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Top 5 Most Overlooked (But Crucial) Booth Elements

Your booth design is finished. The graphics look amazing. Products are displayed proudly. The traffic should flow smoothly through the layout. You’re all set, right? Maybe not. Take a look at these Top 5 Most Overlooked (But Crucial) Booth Elements for some trade show booth design ideas to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

Floor Padding & Seating

Your trade show booth can be designed as beautifully as possible, but if your employees are in agony from standing on their feet all day, no design in the world will be able to overcome the air of exhaustion in your booth. To ensure you have a successful trade show, make sure you stop and think about how to make your staff as comfortable as possible.

Floor padding is one of the top trade show booth design ideas and is the perfect way to save the feet and knees of your booth staff. This padding will be placed underneath the esthetic flooring of your choice (carpet, faux wood, etc.) and will provide some give to the otherwise hard surface. Whether you choose an ultra-plush padding that will only be placed behind a product counter specifically for your employees or you want mid-level padding under your entire booth, both everyone will appreciate this added comfort.

You don’t want your employees to be sitting around in your booth all day, but you definitely want them to have access to a place to rest their feet when traffic slows down. There are a couple options: you can either place a few benches behind a product counter so that the seating is hidden from the view of attendees, or you can intentionally create a comfortable lounge space that invites attendees and staff to take a load off. The stools are a great way to keep seating low profile, while the lounge makes your booth feel like a welcoming space for attendees to spend time. Either solution can make a positive impact on your booth, just take the time to consider what you want the seating to accomplish.


TIP: From our experience, trade show attendees actually spend more time in booths that have comfortable flooring. After a long day of walking around the exhibit halls, stepping onto a well-padded booth feels like walking on a cloud and they won’t want to leave — which means they’ll spend even more time perusing your products. Win!


Storage Space

Nothing ruins a beautiful trade show booth design faster than having a bunch of boxes stacked along the walls or staff backpacks tossed into a corner. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort making sure your booth is exactly what you wanted, so don’t let a lack of storage space ruin the day.

Professional trade show booth design companies, such as mackenzie EXHIBIT, can be extremely inventive with ways to incorporate storage into your booth without it affecting the overall design. Product counters, structural pillars, and even benches can be used as low profile ways to conceal items that need to be kept close at hand without being unsightly. These handy hideaways are perfect for boxes of catalogs, swag items, employee bags, and more. Think about how to incorporate this element into your trade show booth design ideas and it’ll make your experience as an exhibitor much more enjoyable.

Refreshment Access

When the booth is slammed during especially high-traffic times, your booth staff can hardly break away to run to the bathroom let alone stand in line to grab a snack or a drink. Keep your booth staff from becoming hangry during these stressful times by providing them with access to refreshments in the booth. Mini fridges and snack cabinets can easily be stashed into a column and make the perfect place to stock bottled water, energy drinks, granola bars, and anything else your team needs in order to stay on their A-game.


TIP: Stock up your mini fridge at the end of the day so that when your team arrives for the show the next morning, the drinks are already chilled and ready to go. If a happy wife means a happy life, then happy staff means a successful trade show. Trust us.


Product Security

When your booth is slammed with traffic, there’s a high risk of your products “walking away”. Trade shows are a very dangerous place when it comes to sticky fingers taking your products with them; avoid this hazard by making sure your gear is physically secured to your booth.

Incorporating security into your trade show booth design ideas can present a unique hurdle — on the one hand, you want to make sure your products stay safe, while on the other hand, you need attendees to have access to your products to become better acquainted with them.

mackenzie EXHIBIT can help you come up with an inventive way to accomplish both of these necessities. Whether we’re crafting an easy-access product cabinet that remains closed unless opened by one of your booth staff or we’re creating a low profile tether system so that your products can’t be taken more than 5 feet from the wall, we’ll work with you to devise a solution that suits your needs without negatively affecting the overall booth design.

Power Sources

If you’re making sales directly in your booth or your employees are having to set up meetings while at the trade show, a dead phone or computer can really put a damper on your productivity. Avoid this potential pitfall by incorporating power sources in unobtrusive locations throughout your booth — consider adding them in the storage areas we mentioned before so that all of the potential clutter can be contained to one area.


