Renting vs. Owning Trade Show Exhibits

Posted by Hill & Partners on Apr 10, 2010 3:19:00 PM


Should you rent or should you purchase your next trade show exhibit property? 

trade show booth rental or purchase

Well, that depends! It depends on your particular situation, corporate goals, specific program activities and a host of other considerations.

The best way to approach the subject is to explore the options. Let’s begin with the primary reason why you exhibit in the first place.

You are likely:

1) Aiming to influence your customers and affect their perception of your brand

2) Seeking to obtain qualified leads for your sales organization


3) BOTH!

Does it matter whether you own, rent, or borrow your exhibit? No, none of that matters; how you accomplish your event or exhibit program goals has nothing to do with whether the vehicle you’ve chosen is owned or rented.

However, there is one key component of every plan that must be a significant component of nearly everything you do: MONEY!

This is a good term to look at as the key factor in the discussion. The budget process for a Marketing, Trade Show, or Events Managers in the past may have included an annual presentation of the goals for the year ahead and the budget needed to achieve those goals for the company. After the details of this plan were approved and the budget was set, the manager could independently work through these goals and modify tactics to achieve them on budget and on time. 

Current trends now lean more towards:

• A migration away from excessiveness
• ROI as King -- everything approved must be critical to the mission at hand
• Less personal discretion and greater oversight
• Executive sign off required on even small budget items

All of these pressures are now added, but the manager is still expected to deliver the same results in an even more competitive environment. Until expectations align with reality amongst customers, prospects and even colleagues, our job is even more difficult.

Knowing your options may help make decisions that better achieve objectives while still remaining in line with reality and expectations:

The traditional rental originated with show contractors attempting to help exhibitors have a presence on the show floor without their own properties to utilize. This is often expensive on a per show basis and has minimal impact, as nothing is customized. The traditional rental solution of the past was short on value.

This is the most common solution for sophisticated brands because it allows exhibitors the freedom to create properties that are consistent with their brand while allowing detailed preferences. This solution is a one-of-a-kind property.

Custom Branded Environments: Download the Product Sheets

The fastest growing segment of the exhibit industry is a solution that combines the flexibility of a rental program with the quality and impact of a traditional custom build.

Turnkey rentals are budget-friendly for companies that are planning their program activities one show at a time. They allow for the avoidance of a capital expense while still providing unique custom-branded exhibit solutions that create a measurable impact on the show floor.

Rental Branded Environments: Download the Product Sheet


Hybrid exhibits combine many unique resources into one solution that meets all the goals of the client. These resources can include existing client-owned properties, exhibit house rental components, rented props and thematic treatments, and theatrical lighting and rigging to name a few. The hybrid exhibit typically incorporates one or more significant rental elements that combine with owned resources to create a unique solution.

So, should you rent or should you own? Well, it depends! We would love to discuss with you all the options for your program and what would best fit Your Brand, Your Objectives and Your Goals. 


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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Brand Experience