From the ground, the aisles of a busy trade show floor often seem hectic and disorganized. However, viewed from above, you’ll notice there’s order to the crowd’s movement, and you may even spot some patterns. Here are some things you should notice when searching for the best trade show booth location.
For example, when you look near the front, you notice that most people turn right the first chance they get. In countries where people drive on the right side of the road, pedestrians are more likely to turn right at the first opportunity. It’s an instinct that becomes the natural flow of foot traffic. The opposite is true for countries that drive on the left side of the road.
So, in the U.S., exhibits on the right side of the show floor will likely see more attendees and have the first opportunity to speak to these visitors.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should simply choose any spot to the right. When you look around the front of the exhibit hall, you notice that fewer attendees visit the corners. These are “dead zones” on the show floor. Attendees tend to head from the front doors to the back of the exhibit, avoiding the front corners.
To determine where these possible “dead zones” lie, take the show floor layout and draw a triangle with the tip at the front door to the back corners of the show floor. The areas outside of this triangle are most likely to be the “dead zones.” You can build on this concept by drawing triangles out from other heavily trafficked areas, like restrooms and concessions. The theory is the area where the triangles overlap is likely to see the most people.
Looking around, you also notice a few aisles are larger than the rest. Fire regulations require some pathways to be wider in case of an emergency evacuation. Forklifts and other machinery also use these lanes during install and dismantle. Since wider aisles appeal to pedestrians looking for a bit of breathing room on a crowded show floor, these spaces tend to see a lot of foot traffic.
Every area on the show floor has some strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a look at pluses and minuses that can help you determine the best trade show booth location.
Near the Front
The entrance to the show is guaranteed to have a consistent flow of traffic. Every visitor passes the area at least twice (assuming there’s only one entrance and exit). Your brand gets excellent visibility and makes a big impression since one of the first things all passersby see is your signage and booth graphics.
Not only that, but you get to meet and greet the attendees when they are bright-eyed and ready to visit the vendors. Just the sheer number of people who pass by your trade show booth should provide your team with plenty of lead-gathering opportunities.
The entrance to a trade fair, especially if it is the only one, can get extremely crowded, chaotic, and noisy. It may be challenging to hold conversations. Plus, the wait in line is frequently grating, and attendees may be ready to get away from that crowd as fast as possible.
Foot traffic is great, but it becomes less so when people are angrily shoving past each other to get through the congestion. When you’re shouting at prospects just to hear, it’s challenging to have a meaningful conversation, which can dramatically impact your bottom line.
In the Middle
Eventually, most attendees make their way to the center of the show floor. All this natural traffic increases the odds of prospects wandering by. Those who zoomed past the front are now ready to engage with exhibitors. Also, the wider aisles often run through the middle of the show floor.
The middle’s biggest downside is that attendees may only pass by once (unlike near the entrance where a return visit is guaranteed). Also, you’re more likely to be near a view-blocking obstacle, like a support column, in the middle area.
Back and Perimeter
Remember, in the U.S., the right side along the perimeter tends to be a heavy traffic area. Also, you’ll usually find amenities like food vendors, coffee shops, attendee lounges, breakout spaces, and restrooms along the perimeter. A space near these destinations ensures that plenty of foot traffic will pass by your booth.
Remember those dead zones? Yup, they’re along the perimeter. As for the back of the show floor, there’s simply too much real estate between the front doors. There’s a high probability that something shiny will sidetrack attendees before they reach the back.
Another drawback is also a plus: the food vendors, coffee shops, attendee lounges, breakout spaces, and restrooms. While a space along their path is a plus, being too near them is a big minus. Once people reach those amenities, they become the sole focus. Also, as lines form in these areas, they may make it difficult for people to see and visit your display.
Places to Avoid
You should be able to spot obstacles, like those gargantuan trade show display-blocking support columns, On the show floor layout. Also, keep an eye open for spaces located near fire safety equipment. These may have restrictions on booth layouts. Look for these labels: “FA” for fire apparatus, “FHC” for fire hose cabinets, and “FAS” for fire alarm strobes.
You may also encounter issues if you set up shop in front of a hall’s freight doors. Since these doors are utilized for late setup, you may be delayed in setting up while these doors are in use (which can lead to overage costs). Then, once the show is over, you may need to break down immediately to get your exhibit out of the way.
While there may be no perfect location on the show floor, there are locations that are perfect for you. Ultimately, if a crowd finds your display, you have a great location.
Need more help finding the best trade show booth location? Contact us below to talk with an expert.
The Trade Group is a full-service trade show and event marketing company. We will work with you to create an exhibit or an event that brings in leads and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us here or give us a call at 972-734-8585.