When it comes to trade show booths, is bigger always better? That depends on a lot of considerations, your budget being one of them. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of going up a size and see how things measure up.

Bigger Presence

Your booth is bigger, so obviously, your presence at the show will be increased. Your company will be perceived as a bigger “player” in the industry. Sometimes by investing in a larger space, other sponsorship opportunities are possible which may include additional signage, a bigger listing in the exhibitor guide, contributions to the conference swag bag etc…

Appears Emptier

When a company decides to play bigger and upgrade to a larger booth, one of the factors that is often overlooked is that the larger the booth, the emptier it appears. Simply filling it with additional booth staff doesn’t fix the problem either. Whenever you move up a size, you need to redouble your efforts to create traffic and increase your booth attendance. In fact, from an outsider’s perspective, a very busy 10’x20′ will appear more successful than a 20’x20′ booth with the very same attendance. It’s something to think about.

Better Location

Typically, the bigger the booth, the more choice you have when it comes to location. The more money you spend with show management, the better they treat you. By upping your level of sponsorship, you will have access to the prime location spaces that are usually towards the center of the hall and nearer to the entrance. Sometimes the move from a linear booth (10’x10′, 10’x20′) to an island booth can be a huge leap forward. You get out of the area that – in some shows – is called “start-up alley”, or what I like to call “Ten-by-Tensville. Going to an island booth of 20’x20′ or larger has the added advantage of additional exposure to multiple aisles. This means you have greater access to traffic because every side of your booth is now a potential entrance for booth visitors.

More Booth Staff Required

The rule of thumb for booth staff is two people per 100 sq. ft. If you had a 10’x10′ booth before and you have moved up to a 20’x20′ island booth, you now require six additional booth staff. Depending on your budget and the size of your company, this additional expense can be considerable when you factor in flights, hotels and per diems, not to mention the lost opportunity costs of pulling sales people out of the field.

If you are the kind of company who wants to stay lean and mean, you may want to consider hiring professional booth staff to help out. This will enable you to have the boots on the ground that you need, and is not only an economically effective way of staffing your booth, but can make it a lot easier to reach some of your exhibiting goals.

Logistics and Installation

When you are accustomed to flying with your 10’x10′ pop-up booth and then start using a booth of larger proportions, you soon realize that you have to get this monstrosity to the convention center on time. Moving larger-sized booths can be a mammoth task. You may need to consider using professional trade show logistics companies to get your booth to all the shows. In addition to freight costs, you will now have to deal with drayage expenses, and the wonderful world of convention center unions. J

Once your exhibit has made it safely to your booth space, you’ll need to have your booth properly installed. There’s more to it than what your pop-up booth required. You’ll need help from your exhibit dealer’s install team to make it happen. Chances are an AV person to set up your monitors, your sound system and any networking needs that you might have. Budget accordingly.

More Possibilities

You now have room for a boxing ring, a Ferris wheel, a mechanical bull or any of the other wild attractions that are possible in a trade show booth. Even if you don’t go nuts with the space, you can now have room for a small meeting area, a small in-booth theater, more demo stations, or something like a coffee bar. The more space you have, the more creative you can get, and in doing so, further differentiate your company from your competitors and other exhibits on the show floor.

When it comes right down to it, marketing is all about differentiation, and it’s a game of inches. If your company can afford to play bigger and you optimize your exhibit, you really can maximize your results.

What other considerations have you had to make when you took your booth to the next level? Comment – I’d love to hear what I missed.