Why should you take part in an exhibition?

Exhibitions are often a valuable way of meeting new prospective clients. Providing you plan carefully and choose the right exhibition, you could potentially create the foundations for growth in both contacts and sales.

There are additional valuable benefits for exhibiting:

Raising your company profile and image being seen at major venues like the ExCel, Olympia or NEC.

Shows will give you a good opportunity for instant feedback on new products or services.

It will give you the opportunity to check out your competitors and see what they are doing.

What are the cost implications of Exhibiting?

There is no actual rule of thumb, costs can vary from venue to venue. The exhibition organisers or events organisers calculate their charges based on the space you occupy and the location within the venue. This rate will take into consideration the value of the potential traffic which will pass your stand, for example if you are opposite a cafe you are likely to have a larger audience.

Most of the main UK venues will cost a minimum of £1,500 for a small shell stand (aluminium frame system with a fascia name board and carpet). County or agricultural shows generally cost much less. The major venues attract several hundred thousand people, the country shows maybe up to 10,000.

Other costs to consider when exhibiting:

Electrical services -  lighting & power sockets can be expensive. The venues and organisers have their own preferred suppliers so you are only allowed to purchase from them. As an example in a recent event the cost of a 13amp socket can be up to £150.00 depending on venue and supplier. Even if you are considering a custom build stand and taking the space only you will be required to use the hall electricians to supply you with the mains supply and generally give them the location of where you want the sockets.

Furniture - you can purchase items for your stand if you feel that they can be used again for another show, you must consider these items will need to be stored between shows. When planning for your show you should consider if you require storage which can be in the form of a counter or small cupboard, coat hooks and somewhere to securely lock away valuables such as bags and laptops. These items can also be hired via us or through specialist furniture hire companies.

Graphics - you want to create an impact on your stand and give you that punch which will make you stand out from the crowd. These items need to be supplied in a format that will allow us to produce nice clean photographic or stylised prints with no pixelation. Artwork time needs to be factored in to your project. For great impact on a smaller stand we offer Popup displays, they range in sizes from 2m wide up to 4 or 5m and can be straight or curved. Alternatively if you want to exhibit at just one show we can produce graphic panels on a 2mm substrate and hire a system that will allow you to cover a shell scheme system seamlessly on a budget!

Collateral - If you are launching a new product or service have you considered the cost of producing a brochure or leaflet, even new business cards? We can provide you with everything you will need to create a professional appearance when exhibiting. Examples of the leaflets, brochure and usiness cards can be seen here.

Branded giveaways - Offering something to perspective customers or clients a way of remembering you or your services, we can provide a range of branded giveaways from USB sticks, Mugs, T-Shirts...

Competitions - A good way of attracting interest in your stand is to run a competition, it can as simple as placing business cards in a fish bowl and having a draw to win an ipad/tablet or customers can fill out a form to enter a prize draw. This works in two ways, you generate interest and you also gather valuable leads which can be followed up after the event.

Accommodation - Often overlooked or left too late, hotels near major venues such as ExCel, Olympia, Earls Court or NEC can be expensive and even more so if there is a large event taking place, not too mention getting booked up quickly! It is best to plan as far in advance as possible to save you time and money later down the line. Also you don't want to travel long distances to get to a show for an early start, it's best to be fresh and make a good impression!

Staff training & time - If you are proposing to use a portable stand or modular display system or even just having a shell scheme, you or your staff will need to know how to set it up and dismantle it. This will involve them getting to the venue early on the show opening day or the day before, factor in their time and this could be best served.

Measuring the cost-effectiveness of exhibiting?

Public and Consumer shows can generate instant cash, unless you are promoting kitchens or garage doors. Trade shows are not likely to generate you instant orders - the real worl is done following up after the show to make sales, and in many cases buyers wait until they see you again next year to make sure you're still trading. Trade shows are generally a long-term investment.

It is vitally important that you keep a record of all the visitors who have expressed an interest in your goods, services or company. This could be a visitors' book for recording follow ups or a bowl that contacts can put their business cards in. The bigger exhibitions often use a variety of technologies to help you collect visitor data, the most common are barcode scanners which will read the badges I.D.s of the visitors to your stand. The contact details of all those visitors are then sent to you after the event.

