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Budgeting for a Trade Fair or Exhibition

Developing an accurate budget for each trade fair or exhibition you attend is fundamental to establishing your ROI goals and measurements.  Although the size and scope of each trade fair or exhibition your company attends may vary, there are certain expense items that remain constant, including:

Space – your piece of trade fair real estate comes at a cost.  That cost will likely vary by exhibition type and scope.  Some fairs rent their space for a flat fee, while others calculate by the square foot.

Exhibition Stand, Graphics and Accessories – Many companies invest in a modular exhibition stand that allows them to use different pieces for different exhibitions, depending on the space they occupy.  Modular exhibition stands can be updated easily with graphics that change according to the venue or audience.  You should also calculate expenses for brochure racks, furniture, lighting and other necessary accessories.

Freight and Drayage – The cost of shipping your exhibition stand from one venue to the next, or back to the warehouse, can be done via air or ground.  Large exhibition stand vendors like Discount Displays are often able to provide the best shipping rates because of the volume of business they provide to the shipping companies.  Drayage is the charge that the on-site venue assesses for moving your equipment from the loading dock to the show floor.

Utilities – Each venue will assess charges for providing power to your exhibition stand.

Labour – Some venues required that you use their personnel to set up your exhibition stand; others will allow you to furnish your own labour.  Whichever it is, be sure to include it in your exhibition fair budget.

Staff – Your trade fair budget should include the expense of staffing your exhibition stand during the run of each show.

Travel and Entertainment – Calculate these costs carefully and advise your staff of what you have budgeted unless you like being surprised.

Promotions – Budget for any giveaways or trade fair promotions and assign the cost to each show so you can track the ROI by venue.