It’s easy to assume that buying the biggest exhibit space at a tradeshow will make the biggest visual impact.

While the size of your exhibit space is an important component of its impact, it should not be the only factor in choosing a space. Many organizations will see more advantageous results by shifting resources from acquiring a large space to maximizing a smaller space. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend the following considerations:

1. Determine your goals.

Before you choose an exhibit space, think about why you’re doing the tradeshow in the first place. You may want to ask questions such as:

  • How does this show fit into the big picture of our brand development and revenue generation?
  • How important is the market?
  • What’s our position in the industry relative to our competitors’?
  • What do we need to do in order to achieve our competitive objective?

Asking questions like these can help you frame your goals for the event, and ultimately guide you toward the right exhibit space.

2. Run the numbers.

Once you’ve identified your goals for the tradeshow, determine how much you should invest in order to achieve them—within the limitations of your budget, of course.

Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. For instance, sometimes a company will buy a large exhibit space only to later realize it lacks the resources needed to effectively use it. This often results in a fragmented layout that hinders the exhibit’s cohesiveness and flow, or in a space that feels empty and, quite frankly, underwhelming.

Alternatively, a large exhibit space could end up being more cost-effective than a small space, especially if your tradeshow goals call for a specific type of experience that calls for a great deal of visual content, meeting rooms, and/or equipment. Trying to squeeze too much into a small space could require a multi-level exhibit, which may ultimately be more expensive.

3. Think about location.

Now that you have an idea of what you can spend, consider where you plan to spend it.

For starters, think about where your strategic partners are located. If your exhibit is close by, it will be easy for you to bring them in on conversations and vice-versa. Besides picking up the phone to ask where their exhibit space is located, you can often find out who has purchased which space on the tradeshow website.

As you can see, choosing exhibit space is much like buying ad space; it should never be an isolated event. We advocate for making these considerations in relation to your company’s overall strategic vision and goals, as well as your competitors’ market positions. Doing so can help you choose an exhibit space that will make an impression—and get results.