Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 15 2014

Trade Show Alert: A Look Inside An Exhibitor’s Budget

By David McMillin

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, exhibiting companies spend approximately $25 billion each year on their trade show appearances. So where does all that money go? A new report from CEIR offers an inside look at the thinking behind their spending.

Key Exhibitor Expenses

Not surprisingly, the actual exhibit space is the most expensive category. Booths account for 39 percent of overall budgets. However, exhibiting companies are dedicating plenty of money to getting to the host city and going out, too. Travel and entertainment expenses can add up quickly, and this category makes up 14 percent of overall spend. Other costs that round out the top exhibitor spending categories include show services (11 percent), exhibit design including graphics (11 percent) and shipping/transport (9 percent).

Could More Dollars Make A Difference Here?

While there is no question that the booth real estate is an essential ingredient of trade show success, some of the line items in the report show that exhibitors may want to consider spending more heavily in three key areas.

  • Marketing - With all the money invested in a booth, surely exhibitors are spending time and money to reach attendees before the show to make sure they plan to stop by on-site, right? Unfortunately, that answer doesn’t seem so clear. Pre-show promotions only accounted for a measly two percent of exhibitor spending.
  • Lead Management & Measurement - Every company seems excited about the possibilities of big data analysis and enhanced metrics, but it looks like exhibitors may be able to afford to spend more on measuring their success. The CEIR report shows that these companies are only spending two percent on tracking sales leads.
  • Exhibit Staff Training - What matters just as much, if not more, than the actual booth? The sales reps inside it. Unfortunately, exhibitors are only spending one percent of their budgets on preparing their people for greeting booth visitors, managing traffic and striking up strong conversations on the show floor.

SEE ALSO: What Does The Unpredictable Economy Mean For Trade Shows?

Setting Your Show Up For Success in 2015 And Beyond

Trade show organizers aren’t involved in internal decision-making processes for their exhibitors, but they can offer suggestions on effective promotional strategies and best practices for engaging with prospective buyers in the booths. As you prepare for a new year of helping exhibitors maximize their investment in your show, make sure they aren’t coming with the “If we build a booth, attendees will come” mentality. If you give them the tools to succeed, they’ll keep coming back year after year.

Looking to help your exhibitors increase their ROI at your show? Check out “4 Tips Every Trade Show Organizer Should Share With Exhibitors.”

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