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Increasing your stand & display space: When it’s time to go “large”

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Posted by , 13th February 2018

Increasing display space is something that many exhibitors need to consider when they have been participating in a successful event. This post helps you decide when is the right time to go "large"

There comes a time for many exhibitors when they feel the need to substantially increase the size of their stand.

The question of significantly increasing display space at a successful event is something that many exhibitors have to deal with.

Usually, this occurs when exhibitors want to make bigger inroads with key buyers at a market-leading trade show. The sentiments and desire are understandable but there are important things to consider.

What is the strategy?

Before you book a much bigger stand space you need to be clear on your strategy for the event. If you book the space and stand design work before you define your objectives and measures of success, you could be upping your spend but diminishing the return on investment from what has until now, been a profitable event.

Write a brief that states why you need a bigger space and how you plan to use it. Be clear on how if successful, your participation results should be improved by this move to a bigger and more costly investment.

A great design by itself won’t necessarily deliver what you want

A decision to be bold, “to really make an impact” at a show is a good thing but quite often the way this is done is to book a much bigger space and then to work with a design agency to create something “special.”

A good design agency will be skilled in helping a client to agree clear objectives.  They will want to know who the stand should be designed to attract and how success will be measured post-show. They shouldn’t produce a “cracking” design without knowing what it is the stand needs to achieve. If they do, you are working with the wrong agency.

Your own strategy document will be a great asset to the design agency that you work with. It will help them to provide you with a successful stand solution.

Be clear on where your costs will increase

Upping the size of your stand will of course increase costs but that just won’t be the cost per metre for the extra floorspace.

Your costs will rise in a number of areas. Stand build for a start. Service costs like electrics and data will also increase. Staff costs for travel and accommodation will increase as more people will be needed to work on the stand. Perhaps there will be rigging costs that you haven’t paid before if you want a hanging banner or digital screen above your bigger and more prominent display.

The pros and cons of bigger space

There are lots of reasons why increasing your stand space makes good business sense when you are exhibiting at an event that you know attracts significant numbers of your buying audience.

  • Your stand will be able to accommodate many more visitors. This should result in more leads being taken and more orders being converted
  • You will have the space required to display much more of your product range
  • Additional space can enable you to run seminars or on-stand talks or to incorporate other visitor attracting features
  •  You can create a much more dramatic or impactful stand display
  • Occupying a larger stand space may also move your location closer to a show entrance or a similar “prime” space
  • A larger stand booking may also improve your leverage with an organiser for additional content promotion opportunities

The biggest and probably the only real question against booking a much larger stand is that you run the risk of pricing yourself out of what has been to now, a profitable event.

Having a bit more planning and administration to deal with is a minor detail as much of what you do for a smaller stand, you do for a bigger one too.

No, the real danger is as stated above. You run the risk unless you have really thought things through of making a show that has worked well for you until now, too expensive and therefore unprofitable. Here’s how to avoid that situation.

Do your sums

There are lots of calculations that you could do in relation to increasing your stand space. Leads generated to date versus stand size is one. Analysing what you think is the additional visitor potential is another. The show organiser can help you answer this.

The growth opportunity in terms of number of visitors for your company may not always mean an overall increase in footfall to your stand (but it usually does). It could mean increasing the number of one-one meetings and briefings held with buyers. It could also mean that you have the means to provide a bigger sampling or demonstration area.

For each additional opportunity that the space provides, enter a financial value. So if you will be able to meet with additional 20 buyers in sit-down meetings, put a value on the business that you think conservatively will be come from those additional meetings.

If the additional space allows you to increase the number of products and visitors on your stand, take a stab at the additional sales that you think should be generated by this combination.

Do the same for samples and on-stand demonstrations and any other opportunity that you think will arise from taking the bigger space, in a more visible position, with stronger visual impact …..

Then check how the numbers stack-up against your additional spend and how your projected return from the show compares with your results last time.

Consider additional benefits

Calculating things as described is not an exact science but it should provide a good guide and your design agency should also be able to help you assess the benefits and cost-effectiveness of using a bigger space.

There are additional benefits and reasons for taking a larger display space. The biggest if you’ll pardon the pun, is to increase or to promote brand awareness. To increase brand recognition in the minds of prime consumers. Exhibiting can definitely be used to make this type of statement to the people that you most want to influence and do business with.

In effect your stand is also a great big advertisement for your business.

With a bigger space you may also obtain greater support from the show organiser for content distribution pre and post show. The organiser might also offer sponsorship items as part of an overall participation deal. Or you could negotiate them.

Trade shows really can grow your business. If results generated at a show have been good, and there is potential for more business to be had, then a bigger stand and display space should provide the means to produce those extra sales. Just be sure to do some thinking and calculating before you make the leap.

Further reading

You may find these previously published articles helpful too.

Stand design: When custom build is the right display solution
Writing an effective brief for an exhibition stand design

Posted in Design & Build  /  Stand Management  /  Trade show marketing  /  Visibility & Impact

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