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How to Budget for Tradeshows and Events

by Peter Symonds  |  
September 8, 2014
  |  10,697 views

At first glance, tradeshow marketing can seem like an expensive endeavor. From creating your exhibition to managing the logistics of the event, even medium-sized tradeshows can mean thousands in expenses.

Like any form of marketing, however, tradeshow expenses shouldn't be thought of as costs, but as an investment: With the right exhibit and the right team, the ROI of a tradeshow can beat the ROI any other form of marketing.

In this brief guide, we'll look at the costs associated with exhibiting at a tradeshow, from basic expenses such as banner stands and exhibition stands to the cost of travel, on-the-day expenses, and entertainment of prospective clients and customers.

Essential Costs of Tradeshow Marketing and Exhibiting

Many tradeshow expenses are unavoidable. Whether you're exhibiting at a small industry event or a massive convention, you'll need to pay for the floor space your exhibit uses, the exhibit itself, and your marketing materials.
 
The cost of renting floor space and creating your exhibit will take up approximately 40% of your budget, according to the Tradeshow Institute. That figure makes the cost of your exhibit a good benchmark for establishing your tradeshow budget.


On average, 28% of the total budget is spent on renting floor space, and 12% is spent on designing an exhibit. The cost of floor space varies based on the event and the space's location within the event.

Floor space costs $22.32 (£13.28) per square foot, on average, although that number will vary based on the event. You can often rent floor space at a discount by paying months in advance. Call the event organizer to ask about an 'early bird' discount.

A small tradeshow exhibit takes up approximately 100 square feet—normally the minimum booth size offered by organizers. Therefore, the cost of a 10 x 10 tradeshow exhibit is approximately $2,232 or £1,328 (100 square feet x £13.28 per square foot).


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Peter Symonds is a tradeshow marketing expert from Display Wizard, which supplies exhibition stands, roller banners, and other promotional materials for use at tradeshows and events.

LinkedIn: Peter Symonds

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