The right strategy for booth furniture
One of the most basic task every booth manager has to go through is picking furniture for the stall. It may sound pretty simple and straightforward yet there are a few details to consider when selecting booth furniture.
Verify your local rules
While every proper trade show organizer will provide you with a list of vendors to rent furniture from, rules may vary a lot from one country to the other.
Check the Terms&Conditions attached to your event carefully and don’t hesitate to contact the organizer to find out more. What you need to find out is whether you MUST use the local vendor – in some countries, unions force you to use their services while others are more open to competition.
While furniture suppliers offer you choice and convenience, they tend to overcharge their services. It can happen that renting a TV or table for 3 days costs more than buying it in a store! And for this price, don’t expect to have something brand-new: scratches, especially on white elements, are very common and must be expected.
Find out about the local regulation and compare prices – if you are on a tight budget, buying and reselling part of your equipment might be smarter than renting everything.
Most trade shows will provide the basic equipment: a table and two chairs.
While it is always good to enjoy the freebies (not so “free” since it’s included in the booth rental anyway), you may want to upgrade it a little.
Here are the “basics” you should have in your booth:
- 1 bar table (taking less space than a traditional table, giving more proximity with your prospects)
- 2 bar stools
- 1 counter-table with key closet (to store your water bottles, flyers, business cards, phone, etc.)
If you present physical products, you will also need a few cabinets or displays but that really depends on the nature of your business. If you provide a service, this basic equipment is the minimum you need.
Comfort VS design
Everyone wants the most beautiful booth, stand out from the crowd and impress visitors.
Unfortunately, design and fashion don’t always go with comfort. When picking your furniture, find the right balance between the two. Don’t sacrifice beauty for something too comfortable (you’re not planning on hosting your visitors overnight!) but don’t rent incredibly nice stools that give back pain after 30 seconds sitting on them.
Remember you will be spending 3 to 5 days in your booth – the right balance of beauty and comfort is important.
Don’t block the flow
If there is ONE thing you must keep in mind and remember at all time when preparing your booth it is this one: don’t block the flow.
Yes, we get it, you want your booth to look nice, to have chairs all over and to display as many products as possible. Yet, adding too many elements in your booth can easily crowd it and disturb the flow.
When building your floorplan add a small character of the size of an average person and see whether it can move easily everywhere in the booth.
Avoid as much as you can bulky furniture on the entrance sides – keep your booth as open and welcoming as you can . While having a reception desk is a great idea, it kinds of defeats the purpose if it blocks half of the way.
Keep your booth tidy and make it easy to welcome a sudden surge of traffic.
The extra step
This section only concerns people with some extra budget but is good to know for anyone!
Once the “basics” are all set it is time for you to consider going the extra mile and making your booth exceptional.
You could consider adding a very comfortable and attractive sofa to keep visitors a while longer, having a nice self-service coffee machine or a large interactive screen (photo-booth, touch-screen product demo, topic-related game, lucky draw, etc.)
If your booth (and budget!) is large enough, consider making yourself different from others to drive additional traffic easily!
If you have double padding under your booth carpet, be sure to order bar stools that have four legs instead of a central one to add stability. Otherwise, the stool won’t sit sturdily on the floor. (Suggested by Betsy P. Earle)
You should now be fully equipped for your next trade show booth!