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How Much Does a Trade Show Display Cost?

Walking through a trade show can be an adventure or a boring grind, and the difference is the visual appeal of each booth. People love to buy, but they hate to be sold. When a booth is enticing, the first impression can win sales and earn the right to negotiate large deals. Experienced trade show merchants have learned a great deal from watching the successes and failures of their peers. There are a number of considerations that must be examined prior to purchasing the components of a trade show booth.

Considerations before Buying a Trade Show Display

Many people who determine that they must own a trade show display have participated in enough trade shows to understand what features are important. Some trade shows will provide a certain amount of space surrounded by the curtains that make up the overall show appearance. Others will place tape on the floor and require each participant to create their booth inside the boundaries from materials they bring. These categories require consideration:

  • Flexibility – A display that has immovable components that require certain hardware will be difficult to use at the shows where the booth skeleton is provided. When the components can be separated, the flexibility is valuable for shows where the space is limited. Various sizes of components will allow an attractive display to be assembled for small spaces.
  • Logistics – Transporting the components of the display will require careful planning, and each part must be packed away to prevent damage in transit. Rolling cases will make the distances inside the exhibit hall much easier to transverse.
  • Price vs. cost – The trade show display cost over time might justify a substantial investment in the initial price. Attractive display booths can win sales and override the initial investment, which can top $10,000. Careful evaluation of the price of trade show display components will assist with the restraint of unnecessary expense.

Trade Show Display Types

Many distinct types of trade show displays are available. The colors, shapes, styles and forms vary widely to meet any budget or need. These are the most popular styles that will meet basic requirements.

  • Panel – This type of display will provide valuable back wall space that supports displaying custom information that is attractive and informative. The booth is designed in sections to be flexible enough for virtually any space.
  • Pop-up – Since the frame of the booth is retractable, pop-up displays are portable and set up in a matter of minutes. Back wall space supports fabrics or graphics for attractive displays. Lights and shelves can be added for greater visual appeal.
  • Table-top – Well-arranged table space creates a safe setting for conversation between visitors and those in the booth. Materials on the table can be discussed and viewed easily. Printed materials can be offered to passersby for later review.
  • Literature racks – These collapsible racks enhance the space used to display brochures and pamphlets that are provided to booth visitors. Keeping materials neat will reduce costs and waste. 
  • Banner stands – When floor space is limited, banner stands can be used to convey a brief message that will serve as a conversation starter. Telescoping, retractable and tension stands are available for use in various settings. 

Typical Trade Show Display Cost Examples

When multiple trade shows are on the annual calendar, trade show display cost can be offset by the sales of products at the shows. Experience in various shows will enable the decision maker to find the best price of trade show display components. Trade show displays fall into almost every price category from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Pop-up displays start at $200 for a six-foot display that includes the fabric drapes. A ten-foot display with graphics will cost approximately $1,000. Very large pop-up displays will cost about $5,000 for a 20-foot display with graphics.
  • Panel trade show displays start in the $500 range for an eight-panel display. A more elaborate panel display with header graphics, wings and panels will cost $1,000. Larger versions that cover approximately 10 by 20 feet of floor space will enter the $2,000 range. More elaborate configurations with multiple middle panels, two wing panels, three vertical extension posts, one triangular table, two curved headers and graphics will cost at least $5,000.
  • Table top trade show display components are very affordable and start at $50 for the basic models. More elaborate versions will run more than $2,000, but there are many choices in every price range.
  • Literature racks can be added to the trade show display for anywhere from $50 to $250 per display depending on the materials and the number of slots in the rack.
  • Banner stands might seem a little expensive for their construction, but their visual appeal and flexibility are essential for the effective display. The least expensive models will cost somewhere in the range of $150 to $1,500. Digital banners will cost $2,500 to $3,500.
  • Accessories that enhance the visual appeal of the trade show display can be added:
    • Standard table - $250-$1,000
    • Shelf - $100-$1,000
    • Display case (acrylic) - $500-$1,000
    • Light assembly - $50-$100 each
    • Podium - $50-$250
    • Fabric table covers - $50-$500

Final Evaluation

Trade show displays can be purchased to meet almost any need with specific components that are attractive and flexible. Many options are available and the choices can be overwhelming, but eliminating what is not useful or attractive can start the decision process in a less threatening way. One of the best ways to decide which trade show display would work best is to browse the images available on the Internet. After the appropriate look is found, pursuit of the proper supplier can be the second step instead of relying on the opinions of one salesperson. Knowledge of what is available can be acquired from trade shows, but after a few shows all of the booths will begin to look alike. Unique trade show displays draw attention from participants and make the booth stand out from the pack.