TIP: As with products, personal effects can also have a habit of “walking away” during trade shows — especially electronics. Don’t put your employees’ electronics at risk by placing power sources in easily-accessible areas. Instead, try to place them inside lockable cabinets or otherwise securable spaces.


Take these Top 5 Most Overlooked (But Crucial) Booth Elements into account when making your list of trade show booth design ideas, and you’ll be set up for a successful event.


Want more advice on how to have a successful trade show? Check out our four-part series on Creating a Trade Show Booth.

Part 1: Ideation

Part 2: The Mockup

Part 3: The Walkthrough

Part 4: Show Time


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.

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Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 3: Walkthrough

Congratulations! You’ve arrived at one of the most exciting stages of the trade show booth design process: the walkthrough. Now is when you’ll see your booth come to life, be able to walk through it (as the name would suggest), and imagine how attendees will experience the final result.

While the ship has likely sailed on making large structural changes at this point (hopefully Part 1 and Part 2 helped you sort out the big ticket items), most of the time you can still make small adjustments such as where certain products are displayed, lighting temperatures, and details like that. Let’s take a walk through the walkthrough and learn a bit more about this particular stage.

What to Expect

The walkthrough is where you really start to get an understanding of what your attendees will experience when they arrive at your booth space. This is also the time when you’ll be able to see just how transparent you’ve been with your trade show booth design company to enable them to create your dream booth. If there’s been cloudy communication, there might still be some things that need to be decided on at this point — but if you’ve been straightforward and detailed with your expectations, prepare yourself for an “oh wow” moment.

When you arrive at the booth design company’s offices, they will have cleared out a patch of warehouse space and literally built your booth. It’s a great feeling to round a corner and BAM, there it is! Enjoy this opportunity to see your vision brought to life for the first time. If some of the wall wrapping isn’t yet on or the lighting isn’t finished, don’t fret — there’s still plenty of time to finalize the details. Think of this as your chance to make sure the big picture is what you want.

Make the Most of It

This is your last chance to make any esthetic tweaks or rearrange an item or two, so make the most of it! Really take your time during the walkthrough — if you’re working with a seasoned trade show booth design company like mackenzie EXHIBIT, they know that this is a crucial stage and will let you take all the time you need.

This is a great time to bring some people along from your own company to act as guinea pigs. Choose people who haven’t been a part of the design process at all so that they have a completely fresh view and then listen to their feedback — there’s a good chance they’ll look at things in a new light and give you some invaluable thoughts to consider.

Once the walkthrough is complete, the booth company will make any final changes and then box everything up to be shipped to the trade show.

Tweaking the Trade Show Booth

Don’t give your trade show booth design company a heart attack by walking in and telling them that you want to move walls or change the entire flow of the booth — those are things that should have been addressed in Part 1 and Part 2.

What you CAN change at this point are esthetic details. If you want a picture moved from one wall to another or want to rearrange the shelves within a storage column, that can be done. A great detail to pay attention to at this point is the lighting: is it the temperature what you want? Is it pointing at what you want to showcase? Take some time to imagine the exhibit hall and space you’re in and think about the surrounding light that your booth is already bathed in and how you want your own lighting to interact.

Also stop to consider the add-ons that will need to go with your booth. Is there room behind the counter for a few stools for your employees to use? Or that corner over there — would a standing table fit well and give some room for sales people to review your catalog with potential clients? Really envision how your trade show staff will utilize this space and think about what will make their lives easier and your clients’ experience more memorable.

Say This not That

As the previous parts in this series have said, be as detailed as possible when giving feedback to your trade show booth design company. Professionals like mackenzie EXHIBIT might have been doing this for a while, but that doesn’t make them mind readers — be honest and open with your first, second, and third impressions as you walk through your booth.

Finally, let’s take one last glance back at that list of three to five crucial things you wanted this booth to accomplish. Did all of those boxes get checked? Hopefully so! If not, speak up and your booth company can tell you what is still within the realm of possibilities.

What’s Next?

We hope you’ve enjoyed the walkthrough process! It is truly one of the most exciting stages of the entire trade show booth design experience.

