Attending a trade show is just like any other form of marketing. You budget for it, you set your objectives, you measure your ROI, and hopefully you sit back and congratulate your team on a job well done. Without any one of these planning steps, however, the trade show can be a drain on resources rather than a benefit. In particular, the budget is very important. Take a look at how to set a budget for a trade show, watching out for the hidden costs that can mount up and cause problems.
Budgeting for a Trade Show
The obvious costs of exhibiting at a trade show include the cost of renting the exhibit space and attending the trade show, the cost of the exhibit itself and the associated marketing collateral including a pop up stand or stands, the cost of banner printers, the cost of giveaways and audio visual, promotions, advertising, and transport for you and your staff to and from the event. This may seem like an exhaustive list but these aspects are by no means the only factors to take into consideration.
1. Designing Your Exhibit
Buying the exhibit is one thing. You also need to consider the costs of designing the exhibit. If you are not a professional designer this may take outside help, in order to create something that makes a big impact. Designing banners can take a lot of time, which will need to be factored into the budget. And you need to consider how to display relevant literature so that it helps to enhance your overall goals and meets your business aims.
2. Accommodation at the Trade Show
Unless the trade show is only for one day and is very close to your place of work you will probably need to spend money on accommodation for the team running the exhibit. This needs to be factored into the budget as it can push up costs considerably. Luckily you do have a good degree of flexibility when it comes to setting a budget for accommodation. If you do not have a large budget, book ahead as far as possible to get the best discounts. Consider whether you will actually be saving money by booking accommodation far away from the event, given that you will have to travel in and out and you need to be close to the event to maximise your networking opportunities. Look at serviced apartments rather than hotel rooms, and hire a car for transport between venues rather than spending a lot on taxis.
3. Travel and Entertainment
You cannot always budget accurately for this expense since it is only at the trade show when you will discover how much you need to spend on entertaining clients and connecting with colleagues. You should keep this budget flexible and factor in a little extra so that no one feels pressured to cut corners when making the most of all the trade show’s opportunities for networking.