Trade shows are expensive. Hold on, they are REALLY expensive, especially for small or start up businesses. In 2024, this fact keeps many companies from trying out their first trade show. However, trade shows typically produce ROI that far outweighs the cost and time inputs, which is exactly what businesses need in 2024. What most first time exhibitors, and even long time exhibitors, do not know is, there are multiple ways to reduce cost at trade shows. In some circumstances, cutting these costs can make it affordable enough for some businesses to engage in their first trade show. Here is a list of the top 5 Tips to Reduce Your Trade Show Expenses!

5 Tips to Reduce Your Trade Show Expenses

1. Install Your Own Booth

One of the easiest ways to save a good chunk of change is to install your booth yourself. Trade show labor costs are high and depending on your style and size of booth, these charges can add up. Trade show labor is very useful and makes sense why it cost so much when you look into everything that goes into it. However, if you are trying to make your budget work, this is a great cost to bypass. However, it’s not that easy and requires some planning and knowledge.

The first step is to contact the show you are considering attending and ask them about installing your own booth. Most shows have some kind of restrictions on what the exhibitor can install themselves. Some of the obvious restrictions include any kind of rigging, anything that requires being on a ladder, using power tools, and some types of electrical installation. There could be height restrictions or booth size restrictions. For the sake of discussion, most shows allow displays like the HopUp or Embrace for customers to install themselves. These booths require no tools, are simple to install, and do not require any rigging or specialized labor.

2. Bring Your Own Battery Pack

Another expensive cost is renting electrical service at the trade show. Of course, anything involving electricity is going to involve electricians and unions. However, there is new technology that allows a bypass of this service in certain situations. Battery packs make it possible to power display lights, backlit displays, and small accessories for your trade show, without using electricity from the show site. However, if you are using TV’s, computers, or interactive displays that require more power, you will need show site electrical. This is another reason to plan out every aspect of your booth to ensure you set it up to save cost.

We are just getting warmed up! Let’s continue 5 Tips to Reduce Your Trade Show Expenses to increase your ROI!

3. Ship Items To Your Hotel and Carry Them In

If you have a smaller booth, it is possible to ship Items to your hotel with little to no receiving cost. This way you can bypass advanced warehouse and direct to show charges. This does require more work for the exhibitor in both labor and logistics planning, but its worth it to get the trade show within budget. It is simple, call hotels before booking and ask them about receiving items. Sometimes they will have a limit on size, number of packages, or weight. Some hotels charge extra to receive packages.

Once you have this information, it is easier to narrow down some display and booth products. Additionally, check with the show site about restrictions on bringing in your own displays. Some shows do not allow it. Some shows charge extra or put a limit on the number or size of the package. Get all of this information before booking the show and purchasing the display to ensure everything works together!

4. Purchase the Right Display

Hop Up DisplaysA display can make or break your budget in a number of ways. A few things to consider when purchasing a display that will reduce overall cost are:

  • How durable is the display?
  • What is the shipping size?
  • What is the shipping weight?
  • How easy is it to assemble?
  • Does the display offer replacement parts and graphics?

An economical display is more than just the initial purchase price. It depends on how long it lasts, maintenance costs, shipping costs, and storage. Its also important to consider how easy it is to assemble and if there are replacement parts available. A great solution is the Hop Up 10 foot display. This display system is lightweight, durable, easy to assemble, affordable to ship, easy to store, and replacement graphics and parts are available for a low cost!

5. Use Strategic Planning to Reduce Travel and Meal Expenses

Another huge expense related to trade shows is travel, lodging, and meal expenses. There are several factors to consider when planning a trade show based on the location. Before booking yourself, a few questions to consider include:

  • Can I find a local show or something close to home?
  • How close is the hotel to the venue?
  • Are there suppliers or vendors that want to take us out for dinner?

It’s all the little costs that add up which can make or break a budget. Things like Uber or cab fair, meals, and air travel can add up quickly. Some great ways to reduce cost is to find a show as close to home as possible. If its within driving distance you can eliminate air travel, hotel, and meal expenses. If you do need to travel, try to find a city that offers great deals on air fair. Las Vegas is well known for its affordable plain tickets.

Additionally, try to find a hotel that is walking distance to the show site. This will eliminate the need for cab trips and other transportation costs. However, sometimes these hotels are pricey so make sure to compare the costs. Is it more affordable to pay more for the room, or pay some transportation costs? Are you going to a show site with a vendor or supplier trying to earn your business? Take them up on offers to buy you a meal or entertain you. Not only will you expand your network, some of your meal expenses are covered!

Final Thoughts

Make sure to work with an experienced company like Creative Imaging Displays to help guide you in the right direction. Our goal is to fit our clients with the best trade show display for their needs and budget. If you are a first time exhibitor trying to get into your first show, we have plenty of options for you! If you are looking for newest, high tech trade show solutions, we have you covered there as well! What do you think of these 5 Tips to Reduce Your Trade Show Expenses? If you have any more suggestions leave them in the comments below!