Trade Show Exhibit Pricing: Tips for Building an Event Budget

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Are you planning to exhibit at a trade show this year? If so, one of the first steps you’ll want to take is building out an event budget. Trade shows often come with hidden costs that you might not have considered. In this blog, we’ll offer you tips on how to build your trade show event budget so there are no surprises. 

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Define Your Event Goals 

Before building your event budget, be sure to decide on your goals for having an exhibit in the first place. These goals can range from wanting to generate leads to launching a new product. Once you have your specific goals in mind, you’ll be able to start setting your budget and allocating money toward things that fulfill those goals. 

Divide Your Event Budget Into Categories 

There are a lot of moving parts that go into attending a trade show. To help break down your larger budget into more manageable pieces, divide it into subcategories. Important subcategories for your trade show budget include: 

1. Cost of Attendance

Renting space on the floor is expensive, and you’ll want to reserve 15% of your budget for this alone. 

2. Exhibit Design, Graphics Design, Production, and AV Rental

Creating your exhibit is likely your most expensive category. You’ll need about 35% of your budget to design and build your exhibit. This includes exhibit design, graphic design, digital interactive design and programming, exhibit production, and AV rental. Remember when it comes to contemporary trade shows, attendees are looking for exhibits to be more and more innovative and interactive. When you partner with Hamilton, we’ll create incredible and interesting exhibits like the ones featured here

3. Show Services Costs

Simply renting the booth space won’t be enough. There is a myriad of on-site costs that you’ll need to cover the show contractor services and labor required to get your exhibit up and running. These include everything from install and dismantle labor, material handling, rigging, electrical, internet, and booth cleaning. Plan to spend roughly another 25% on these costs. Hamilton’s team of account leaders, project managers, and field supervisors understand the nuances of show contractors, convention cities, and event venues. We can facilitate the coordination and management of all show services and logistics to ensure a seamless on-site execution. 

4. Shipping

Getting your materials safely to the trade show destination can be an expensive feat. Plan to allocate about 15% of your budget to freight and shipping costs. Keep in mind that freight costs fluctuate depending on fuel costs and supply chain factors, so leave a little room for increases. 

5. Promotions and Marketing

If you’re going to spend time and money attending a trade show, you want to be sure you’re also marketing the event to attract as many people to your booth as possible. Plan to spend 5% of your budget on booth promotions, sponsorships, and digital and print marketing. Good ideas for promotions include hosting a giveaway on social media where you give away tickets or swag in exchange for people resharing your post. 

6. Contingency Allowance for Miscellaneous Costs

The remaining 5% of your budget should be considered your “emergency fund.” You will very likely leverage this contingency allowance to pay for miscellaneous items not covered on this list. Throughout the event planning process, you’ll be glad you allocated money to this fund to cover unforeseen costs along the way. When it comes to the show floor, you want to be prepared to expect the unexpected. 

Save Invoices and Reflect On Your Event Budget

No matter how airtight you think your budget was, there will always be things you wished you had done differently once the trade show is over. After your exhibit is packed up, be sure to record how much money you actually spent total and for each category. Compare this to what you allocated for your budget and look for ways to save money and improve spending habits at future events. 

Hamilton Can Help Elevate Your Trade Show Exhibit

Planning for a trade show can be a daunting experience. Our team of experts at Hamilton help make it easier. From event marketing to exhibit design to production, our team helps simplify the process of attending a trade show so you can stay focused on running your business.

Let us take the challenge of planning your next exhibit off your hands, contact us today to talk more about how we can help.