Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

Exhibiting on the Cheap: Get More with Less

Please enjoy this guest column from Marlys Arnold

In these days of reduced budgets and sky-high travel costs, every company needs to make the most of their exhibiting dollars. Here are some tips to help you save without sacrificing value.

Show Services

  • Plan ahead! Reserve booth space and show services early to take advantage of discounts and avoid overtime rates at the facility.
  • Consolidate shipping. Charges are usually rounded to the next hundred pounds or CWT (one hundred weight). Bundle smaller things together to make one larger shipment. And be sure to ship far enough in advance to avoid paying any “rush” charges.
  • Take your own trash can, extension cords, and power strips with you instead of renting them at the show.


  • Use online tools to promote whenever possible to save on postage. With the tools available now, this goes far beyond basic e-mail! Try using YouTube, podcasts, a Facebook page, and more.
  • Use existing artwork on your booth graphics and promotions. Not only will it save money, but will also reinforce your company message.
  • If you feel giveaways are important, select something that can be used at multiple shows, perhaps for an entire season. You’ll save by taking advantage of larger quantity discounts as well as not having to throw out items after only one show. Better yet, consider giving away something from your own product line.


  • Scale back the number of staff to those who absolutely must attend, or use temporary staff in the host city for basic duties like greeting attendees or scanning badges.
  • Choose alternate airports (Midway vs. O’Hare, Love Field vs. Dallas-Ft.
  • Worth, etc.) to save both time and money.
  • Request that staffers room together. Let them have a say in who rooms with who.
  • Look for hotels that provide a free breakfast, WiFi service, and other amenities. This may not seem like a lot, but can really add up over an entire year of travel for your team.

© 2008 by Marlys K. Arnold (some tips reprinted from Build a Better Trade Show Image, © 2002)

Marlys K. Arnold, ImageSpecialist
Author of:
– Build a Better Trade Show Image
– Pack Your Bags!
… And host of the Trade Show Insights podcast

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