What’s the best-shaped stand for your business and how do you get a “good” site position?
The easy answer is to say that it all depends on what you are exhibiting and personal preference. More on this shortly.
What’s the best shape for a stand?
A stand that provides the best shape for your products is really important to your show success.
For some exhibitors, this will be a site with one open side, perhaps on a perimeter position like the stand below which was used by Just2Easy at the bett show.
The layout shown above works well for Just2Easy. They don’t have big exhibits to place on the stand.
The longer frontage works like a big poster. Show visitors can see the exhibitor’s name very clearly.
The picture above shows how the stand team engaging with the audience and holding their attention.
There are also pods on the stand where one-on-one demos can be held.
The stand is only 3 metres deep and it’s on a perimeter wall of the exhibition hall.
Resisting the urge to include a roof structure or fascia added to the open and approachable feel of the site.
Lavazza stand designed by Design Difference
For exhibitors who need more display space and a different shape, corner stands or island sites are the preferred option.
Corner sites offer two or three open sides and they come in various shapes and sizes depending on how the show floorplan has been drawn.
Typically corner stands will be on sites from 15sqm and upwards.
Sites that are open on three sides, tend to be larger in area.
Island sites, (sites open on four sides and unattached to other stands) like the one shown above designed for Lavazza, are generally among the largest spaces in a show.
Sites like these offer a lot of design flexibility and with the right build, they can create a huge branding impact.
How will you know the right stand shape for your business?
Think about the physical products you want to display.
The size and shape of your exhibits will help you determine the overall space that you need.
When you know your space requirements, you can think about the ideal layout of the stand.
How will our stand position appear to visitors?
In all your event decision making, project forward to the open days of the show and ask yourself;
How will this layout work in this site position?
See yourself at the show. Picture yourself on the stand.
Next, imagine walking toward your stand. Now, how do things look now?
If you imagine that you are looking from a distance with visitors in the halls and other stands around you, what can you see?
In my humble opinion, the position of a stand is less important than its shape in determining whether or not an exhibitor will have a successful show.
That’s because most exhibitors are not booking large, flagship stands at the front of a hall.
With thought and planning, successful stands can be created in most show locations.
Site locations to avoid and those to go for
Having said that, try to avoid booking a position at the back of a large hall.
Stands in dog-leg gangways aren’t usually a good bet either.
Locations in the middle of a show or on cross-over aisles are good positions, but I’ve found that seasoned exhibitors will all have their own views on the locations that work best.
If a show is taking place in a regular-shaped hall, without cul-de-sac aisles or out of the way balcony sites, then, most sites will be “good” and extremely workable.
Booking arrangements: How to secure the stand position and layout you want most
As highlighted, aiming for a stand location in the first half of the hall and towards the middle section of the show is a good place to be.
But what do you do if your ideal layout and position are not available when you make your site booking?
List your top choices as shown on the show floorplan.
Put your location request in writing to your friendly organising sales person at the earliest possible time.
Ask your organiser to confirm in writing that your company will be given the first opportunity to book one of the sites you have listed (or sites very similar in size and position).
Ask also for a confirmation that you can move location with no penalty incurred (get this in writing before you sign a contract).
All organising salespeople need to know about your request too
Insist that all members of the organiser’s sales team know of your arrangement and wish to move.
This is important because you don’t want one of your choices sold by another member of the team to another exhibitor.
Contracted vs. Provisional site bookings
When your first choice site is unavailable, ask if it is booked on a contracted or provisional basis. There is a big difference between these two booking categories.
Provisional bookings are not firmly contracted.
They are sites being held on the assumption that they will be contracted by another exhibitor.
When this is the case, ask for the expiry date of the provisional booking.
Call on the due day to see if the other exhibitor has confirmed (contracted) the booking.
If they haven’t contracted for the site you want, offer to sign for it on deadline day.
There is an outside chance that your company will get the site as you are offering the organiser a firm i.e. contracted booking versus a maybe.
A firm booking is usually a much more persuasive option!