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Tough questions to ask before booking exhibition space

Attending an event can cost anything from a few hundred pounds to six figure sums and it’s rarely a decision to take lightly. Some event organisers will try to rush you into booking exhibition space in a panic and provide the minimum of information. But the best will always be happy to answer your questions.

So here are some of the questions you should ask organisers before committing your hard earned cash.

Don’t book exhibition space before you know the answers to these questions

What’s the likely audience size? Don’t accept promises, objectives, invitations sent or estimates as an alternative to the key number: how many people attended last year’s event. If it’s a ticketed event ask how many of last year’s attendees paid for their ticket rather than received free passes.

Is the audience size increasing? If the event has run for a number of years ask about recent trends of visitor numbers. Are they going up or down? This will not only help you decide whether to attend or not, it could give you leverage for negotiating a lower price.

What kind of people does the event attract? Are they your target audience? If it’s a trade show, are they the right level of seniority?

What are the organisers doing to advertise the event? How does this compare with what they have done for previous years?

How is the event positioned? Is the exhibition space an integral element or a side show? If the event is a conference with an exhibition on the side what will the organisers do to drive traffic to the stands.

Who has exhibited in the past? How many of last year’s exhibitors have booked again? Are the exhibitors the sort of organisations you want to be rubbing shoulders with?

Will your competitors be there? Note, however, choosing to copy everything that all your competitors do is a good route to bankruptcy. Equally, a good event at which none of your competitors appears could be a gold mine of opportunity.

What spaces are available? Do you have a choice or are you allocated a space? Paying a low price for a terrible “last minute” location doesn’t stop it being a terrible location.

Ask yourself if you are comfortable with the terms and conditions. Don’t sign anything until you have seen the T&Cs.

Calculate the potential costs (not forgetting the staffing costs of having someone on the stand) and ask yourself:
(a) can we afford it?
(b) could we spend the money more effectively?
(c) how will we measure the return on investment?
(d) are we ready and able to follow up any leads – ideally within 24 hours.

Once you’ve decided to attend an event it’s important to commit to it. Spend time preparing your presence, commission a stand that will help you stand out (we can help you with exhibition stand design) and make sure your best people can represent you on the day.

Use suppliers who take the success of your presence as seriously as you do. At Bill Bowden Event Logistics we’ll do everything we can to ensure you make a positive impact at your next event. Get in touch with any questions or to find out more.

Image (c) Shutterstock | Chaiyapak Mankannan