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The Best Way to Budget When Sending Your Trade Show Staff to An Event

June 24, 2019

A trade show staff is yet another expense that comes along with exhibiting. Once you’ve found a great staff that will get the job done at the show, your next step is finding the most cost-effective ways to get them there and back.

While your staff is one of the most important aspects of your booth, it can also be one of the most expensive assets. Sometimes staffing expenses can run a company about 20% of their event budget. When you’re at a larger show which equals an even bigger trade show team, it could even run you more than 20%. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to cost details when sending staff to a show.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when sending your trade show staff to your next show to help save you money:

Pay attention to group rates

Many hotels and airlines offer group rates, which you should definitely take advantage of to help drive down your team’s travel expenses. Delegating one person on your trade show team to book your travel accommodations, lodging and transportation will help make sure everyone is included in plans and on the same page. No one will end up scheduling a later or earlier flight, resulting in extra trips from the airport, which also equals extra cash spent on a taxi or an Uber. Having one designated person book everything together will ensure that you make the most of group package offers.

Set expense limits

Making it clear that the event your trade show team is attending isn’t a spending free-for-all will help you keep spending down. Without set limits, it’s possible that your team could be spending way more than you’d expect or see fit. Communicate your expense policy on travel, dining, tipping, etc. so that everyone is on the same page. If you don’t yet have an official travel and expense policy set for your next trade show, this would be a great thing to get started on. You’d be surprised at how quickly dining can add up for a large group of people in a multiple-day stretch.

Don’t wait until the last minute

There’s lots to plan for a trade show, and some things do end up getting done last minute, but don’t let your trade show team’s travel purchases be one of those things. Book your hotel early so you’re not scrambling to find an open room near the show that’s bumped up in price since it’s so last minute. Also, book your flights at the right time. The current recommendation for how far in advance to purchase airline tickets is 70 days. You’ll also typically find cheaper fares on Tuesdays.

Figure out the best option for transportation based on logistics

If you’re unable to get a hotel that’s within walking distance from the show, some events provide shuttles or other types of transportation for attendees. Ask ahead of time so that you don’t end up paying for an unnecessary car rental. Also, see if there is an option for a low-priced public transportation to get your staffers from the airport to the hotel and back. Beyond that, there will likely be many restaurants in the area within walking distance, which will eliminate the expenses of a rental car or Uber rides. If there’s no option of hopping on a bus or train, consider renting a car at the airport - that will help you save in repetitive Uber and taxi rides.

To ensure that your trade show marketing efforts are providing you with the ROI you’re hoping for, it will require lots of budgeting! Staying conscious of your trade show team’s travel expenses is one great way to do this. Watch for those group rates, make sure that your trade show team knows what’s expected regarding their spending habits, make your bookings early and analyze the logistics of your event to figure out the best modes of transportation. Planning ahead and staying on top of things in the trade show world is what’s going to help your marketing investments pay off for you and your business.

Contact us today for more information and to get started on your next trade show booth.

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