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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Trade Show Booths

Trade show newbies can face a lot of stress and worry when they’re getting ready to exhibit with their trade show booths. If you’re planning on taking your display to an event, here are a couple of beginner tips that will make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.


Tip #1: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For A Discount For Services For Your Trade Show Booths

Your booth isn’t the only trade show cost you’ll have when you’re exhibiting. You’ll need to pay for exhibit space, shipping your display, promotional materials, electrical work, storage, and a host of other fees. You can just pay the list price for each of these items, but instead ask if there’s a discount available. Many organizations will provide discounts for non-profit organizations, if you pay in cash, or if you meet certain deadlines. The worst that can happen is that the vendor refuses to give you a discount, so there’s no harm in asking.

Tip #2: Form Relationships With Vendors Of Your Trade Show Booths

Relationships drive business. If you rely on relationships with your own customers, you understand just how important they are. When you’re the customer, your relationships with your vendors are just as vital. When you have a good working relationship with a vendor, you can be the first to know about discounts and specials, upcoming events, and give you a foot in the door when it comes to choosing your booth space. Simple things like being sure to say thank you and showing your appreciation will go a long way toward building these relationships.

Tip #3: Be Mindful Of Deadlines Associated With Your Trade Show Booths

If you miss a deadline associated with your booth or upcoming event, you could instantly increase your costs. Event organizers and other vendors will likely have two different costs associated with each service — an early bird discount and a regular price. Put a very responsible person from your company in charge of planning for and meeting deadlines to make sure you don’t have to worry about missing any of them. If you’re shipping items, it’s also important to give yourself extra time, so plan for a few extra days just in case there are delays with your shipping partner. Speaking of shipping, don’t forget about drayage. Drayage (aka material handling) can be a hefty cost, so plan accordingly and read these 5 recommendations to control drayage cost.

Tip #4: Make A Plan B (And C) For Your Trade Show Booths

Murphy’s Law often visits all exhibitors. Even the most experienced and knowledgeable exhibitors may have problems come up with their exhibit. This is why it’s important that you have a plan B, and then a plan C, in case things don’t go exactly as planned. You might not need to use either plan, but if you do, you’ll be glad you had them and will be able to keep going without missing a step.


Now that you know the inside tips of planning for your show, get your hands on the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper to cover all your trade show marketing needs. This guide reveals the most effective strategies and tactics exhibitors are using today to boost results and stretch their budgets. Click here for your free copy. 

About the Author

Bob Watson has been helping clients in the New York region dominate trade show marketing events for over 30 years. As President of Skyline New York, a leading trade show marketing resource known for customized exhibit innovations, Bob helps his partners use distinctive modular components to create New York trade show displays and complementing banner stands that captivate and compel crowds while effectively broadening brand exposure and reach. For more information on trade show displays, trade show booths, and trade show exhibits in New York, please visit

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