Bear in mind that there is often a surprisingly long lead time between making first contact and an order being secured, so measuring cost-effectiveness has to take the long-term view.

Where should I exhibit and how often?

You need to exhibit at shows that are relevant to your industry, there is no point exhibiting at a Data Centre show if your in the fashion industry. Look for shows where most of your target audience will attend and avoid general shows. Request last year's show guide from the organisers and see if the well-known names from your industry are there. The organisers will be able to give you a detailed breakdown of exhibitors and visitors from previous years. Check this to see if your rivals, customers and targets are shown. It is best to do your research and visit first before booking up for next year. This also gives you an idea of the best spaces to book (if they are available within your budget).

The exhibitor's Bible is Exhibition Bulletin, which is published monthly. Trade magazines will also list forthcoming events. Try to avoid shows that are run for the first time, they take time to become established and recognised.

When should I start planning?

Plan well in advance atleast 6-7 months before the show, as exhibitions can be expensive and good planning usually saves you money.

Make sure you have set clear objectives and goals for what it is your aiming to achieve at the exhibition. Are you launching a new product or want to raise your profile and improve brand awarness? Create an overview to include a list of services or products to be displayed, show details, logistics etc. Have a look at our stand brief form this will help.

Good exhibition organisers produce detailed manuals giving cut-off dates for when certain items must be booked - electrical requirements, water & waste, show catalogue entry, fascia name etc.

Printing and Design takes time. Check your collateral: you may want update your promotional material and tailor it to specific products for the show.

Location, location, location!


When choosing your stand location, it's essential to know where your competitors are, who is around you and the main aisle positions. 

If your next to a large Exhibition stand, then you have an opportunity to attract traffic from them. On the other hand, if you have a fairly small stand next to a huge stand, then you might not get noticed.

A key factor to your position is footfall/traffic and this is also one the most important factors to consider.

While you want your stand to be in a great position where plenty of people see it, they have got to want to come on to it, be inviting and open!


Another good way to choose your exhibition stand location is from previous experience. A number of shows have their own querks, which will only be realised from previous experience so we advise that you speak to people who have exhibited their before.

What about staffing on the stand?


Not everyone is suited to manning an exhibition stand effectively, you must have a positive attitude to attract new customers and expect to be on your feet for a long time. Whoever you choose must have full knowledge of your products and services and be comfortable to present and demonstrate them. It is important to have the right people on the stand, they should have look presentable and, most importantly, must be able to interact well with visitors. Also make sure your staff are easily identifiable to visitors.

The number of people required depends on the size of the stand, ideally even a small stand you should have at least two staff - what happens if you need the toilet or want some lunch. 


A pre-show meeting is a great opportunity for marketing, management, and sales to review your mission. Also have a meeting each evening after the show, this gives everyone a good opportunity to discuss and review how well you performed, make any improvements to the stands functionality, and generally prepare for the next day.


Key advice for successful exhibiting

Ideas to improve your use of exhibiting:

Make sure you promote your stand well in advance, by promoting your presence at an event on your email footer and website, emailing existing customers inviting them to visit you on your stand and via any social media. Some exhibitions provide free invites that should be mailed to key clients.

Make sure your stand looks busy and interesting.

Change your staff to keep them alert and attentive. Be friendly and polite, don't pounce on your visitors or block the entry point to your stand. Address visitors by reading their name tags.

Follow up promptly after the show on any enquiries.

Once the event has finished and still fresh in your mind, hold a debrief meeting with your staff and set new targets and plans for the next event.

Common pitfalls to avoid:

Not making it clear what it is your business does or service you provide.

Do not put obstacles to entry points  into the stand: steps, balustrades, psychological barriers.

Poor graphics, either design or bad qulaity images and print production.

Badly dressed, bored or tired staff more interested in colleagues than visitors.

Make sure your stand is tidy at all times.

This may all seem like common sense but quite often you can walk around shows and see stands like this and they wonder why they have no visitors.

We hope this information has been helpful to you and please feel free to leave us some feedback or add to this with your own experiences?

Alternatively give us a call on 020 8702 8100 or drop us an email at hello@arisdesign.co.uk if you require any help regarding your exhibiting needs. 


This site uses cookies. Some of the cookies we use are essential for parts of the site to operate and have already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work.