Ways Exhibitors Can Save

7 Ways Exhibitors Can Save on Material Handling and Show Services

With costs rising sharply, understanding these trends is critical to developing an exhibit strategy that maximizes impact while staying on budget.

The new 2023 Exhibitor Advocacy Report offers a deep dive into the evolving economics of trade shows.  

With costs rising sharply, understanding these trends is critical to developing an exhibit strategy that maximizes impact while staying on budget. 

Analyzing Exhibition Costs  

Exhibitor Magazine provides the following helpful budget breakdown for exhibiting at trade shows.  

  • 35% Booth Space  
  • 14% Travel/Lodging  
  • 13% Show Services 
  • 11% Exhibit Design/Construction 
  • 10% Shipping  
  • 6% Graphic Design/Production  
  • 6% Exhibit Promotions  
  • 5% Other Expenses

As you can see, Show Services and Material Handling together make up around 23% of an exhibitor’s total budget.  

Exhibitor Advocacy’s report shows material handling costs rose 7% between 2022 and 2023.  

Show services also saw price increases, but not across the board. Installation and dismantling labor rates rose by 3%, but electrical labor rates decreased by 7%.  

Not all cities are created equal when it comes to costs. Exhibiting in top-tier cities like Boston or New York could significantly strain budgets compared to more affordable locations like Orlando or Las Vegas.  

7 Strategic Ways to Reduce Costs 

Given the climbing costs, it’s no wonder three out of four exhibitors feel the pinch to slash event costs. 

Here are a few strategic ways to reduce labor costs.  

Cut Costs in Non-Labor Areas  

Make extra room for labor rates by cutting costs in other areas. Now more than ever, getting the early bird discount on flights, hotels, and booth space matters.  

Regarding booth design and construction, consider purchasing a modular exhibit that can be rearranged to fit varying spaces. Design and build for longevity to save in the long term.  

Change Booth Size Based on Venue 

Consider using a smaller booth space for more expensive cities like Boston or New York and a larger space for inexpensive ones like Orlando or Las Vegas.  

Early Engagement 

Proactively negotiate with service providers and book services well in advance to secure the best rates. 

Use Strategic Design 

Strategic Exhibit design can curb labor costs. A genius design includes easy installation, cutting back the time needed to install and dismantle.  

Furthermore, strategic exhibit design considers the varying show service costs. Since electrical labor rates decreased by 7%, adding more AV elements to your exhibit might make more sense.  

Service Package Optimization 

Customize your service packages to match your specific needs, avoiding unnecessary costs on redundant services. 

Replace Physical Giveaways with Digital Promotions  

Save on shipping promotional items by offering digital giveaways instead. Print a QR code on a banner stand that attendees can scan to receive a giveaway, whether a free report or an Amazon gift card.  

Evaluate Staffing Needs  

Carefully evaluate the number of staff needed on-site during the trade show. While having enough personnel to effectively engage with attendees is crucial, overstaffing can lead to unnecessary travel, lodging, and per diem costs.  

Consider partnering with a talent agency in the city where you are exhibiting.  

Data-Driven Decisions 

Today’s economy requires more strategic planning and more hours scouring for deals and possible workarounds.  

Consider contacting us here if you would like help with your exhibit strategy. 

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