show can be very expensive and there are other avenues for finding what you need at a lower cost.

Unexpected Costs

Always consider all the costs involved in attending a trade show. Work into the budget the costs of traveling, paying employees, giveaways, and any unexpected costs that can arise like lost luggage. Being smart and expecting the unexpected is the smartest move budget wise. It is better to have extra in the budget and not need it then needing it and not having it.


In conclusion, it is best to be business savvy in terms of staying budget conscious. Think of the bigger picture, yet know how to keep the costs low while sticking to the budget. Always leave room for unexpected costs because they do happen and usually when you least expect it. Choose a show that is going to allow you to stay within the specified budget costs but will also allow you to gain potential clientele that could mean big business in the future. Think in terms of the trade show; how is that trade show going to make you money, even when in reality you are spending money? Spend the money needed to create a successful show yet stay budget conscious and return on investment will skyrocket!