How to Develop a Trade Show Budget
After your decision to exhibit, the next step is a trade show
With the decision made to exhibit and the choice of the event narrowed down, the next step is to establish a trade
You should remember that your participation in a trade show takes investment of both money and staff.
One way, when developing a trade show budget, is to look at the objectives you want to obtain and then work out how
much has to be spent to achieve those objectives. Of course, you can look at the previous year’s trade show costs
and increase it by a certain percentage. It really comes down to the number of key buying visitors you expect to
see during the days of the show and how many conversions you expect to make.
When setting your trade show budget you need to cover the following
Depending on the industry and popularity of the trade show, trade show
costs such as booth space can vary considerably. Of course, extremely large shows command the
most money and package deals are the most economical way to participate in a trade show.
Booth fabrication and other trade show costs:
These include design and construction costs as well as insurance. In addition, there’s shipping, installation and
dismantling costs, which have to be included in any trade show budget. Transportation is a very important aspect of
your participation in a trade show and can amount to a substantial amount of money
Trade show services and Exhibit accessories:
The trade show management should provide you with an official exhibitor’s kit, which contains information, prices
and the necessary forms for ordering ancillary products and services for your exhibit.
For example: electrical service; floor coverings; badges, extra tables and chairs; furniture; photographers;
telephones, booth cleaning etc. You should order in advance and take advantage of any discounted prices. If
required there’s also: plumbing, refrigeration, gas, compressed air and water trade show costs.
As an exhibitor, you are obliged in your trade show budget to allow for protection and your legal liability against
accidental injury or damage. You need to be covered against compensation; claimants' costs and legal expenses due
to injury or damage occurring in connection with your attendance at an event. Cover can also include cover in the
event of cancellation.
You should arrange for adequate insurance coverage for your products and displays in case your displays are broken,
or mysteriously vanish during transportation, while in the custody of your shipping carrier or while at the
Advertising, promotion and special activities:
Obtain a copy of last year’s attendance list. Send a targeted pre-show mailing to prospects telling them about your
company, your products, and the people who can help them at your booth. All advertising costs should be included in
your trade show budget.
Personnel (including travel, hotel and living expenses):
When you are aware of the personnel assigned to the trade show you should arrange all hotel and travel reservations
in advance. Do not leave these trade show costs to the last minute as you may find your staff are without a room as
all “official hotels” are fully booked. You will need to arrange for: Rooms for personnel; food and beverage;
transportation for personnel to and from the trade show city; blazers or any uniforms for booth personnel; guest
by Ken MacKenzie - 2010
Ken MacKenzie is a former Senior Consultant with International Public Relations and Marketing Manager with a U.S.
Trade Center. He is the author of "The Trade Show Edge" and for additional information on trade show staff and pre
trade show training, sales and marketing techniques, please visit: The Trade Show Edge