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        How Much Should You Spend on a Trade Show?

        We all know that attending multivendor sales events is an investment, but exactly how much should be spent on trade shows? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

        Your trade show budget should be roughly three times the amount you plan to spend on your exhibit. On average, it costs about $100-$150 per square foot of floor space. A 10×10 booth space will cost around $14,000, with a total budget of $42,000. Larger 20×20 spaces cost up to $20,000, with a total budget of $60,000.

        So, the general ballpark numbers for a trade show are between $40,000 and $60,000. That’s a lot of money!

        Four Main Components of Your Trade Show Budget

        It helps to break down your expenses so that you know where your budget should be going. There are four main costs to attending a trade show:

        Four Main Components of Attending a Trade Show: Trade show exhibit, Trade show giveaways, Show services, Personnel costs

        • Trade show exhibit: This includes the cost of the exhibit and the fee to rent the booth space. The larger your exhibit, the higher your expenses.
        • Trade show giveaways: You need freebies and giveaways to engage visitors and help people remember your brand, so include branded swag for trade shows in your budget.
        • Show services: These services include things like materials/handling, electricity, Wi-Fi and all other services needed to run your exhibit.
        • Personnel costs: Your personnel costs include expenses related to sending staff on the trip, including hotels, airfare and meals.

        Budget Breakdown on Trade Show Costs

        Exhibitor Magazine put together an infographic that outlines the most common trade show expenses and what exhibitors should be spending on them. It helps to visualize them in percentages:

        Budget Breakdown on Trade Show Costs: Booth space (35%), Travel & lodging (14%), Show services (13%), Exhibit design and construction (11%), Shipping (10%), Graphic design (10%), Other expenses (7%)

        • Booth space (35%): It costs money to rent floor space and each venue is different. Plan your events early so that you can take advantage of discounted pricing.
        • Travel & lodging (14%): It also costs money to send your employees to trade shows, so consider the airfare, hotel stays, meals and other transportation to and from the event.
        • Show services (13%): As we mentioned before, show services include everything needed at the event, such as electricity, internet service and even vacuuming.
        • Exhibit design and construction (11%): Thanks to lightweight materials, portable exhibits and rental options, exhibit design costs have shrunk over the years.
        • Shipping (10%): Shipping costs, on the other hand, continue to fluctuate. Talk to your exhibitor who may be able to ship your exhibit materials for less.
        • Graphic design (10%): Digital artwork is a lot easier to create than physical artwork, but it still takes time and costs money.
        • Other expenses (7%): This part of your trade show budget should be reserved for branded swag, lead tracking software, etc.

        Take Trade Shows to the Next Level

        Your budget is a vital factor to consider when going to trade shows, so it pays off to be strategic with your financial choices. Make sure that quality and financial capacity coincide when picking branded swag for your employees and customers.

        There are plenty of products that help your booth stand out from the competition. Choose from the most popular types of swag for tradeshows and keep your brand in front of the crowd with options like:

        Choose from the most popular types of swag for tradeshows like: Apparel, Bags, Drinkware, Event materials, Lanyards and name badges, Tech products


        • Apparel: From headwear to T-shirts to shorts, apparel is an easy way to promote your company image and representation. These products serve as a walking advertisement (literally!) and help attract potential customers to your booth. Opt for attractive branded apparel that individuals will be more likely to wear to maximize the effectiveness.
        • Bags: Offering custom bags that highlight your brand’s character can help passersby notice your company. There are lots of choices, including totes, backpacks, duffel bags, drawstring bags and travel pouches. Pick the color and design that fits your company the best. Apart from the styling, the bags should serve their purpose, so ensure you pick high-quality options.
        • Drinkware: Trade shows are typically full-day events that can last for up to three days. Because of the duration, water is essential among employees and potential clients attending the events. Providing promotional drinkware is a strategic method to keep everyone hydrated while improving your brand image. Water bottles, tumblers and mugs are practical products that anyone can use for a long time.
        • Event materials: Maximize visibility further with different trade show advertising resources such as exhibit kits, signs and tents. Brevity is essential when creating display materials. Choose easy-to-remember catchphrases and designs to help customers associate a certain image or phrase with your brand.
        • Lanyards and name badges: When it comes to versatility and your trade show budget, lanyards and name badges are great options. These promotional materials make your brand more professional and draw attention from potential customers without breaking the bank. Why? It’s because the cost of producing these marketing resources is cheaper than other high-end items.
        • Tech products: Today’s digital landscape also influences the impact of swag resources. For this reason, many companies opt for tech-related giveaways to appeal to a wider audience. Phone holders, portable chargers, wireless speakers, power banks and cables are just some common examples of practical tech swag products.

        Choose from a number of well-known brands to create your swag. Contact us

        Set Your Brand Apart With Inkwell

        It’s obvious that trade shows are major investments. The reason why people exhibit at them is because they can bring even greater ROI! To help visitors remember your brand in a positive light, be sure to have plenty of branded merchandise on hand. Discover the latest swag to reward your audience with Inkwell Global Marketing, your partner for creative brand solutions. Schedule a demo today and find the most suitable products for your brand.

        set your brand apart with inkwell - tote bag and water bottle with company logos

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