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Do You Know Which Trade Shows Are Worth Your Investment?

July 22, 2019

The expenses that come along with exhibiting at a trade show sometimes seem like an endless list. One large expense that adds up quickly is the cost of floor space at an event. Typically, booth space takes up about 35% of a trade show budget, meaning the floor space that you’re renting better be at a worthwhile show! For many industries, there are countless shows that are suitable to exhibit at. However, exhibiting at every show in your industry is not always possible. Many companies are only able to exhibit at a couple shows a year, meaning that the trade shows they choose to invest in are extremely important. After exhibiting at a trade show, whether you’ve been exhibiting there for years or it’s your first experience with the venue, it’s important to analyze the overall experience and outcome.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself and your team following your trade show to find out if each specific show you attend is worth your investment the next year.

Did the trade show you just exhibited at reach the projected number of attendants?

Many trade show websites express the number of attendees from past years, which will affect the amount they charge to exhibit with them. Make sure that this number is accurate and mimics the true amount of quality prospects who show up. Chances are, you’ll be losing money on your exhibit if numbers are much lower than projected. Gauging whether or not the expected attendance was reached should tell you if you should spend time exhibiting at this same show the next year.

A few great ways to track attendance include: mobile barcodes or ‘QR codes,’ have a drawing for a great prize and entering every person who enters your booth, or even RFID technology.


Were the majority of attendees potential qualified buyers?

If a majority of the leads you obtained were ‘high quality,’ then this is a trade show you’ll likely want to revisit the next year. However, if you notice that your leads all ranked very low in quality, try figuring out if those results are coming from poor booth staffing, a lackluster exhibit, or if they stem from the quality of the attendees. A high number of attendances doesn’t always mean higher quality leads. High-quality prospects are a top priority when exhibiting and understanding how to rank them is a necessity if you want to work towards better leads in the future.

So, if from show to show you are noticing spikes or dips in your lead quality, this should tell you which shows are producing the best outcomes for your business and which ones are not.

How much did it cost you to exhibit?

If you paid an extremely high amount that you know you likely won’t get a full return on, take time to research other trade shows in your industry. Chances are, you can find a more inexpensive show that better fits your budget. But still, be sure to keep in mind the projected number of attendees as this plays a large role in your ROI. Sometimes paying a little more for exposure at certain shows will pay dividends. Check out our trade show ROI calculator to justify your expenses!


Did you only attend the show because of proximity?

If you choose to exhibit at certain trade shows simply because they’re close by, you may want to think that decision through again. If you’re in a competitive industry, you’ll want to get your name out to a larger market than what you’re currently reaching at your smaller, local events. According to Exhibitor Online Magazine, “45 percent of audience members at any given trade show attend no other exhibitions in their respective industries.” This means that those with buying power in your industry are likely attending larger shows to see many vendors while lowering the number of trades shows they attend. For you, this means selecting the right shows based on your goals of growing your brand’s exposure.

If you decide to stay in close proximity because you’re worried about shipping costs, get that fear out of your mind! Skyline Exhibits is a global network with hubs all over the country, allowing us to keep your costs down when you decide you want to expand your exhibiting horizons. With asset management, booth rental options and more, Skyline can be your one-stop-shop for peace of mind when exhibiting in those not-so-close cities.

There are plenty of shows out there that may be a better fit for your brand and your niche. Do the research and analyze the shows you attend to make sure that your booth investment is really paying off!

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