What comes next is even more exciting: seeing your booth in the wild. Your trade show booth design company will now make any final adjustments that you requested during the walkthrough and will then break everything down, pack it safely into crates, and deliver it to the exhibit hall. If you choose a full-service company like mackenzie EXHIBIT, you’ll also be able to have them set up your booth in the exhibit hall so that the stress on your employees is minimal and you can walk in the day before the show to a beautiful, fully-assembled trade show booth.


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

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Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 2: Mockup

It’s been a few weeks since your first meeting with the exhibit design company, and you’ve been anxiously waiting to hear that they’re ready for you to review their first mockup of your trade show booth. What should you expect? If you go into the mockup review with the right frame of mind, the right people present, and the right set of goals, you’ll have a productive and successful meeting that will get you a giant step closer to the booth you have in mind.

My Place or Yours?

First, choose whether you want to have the meeting at your own offices or at the exhibit design company’s location. If you’re working with a remote company, teleconference is likely your only option. If the company is local to you, however, there are pros to meeting at either location. If you have a large number of people involved in the trade show process for your company, then having the mockup review at your own offices is likely more efficient. If your event team is smaller and more mobile, then a meeting at the exhibit design company’s offices is a great way to see how their operations are run and get a feel for their workload and capabilities.


TIP: You’ll also need to decide who should be involved in the meeting. Too many people, and it’ll be a circus; too few, and you might miss out on valuable insights. It’s best to include at least one person from the management team for decisions, one person from the team that will be at the trade show itself for practical input, and one person from the design team if you have an in-house graphics department.


When you sit down for the mockup review, don’t expect the first draft to be a Michelangelo-worthy masterpiece. This is meant to act as a general guide to make sure that you and the booth design company are both on the same page — you’re likely to see a lot of black and white line drawings or basic shape renderings to show placement of different booth elements and further discuss the esthetics. You’ll be able to see the bones of your trade show booth, including wall, counter, storage, product display, and table locations. If you have any special features such as a projection wall or interactive display, this will be the time to nail down where you’d like that to be.

Help Them Help You

If you see something that you’d like changed, speak up! Now is the time to convey any alterations you’d like done to the booth design, because from this point forward the booth design company is likely to start placing orders and begin initial building operations for your trade show booth.

When giving input, refer back to the three-to-five-point list we recommended creating in Part 1: Ideation. This list will keep you focused on why you’re attending the trade show in the first place and what you hope to get out of it, which will be the ultimate input needed for your trade show booth design. It’s important to refer back to this list of priorities at each stage of the trade show booth design and execution process to make sure you’re accomplishing everything you’d like to achieve through this booth.

Trade Show Booth Layout

Think through the flow of your booth and how you want attendees to move through the space. Does the design showcase the products you want highlighted? Do you have enough storage for the catalogs, t-shirts, hats, stickers, and any other giveaways you’ll be bringing? What about refrigerators or lighting or even a place for your employees to charge their electronics — do you have enough outlets? These are just a few of the things you’ll want to double check while reviewing the trade show booth mockup.

Another thing to consider is security; does your booth contain sensitive or expensive items that need to be locked up at night? Or should your products be secured to the booth in such a way that attendees can’t potentially take them away as a souvenir? Trade shows are a prime time for products to “walk away” while your employees are distracted — make sure you’re not taking unnecessary risks with the way your products are displayed.

What Comes Next?

Based on how much feedback you gave and how much needs to be changed, you’ll likely have at least one or two more mockup reviews prior to actual construction beginning on your booth. This back-and-forth with the exhibit design company is a crucial time when you can make sure that your ideas and desires are understood so that the end result is the trade show booth you’ve been imagining.

After the mockup reviews comes one of the most exciting parts of the whole process: the walkthrough. We’ll cover that stage in our next blog entry — stay tuned!


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give mackenzie EXHIBIT a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

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Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 1: Ideation

Exhibiting at a trade show is a big decision — the time, effort, and monetary commitment are all things that you’ve taken into consideration and you’ve decided that this a worthwhile investment in your company’s future. Now that you have the green light to exhibit at the show . . . what’s next?  It’s time to design and create your dream trade show booth that will highlight all of the aspects of your company that set you apart from the competition. A well-designed and executed booth is an amazing opportunity to make your mark and establish yourselves as major players in your industry.

