This question pops up on nearly every project. Clients have spent a lot of money (between £100 and £800 per square metre) on their exhibition stand space and then almost as an after thought - think about their stand. How are we going to promote ourselves. Ah...we need to get an exhibition stand.
In years past the total budget calculation for exhibiting could be ball parked at 1/3 space, 1/3 stand, 1/3 other elements, marketing, people, hotels, travel etc. This calculation still holds true to a certain extent today, however there are options to reduce the cost per show by investing in your own exhibition stand and then updating graphics as you attend different events.
Modular exhibition stands are brilliant for this as with an initial investment the on costs are much lower for each show. Custom stands tend to be similarly priced for each show.
So what should I budget?
The market average in the UK for a modular stand is £500 per square metre. For UK exhibitors exhibiting in Europe the rule of thumb is to double it to circa £1000 per square metre.
That said we recently built a 24sqm stand in Copenhagen for £650 per sqm and built a space only stand at the SECC for a client at £150 per sqm. So there is a range of stands that can be built and it really depends on the bells and whistles that effect the final price.
Other things to consider are furniture hire, raised platform and floor covering, AV, product displays, electrics (that should always be dealt with by the stand contractor! who is building the stand and flooring!)
Who should I get to pitch for our stand design?
Our suggestion is to deal with a company you feel understands your needs best and that you feel has the ability to deliver the project best.
This should mean contacting 3 local companies (it's always best being able to have a company that you can meet face to face) and inviting them to pitch to your brief.
Creating a brief
There are many online templates and forms asking for the basic information an exhibition stand contactor needs to be able to design as stand. Example of an exhibition design brief webform. This really asks for the basic information so the designer can understand your requirements and then design using a system that would work best for you. Adding pictures of stands you like the look of also helps.
Making the decision
Give yourselves as much time as possible to choose your supplier. Normally for a large stand (40sqm +) you should be making a decision about 6 months out from the first show. Smaller stands can be left a little later but always get onto it as soon as time allows, schedule it in your diary and put a timeline for all elements because the show won't stop for you if you are not organised.
Exhibitions are a great way to meet with customers and prospects face to face. We know it's getting a bit old school in this new age of digital everything but there can be no doubt that people buy from people and when you have met someone new, take their details and follow up, go and see them, build a relationship. If your offering can match their requirements and you are a likeable professional person you are giving your selves the best chance to win new business.
Back to Budgeting
- Stand Rental - 20-50% of the purchase cost
- Graphic Production - £50-£80 per square metre
- Site Service - Installation and Dismantle - Depends on location but for small stands in the UK budget £2-£4k
- AV - £200-£400 for 40-50" screens
- Furniture Hire - £50 per chair/table
- Flooring - From £20 per square metre
- Electrics - £100 for each 500W socket
- Design - Can be included with some contractors to £5k from a design agency.
You'll be thinking to yourselves why their is not an easy way to cost for stands and in this industry every client wants something different. We speak with some of the biggest exhibition designers and contractors in the business and they have 1000's of designs. It's really unusual for a customer to say, I want that one. You want to be different and so the details of a stand need to be changed and costs worked out.
Exhibiting is complex, costing is equally so, be serious about your objectives and don't waste your own or exhibition designers time by getting a really tight brief together. Select three companies to pitch for your business. Be honest with them and they will likely give you a better deal!
There is no doubt it is easier to have an exhibition stand contractor who looks after everything. Piece of mind and just walking onto the stand and leaving at the end, using a full service contractor is easiest. The more you do yourselves the more time you take up internally, ask yourself if that time is better spent doing your day to day job?