Location, Location, Location!
What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Well if you are like me, you think of the old real
estate adage that speaks to the importance of location when one is in search of a new home or rental
property. A British real estate tycoon who owned a super expensive estate in one of London’s
fashionable districts supposedly first coined the phrase. Some also speculate that the word ‘location’
is repeated three times to call out the tier of priorities: excellent location, a mediocre location or a
Now I am not scribing this blog to tell you that ELITeXPO is now in the business of selling or renting
houses, nor am I here to tell you that we will be featured on the next episode of HGTV’s ‘House
Hunters’ although I always said there should be a reality show about tradeshows. However, I am here
to tell you that this age-old ‘Location-Location-Location’ adage rings very close to home for all of us
in the tradeshow industry. Think of your tradeshow booth property as a temporary home, (albeit for
maybe 3 days) while you are exhibiting at the show. Now think of the show floor/exhibit hall as
something akin to a small town or city. On the floor, there are different types/designs of booths,
many different sizes and configurations, and in some cases different sections of the floor will
designate different types of companies or service offerings, or different demographics if you will.
If you follow this thinking then it’s not hard to reason that searching for a prime spot on the show
floor for one’s display is really no different than locating that prime piece of real estate for your home.
Many industry veterans have always stood by the notion that your booth location on the show floor is
one of the most important factors that can determine whether or not you will have good traffic at
your booth and an overall successful show.
Selecting the best trade show booth location can be a very daunting task for even the most
experienced veteran when having taken into considerations such factors as logistics and traffic flow
patterns in a given convention center/hall. Truth be told, whether you are a long-time exhibitor with
many shows under your belt or a first timer, identifying and securing the best locations for a trade
show booth requires a bit of strategic planning coupled with a solid understanding of the dynamics of
trade show floors. For example, one might think the best place to setup a trade show exhibit is at or
near the front door, right? I mean it seems to make sense, get them when they first come in, be the
first booth that the attendee gazes their eyes upon as they enter this maze of booths. Well, believe it
or not, that is not necessarily the case. You see some experts would argue that because the entrance
and exit is typically right near the front of the tradeshow floor, this area is typically heavily congested
with attendees that are either just walking in for the first time and overwhelmed by the massive
crowd, or are ready to leave and are no longer focused on the exhibits - both of which is not
conducive to generating strong leads for your business.
Here is another interesting fact about traffic flow through a trade show. People in the United States
tend to flow down the right side of the trade show first, and people in Europe tend flow down the left
side of the trade show first. These habits are believed to formed naturally because of driving habits -
what side of the road people are used to driving on in the United States (right side) and in some parts
of Europe (left side).
Therefore, if you were an exhibitor at a trade show in the United States, one ideal location would be
the right-hand side and further down from the main entrance to the trade show. Likewise, if one were
exhibiting in Europe - somewhere down along the left-hand side would be most ideal.
Here is some strategic thinking for booth placement that falls in line with ‘Location-Location-
- Keep some distance between you and your competitors. Try to avoid having to share your
audience with your competitor next door!
- Look for main aisles, typically high traffic areas. For example, ends of rows and corners spaces
attract traffic from intersecting aisles.
- Try to locate your booth along the major path to seminar rooms, especially if the seminar will
be a prominent item on the show agenda.
- Consider a location that might be near (not next to) any food service areas and restrooms that
afford high volumes of traffic. Important to note, some experts disagree with this theory
because these attendees have their own personal agenda when visiting these areas, and
stopping by your booth if probably not high on their priority list!
- Don’t confuse high traffic with congestion. Congestion can actually hurt your lead and sales
prospects at a show, to the point where it is challenging to initiate meaningful conversation
with a potential customer(s).
- If you are a repeat exhibitor, you should continually ask yourself, do I desire the same location
as last year? You will want to consider how long you have been in that spot, do your
customers expect you to be there. Then again, if there is a more advantageous location
available, it might be worth the move.
- Avoid dead end aisles, spaces obstructed by columns, and last but not least, overhanging
ceiling pipes or large exhaust vents!
In summary, when evaluating prime booth real estate on the show floor, view it like you are scouting
for a house, condo, or even the more popular than ever ‘tiny house’! First and foremost, think
‘Location-Location-Location’! Remember that the location of your booth in the exhibit hall can be key
to you getting the maximum amount of desired traffic and resulting ROI. Lots of quality traffic can
equate to a higher number of qualified sales leads, which is what any event tradeshow manager
strives for in order to get a solid ROI from their face-to-face marketing initiatives.