How to Select an Exhibit Company for Your Next Trade Show
Deciding on an exhibit company to help you design your next trade show booth is no easy task. After all, how your booth looks and functions at the trade show will be seen as a reflection of your company as a whole.
That’s a lot of pressure! Thankfully, there are ways to make the selection process easier. By organizing your search, writing down your goals and establishing criteria for selection, you can quickly narrow down your choices and ultimately pick the right company for you.
Here is how to get started:
Step 1: Research Your Exhibit Company Options
The first thing is to recognize just how many different options are available for building or renting an exhibit. Trade show booth design and building company structures can range from:
- Custom exhibit builder
- Full-service exhibit design and build firm
- PR, marketing, advertising or branding agency
- Separate specialty vendors
- Booth design
- Custom graphics
- Display cases
- Interactive booth technology
Keep in mind that many firms may offer several of these options as part of separate packages or customer tracks. Many firms, especially those managing the top-level strategy and design, will end up outsourcing a fair share of the actual design and build work, although they are responsible for the ultimate results.
You can learn more about each type of service by looking at example company websites and emailing reps with specific questions. You can also ask for advice from others who have exhibited in the past and what they did to procure a great final product while minimizing costs.
Step 2: Establish Your Goals and Criteria
With several examples of possible trade show booth design and construction possibilities, you can begin to set goals for your exhibition. These goals can encompass both overarching strategic and marketing goals, such as “generate positive word of mouth towards our new campaign,” but they should also include concrete details about the booth.
General details you should have in mind include:
- Type and overall attendance of planned trade show(s)
- Expected size of your booth space and your booth dimensions
- Specific needs of the booth, such as:
- A greeting counter
- A place to sit
- Products to be on display
- Any planned interactive or special display elements
- A/V requirements
- How portable it will be
- Anything special or highly technical, like a VR demo or high-end materials
In the process, you should set expectations for your budget, the level of service you receive, turnaround time, level of available customization and other criteria for potential booth building companies. Your criteria can also include quality of prior exhibits, the company’s experience in your industry, and specialty services available that you might need.
Step 3: Select a Few Companies and Submit Request for Proposal
Using your criteria and your general goals as a rubric, narrow down your trade show booth design company possibilities to three to four candidates. You can schedule a phone interview with these candidates to ask them more information about their company, their past work and whether they can meet your goals. You can also request references to see how past clients felt about their work.
Companies that pass muster after this stage can then submit a formal proposal. Note that this proposal will not necessarily be the final design of your booth, but it represents what the company feels they can do to best satisfy your goals.
After you choose a company based on their proposal, you can request modifications to their design or a second version so that, together, you can create the amazing trade show exhibit your company deserves.