How much should your first trade fair cost you?

Planning for your first trade show?

“What are the costs related to first-time exhibiting at a trade show?” is one of the most common inquiries we get from trade show hopefuls.

That is a simple question with a simple response. At the same time, it might differ from one person to the next and from one company to the next.

There are six significant expenses connected with attending a trade show:

Booth space – The cost of the booth.

Stand – The price of the exhibition stand

Logistics -services including materials handling, shipping, customs, installation  

Marketing costs  Freebies and giveaways are examples of trade show collateral.

Staff costs -Wages, training, attire, travel, accommodations, etc. 

Show services – Utilities, carpet rental, WiFi, etc.

All of them are simple to identify and budget for, but how do you go about doing so? When it comes to exhibition costs, what type of budget do you have in mind?

1. Booth Space

The location of the booth is self-explanatory. A larger booth means a higher price. A smaller booth means a reduced price. The cost of your booth space is heavily influenced by its location. Booths at the front, for example, are more expensive than those in the back.

Research conducted by the CEIR indicates that booth space accounts for 36% of trade show costs.

2. Exhibition Stand

This is the focal point of your trade fair, and you want it to reflect your brand while also attracting people.

The design, colors, signage, carpeting, and other elements of a successful display stand are all critical. Another thing to think about is whether you’ll be renting or buying one.

It would help to choose between a personalized exhibition stand, a simple pop-up display, and a modular exhibition stand. The price of your exhibition stand may vary depending on the sort of show you select.


  • Design and concept
  • Construction
  • Graphic prints
  • Refurbishments and repairs
  • Installation and dismantling costs
  • Furniture rentals
  • Food and entertainment
  • Pop up displays and modular exhibition stands
  • Hardware
  • Graphic prints
  • Other add-ons
  • Furniture rentals
  • Food and entertainment

3. Logistics

The type of stand you select will have a significant impact on your logistics costs.

Choose a pop-up display or a modular exhibition stand. Logistic, I&D and storage costs may be reduced by thousands of dollars. The following are the reasons:

These stands are lightweight and fold up into small carry bags that you can bring anywhere with you. A logistics business is no longer required. Your team may set it up themselves, saving you money on I&D. You won’t have to pay a storage facility to store the stand for you because they don’t weigh a thousand kg and fold up into little carry bags.

In general, you’ll need to budget for the following items when ordering custom stands:

  • Shipping
  • Storage
  • Customs costs
  • Insurance

4. Marketing

Any trade show campaign relies heavily on marketing. Will you rely on “hope marketing,” or will you be more strategic and develop awareness for your booth before scheduling appointments with new and existing clients?

Brochures are essential for informing your prospects about your products and services. Since your prospects will be collecting brochures from several companies, the quality of your brochures is also critical. When your competitors utilize 300gsm laminated brochures, you don’t want yours to seem like they were printed on A4 paper from your HP home printer.

Are you interested in sponsoring a presentation at the trade show? Also, have you considered giving away free products at your upcoming event? Spending money on freebies and promotional materials can boost your return on investment, but only if you think which giveaways and sponsorships would appeal to your target demographic.

Later in this tutorial, you’ll learn more about how to arrange an efficient free offer. In the meantime, remember that while freebies are free to participants, they always come at a cost to your company.

Key items to budget for:

  • Trade show magazine ads
  • Admission tickets for clients
  • Brochures
  • Trade show gifts
  • Sponsorships
  • Digital marketing
  • Advertisement designs

5. Staff Costs

The employees you allocate will be one of the most significant sales and marketing assets during the trade fair. During the show, they will be the face of your firm and brand.

“Your booth could be the most prominent, brightest attraction within a conference center, but if it’s not appropriately staffed, your investment could be utterly lost.

How many employees will you require for your booth? One staff member for every 4.5 square meters is a good rule of thumb, so if you have a 33% booth with two people, a 63% booth with four people.

Budget for the following items:

  • Wages
  • Training
  • Attire
  • Transport
  • Accommodations
  • Food and entertainment

6. Show Services

Finally, there are the show services. This is an element that many exhibitors overlook, and it may easily break their budget because several tiny changes add up.

Budget for the following items:

  • WiFi
  • Electrical and utilities
  • Carpet rental
  • AV services
  • Cleaning
  • Photography
  • Floral
  • Security

Most Considerable Hidden Cost: Opportunity Cost

The opportunity cost of presenting at a trade show is the most considerable hidden cost that many people overlook. When you send employees out from the office to attend a trade event, you must account for the lost productivity that their absence causes.

Most trade exhibits are profitable, so this isn’t a problem. However, it is still necessary to account for the revenue lost due to removing several employees from the office.

Make a plan for when your employees are out of the office attending trade exhibits to reduce your opportunity costs. While your office is unlikely to run at 100% efficiency, you can cut costs by assigning tasks to other employees.

Hire expert agency and save time and money by boosting Your Return on Investment (ROI)

“However, I don’t have the funds to hire an agency.”

You’re not alone if this is running through your mind right now.

Hiring an agency to assist in planning a trade show may appear to be a costly proposition, but consider the benefits for a moment. Yes, it’s an expensive investment, but simplified preparation by an experienced agency will pay for itself in the long term by bringing in more business and leads. Suppose you have everything in place, including a robust marketing campaign before the trade show and a streamlined technique to follow up with leads afterward. In that case, you’ll almost certainly bring in more business than if you utilize the trial and error method that many firms do when they don’t hire the pros. An expert agency is undoubtedly always less expensive than losing clients.