In this four-part Creating a Trade Show Booth series, we’ll review the different stages of booth design, creation, and installation to guide you along the process.

Set Your Budget

The first thing you’ll need to outline is your budget. Having a clearly-defined budget before your first meeting with the exhibit design company will allow you to make smart decisions when it comes to certain elements you want included in the booth. A firm budget will also give your exhibit design company clear parameters to work within so that you both can make the most efficient use of your time. After all, the deadline to ship the booth to the show will be here before you know it!


TIP: When establishing your budget, there are a couple things to consider. First, will this booth be multi-purpose? If your booth pulls double-duty as both a place to display products and to hold meetings, then you won’t need that extra conference room you’ve reserved and can put that extra money toward your booth design. Second, will this booth be single- or multi-use? If you plan to reuse this booth over multiple shows, it might be best to give more wiggle room in your budget for a booth that is able to evolve with your changing needs for each show.


Consider the Space

Now that you know what your trade show booth budget is, let’s start thinking about the physical space you’ll be occupying at the show. If you have a 10’x10’ space, simplicity is key; you’ll likely have a lot that you want to cram into a small amount of square footage, but resist the urge to go overboard. A smaller booth that is stuffed to the gills with product samples or distractions will hinder your company’s ability to clearly define itself to the passers-by.

If you have a larger amount of room to work with, for example a 30’x30’ or bigger, then you can start to get a bit more creative. Does your exhibit hall allow for two-story booths? If so, you might be able to place a meeting space on top of your booth to make the most of your footprint. A larger booth space also allows for on-site storage of catalogs, employee personal belongings such as bags, giveaway items, etc.

Before your first meeting with the exhibit booth design company, give some thought to what you want to include in your booth space from a practicality standpoint. Do you want storage? What about lockable displays? Is meeting space crucial, or is your booth purely to display products? Having a clearly-defined wish list before your meeting will help your exhibit booth design company to understand exactly how to meet your needs.

Trade Show Booth Flow

If you have an in-line 10’x10’ or 10’x20’ trade show booth space, flow isn’t something that you’ll need to consider as much because attendees likely won’t be physically entering your booth. If your booth has depth to it as with a 20’x20’ or larger, you’ll need to think about the path people should take when entering your booth. Do you want to clearly define an entry and exit point so that they travel through the booth on a path, or would you like for them to feel comfortable milling about and taking their time perusing your products?

A defined path is a good idea when you want attendees to follow either a development process or timeline — for example, if you want to show them the different iterations a product went through to arrive at the final result. You can also use this flow method if you want attendees to start out at your more entry-level products and move through up to your higher price point items. Booths with entry and exit points or a defined path require a lot of thought and careful execution, as they can create pinch-points and traffic jams when the show is at its busiest.

A free-flowing booth has a fairly open construction that allows the attendees to enter and exit the space from numerous sides of the booth and is great for companies who want to create a space with a “come in and stay a while” feel. High-top tables where sales people can walk clients through this years’ catalog or a picture wall for attendees to pose with products for Instagram are elements that you can consider incorporating into a free-flowing design.

Remember the Why

Finally, let’s think about the biggest reasons that made you want to exhibit at the trade show in the first place. Is this your company’s big entrance into the market? Have you been in the industry for quite some time, but want to really make a splash now? Do you have a new product that you want to unveil?

Make a list of your top three to five reasons why you want to attend and what your goals are for your trade show booth, and then keep referring back to them as you move through the booth design process to ensure you’re keeping your eye on the prize and focusing on the “why”.

Keep an Open Mind

As you meet with your exhibit design company, keep in mind that they’ve likely been doing this for decades and have learned the tricks of the trade along the way. When you present your initial list of wants for the booth, they might offer a different viewpoint or have some suggestions. Remember that they are offering this input to make your trade show attendance as successful as possible. By combining your dreams with the exhibit design company’s experience, together you can create your ideal trade show booth design.


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.