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How Many Staffers Do I Need?

It can be hard to determine just how many booth staffers you need to bring to your next trade show or event. The investment in booth staffers in terms of time training and money spent traveling to the event can be substantial. Appropriately trained staffers will give you a positive Return on Investment when they know how to effectively capture leads. Below, I’ve outlined the best way to determine how many booth staffers you will need for your next trade show or event.


If the booth size is a given, which it normally is, then you will need one staffer for each 50 square feet of unoccupied space. Occupied by what, you are asking? By your display, product demonstrations and equipment.

Method #1
Take the total square feet of the booth: 10’x10’ = 100 sq., 10’x20’ = 200 sq., etc., then subtract the square footage occupied by your exhibit, pedestal tables and demonstrations. The remainder should be divided by 50 to determine how many staffers.

EXAMPLE: 10’x10’ = 100 sq. – 8’x2’ for booth display and 3’x2’x2’ for two pedestal tables or 16 sq.ft. + 12 sq. = 28 sq.ft. 100 sq. – 28 sq.ft. = 72 sq. / 50 = 1.2 staffers or 1 or 2 booth staffers; two would be preferable.

Method #2
Another way to look at staffing is to establish an objective for contacts or leads to be generated. If the objective is 100 qualified leads, then work backwards. An aggressive staffer can contact 10-15 attendees an hour. If the show is open 6 hours per day – then 60 contacts per day are possible. If the show is a three-day show then one staffer can contact 180 attendees. If you have 30% qualification rate, then one staffer can qualify 54 attendees during the course of the show. With a goal of 100 qualified leads, then you need two staffers.
A Booth Captain Leads Your Staff to Success

Selecting a staff that can execute your plan is just the first step. You must assign a “Booth Captain.” The Booth Captain and the Exhibit Manager are the not the same. The booth’s leader must have complete authority, as well as responsibility for on-the-floor execution. Regardless of the staffers’ home organization, when working the show, they work for the “Booth Captain.” The leader must also be charged with training and organizing the staff into an integrated selling unit. This applies to small exhibitors as well. Failure to assign a leader normally leads to a chaotic event.


Organizing the Team

The first function of a booth captain is to assure that the booth is scheduled properly to assure coverage at all times. Both for peak traffic time and slower periods. The booth schedule should be designed to keep everyone UP, FRESH and ALERT. To do this, one should think in terms of 2-4 hour shifts. An exhibiting veteran is known to have said more than once, “Untired feet, make a happy face.” Rotating staff is a critical job of the Booth Captain, even if there are only two or three personnel assigned to the booth.

Booth Captain Checklist
• Plan the booth team (names and schedule)
• Prepare of the team, organize cross-product / product training and marketing related issues – objectives, themes, messages
• Organize and conduct the pre exhibition meeting
• Daily briefing and daily post-event review
• Supervise the collection leads and lead information
• Address staff and visitor needs, issues and questions
• Manage staff decorum – assure that staff stay focused on the show objectives
• Coordinate collection of competitive information and assure it is transmitted to the appropriate party
• Make notes of exhibit issues that need to be addressed and communicate to convention services
• Review expectations and evaluate if they were met
• Participate and represent at functions
• Look after VIPs


How have you had success in staffing your booth? Have you experienced any shortcomings with staffers? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Author

Marc Goldberg, CME, Partner and Founder of Marketech Inc., brings over 35 years of cross functional marketing and management experience to his trade show seminars, conferences and measurement activities. Marc conducts programs at Exhibitor Show, TSEA’s TS2, Exhibit Marketing Institute and the Event Measurement Conference. Marc received his CME certification in 1999, from TSEA.

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