Your User Guide for Building a New Booth
Building a new booth from the ground up is a detailed and lengthy undertaking. It involves a significant amount of research, organization, and patience.
This won’t be an overnight project. Most scratch booth projects take months, or even if a year, from start to ship. To make sure your booth build is as successful as possible, here’s a user guide to building a new booth.
Photo Source: Pixabay
Trade Show Objectives
Before you can set a budget for your project, you need to clearly define what you hope to accomplish at your trade show. How you intend to achieve those goals will help you define your budget, design, and timeline.
Schedule It Out
The timeline of your project will be dictated by your show schedule, but you should have an idea of what month you’re targeting first. Choose the hard-out date when your booth must be ready and work backward from there.
Allow time for the cycle of various requests for information, proposal, quotations, project construction, as well as shipping. Speaking from experience, give yourself a cushion wherever you can along the way to protect your project against any potential setbacks.
Planning and Budgeting
Now that you know how much time you need, start digging into the cost of your booth build. Look into the available square footage for your event, average cost-per-square-foot, the style exhibit you want to design, and the experience you want to create for prospects. Don’t forget to include taxes in your budget!
Are you going high-tech? Do you need a double-deck design? How much signage do you need? What kind of power requirements do you need to allow for?
Look at past booth setups or check out the competition. What would you do differently? What would you add? Set up a vision board to aid in forming your concept and to give a springboard for feedback.
These essential budgeting and planning questions will help you compile the data you need for your requests to exhibit houses. Get your whole team in on the planning to make sure there are no gaps!
Exhibit House Selection
Create a short list of potential exhibit houses that you believe can deliver on your concept. Don’t overwhelm yourself and slow down the process with ten or more options.
Keep it simple. Before you send requests for information (RFI), vet your list through reviews, get referrals, and talk to their customer service and design teams. Only send RFIs to those who pass these tests. In the end, you will choose the company you feel you can trust.
The Request Cycles
The series of requests between you and your shortlist of exhibit houses look like this:
- Request For Information (RFI)
- Request For Proposal (RFP)
- Request for Quotation (RFQ)
An RFI is a bird’s-eye-view of your booth build to get basic info from the vendor. Ask about the account management process, industry-specific trade show experience, pricing, and for reference.
Your RFP is a request for a project-specific proposal with baseline pricing and can be included with your RFI to shortcut the process. Here is where you will ask for their company information, and share your marketing strategies, your project goals, and any potential obstacles.
RFPs should also include a non-disclosure agreement, inspiration photos, and a rough budget projection. For best results, share with each exhibit house whom they’re competing against. Always use deadlines to your advantage and check all their references.
The RFQ is a request for the vendor’s detailed plan for your project. You can start here if this isn’t your first booth, or you already work with an existing exhibit house and have a comprehensive plan for your booth. But it doesn’t work for new vendors if you haven’t laid the foundation with your RFI and RFP.
Choose Your Exhibit House
Always require a deadline for the return of any information as this is also an indicator of how well they manage their own processes. Missing a paperwork deadline sets the wrong tone for a potential partnership.
When comparing the results of your requests, consider every aspect of their proposal. Does the overall design fit your brand and function needs? Is the design adaptable for multiple shows?
Is it within the scope of your budget, or are there alternative financing methods? How easy were they to work with? Was the process smooth?
Compare the results of the RFPs received and select your winner! Whoever you choose is someone you’ll go back to, again and again, as new booths are required, or special events pop up on your timeline. Choose wisely!
Now that you have your winner, the next booth build should be a much simpler project. You can start with an RFQ and get right down to business.
If you’re looking to partner with a visual and experience-driven exhibit house, reach out to the Exhib-It team! Let’s set your next booth up for success!