Krispy Kreme Custom Rental Island Conference Display

Benefits of Purchasing vs Renting Conference Displays Explained

As your scroll through pictures of trade show displays, you may find aspects that you like, as well as some you would change, remove, or add.  Thankfully your trade show exhibit does not have to be generic and standard or fit into an existing mold (or display in this case!).  It can be customized to align with your company, your brand, and your objectives and goals.  And just like when you purchase an exhibit, a trade show booth rental can also be quite customized.  So, if you can customize your trade show presence, how do you choose to rent or buy?  There are benefits to both depending on your event schedule and objectives, so let’s break down the two options.


Flexibility.  You can change up the design frequently – not just from year to year, but show to show!  As a result, you can adapt the look of your exhibit to meet your specific marketing objectives.  In turn, you can also change the size or configuration so that your exhibit is created with each specific show in mind.  Is the main aisle on a different side than the previous show? No problem!  That can easily be switched!

Lower exhibit cost.  Rentals generally cost about 25% - 30% of the purchase price.

Lower cost of ownership.  You will save money on shipping, especially if the rental display is coming from the same area as your show city.  Additionally, there will not be any storage, insurance, or maintenance costs.  According to Exhibitor Magazine, repairs cost roughly 10% of the total value of the exhibit per year.  With rentals, if something wears out, you don’t have to pay to replace it.

Geography.  Have a show in Las Vegas, but the exhibit you own is stored in Orlando? A rental right out of your show city saves tremendous money on shipping to and from the show!

Turnkey execution.  Most rental companies provide turnkey solutions including shipping, logistics, installation & dismantle, and storage.  You will approve the design and configuration, as well as the artwork for the graphics, and the only other thing you need to do is show up on the show floor!

Multiple shows are going on at once.  Are you exhibiting at two shows in different cities at the same time?  Renting allows you the opportunity to exhibit in multiple places at once without compromising your look and brand.  No one needs to fight over who gets the booth!

Want a bigger space than you can afford.  Some companies find renting a great option when they want to have a larger exhibit, but do not have the capital to purchase one.

Try it first.  If you think you know what you want, but would like to give it a trial run, a rental is a great option so that you can go into your purchase more knowledgeable about what will work best for you.


Completely custom.  While rentals are customized, you have the utmost ability to create a custom exhibit that matches your brand identity when you purchase.  A profile cut wall with your logo?  Powder coated extrusion to match your PMS color?  Printed flooring with your tagline?  An exhibit purchase offers you these very personal touches to your exhibit.

Cost savings.  Purchasing saves you money if you exhibit frequently.  The rule of thumb is that if you exhibit 3 or more times a year, purchasing an exhibit is more cost effective.  After three or four shows, the amount you have spent towards renting the exhibit could have actually purchased it, and you would not have rental costs going forward.

Amortization.  To help with the expense of a purchase, many companies are able to amortize the cost which allocates a lump sum amount to different time periods.  Some also deduct the cost of the booth or the depreciation on their yearly taxes.

Availability.  If you own your exhibit, it will always be available when you need it.  If a last minute show pops up, for example, and you have not reserved your rental items, they may not be available.

New condition.  When you rent a display, the exhibit components are typically those that have been used or rented previously.  While the parts will be in good, working condition, it is important to recognize that when you purchase, all exhibit materials are brand new, without normal wear and tear to begin with.

Flexibility.  Just because you own your exhibit doesn’t mean it isn’t flexible.  Many exhibit components are created to be modular and be moved around to achieve a variety of looks using the same components.  You can also have multiple exhibits out of one larger exhibit.  A 20’x20’ exhibit could produce two 10’x20’ exhibits and even more 10’x10’ exhibits, giving you brand consistency across the variety of show spaces that you exhibit in.

Now it’s time to sit down with your team to review your show schedule.  How many shows are you going to? What sizes and configurations do you have?  Where are the shows?  Discuss your marketing goals and initiatives for each show.  Are they all the same?  Will they have different focuses?  The results of this discussion should lead you to determine which option is better suited for you.  Of course we’re always here to help you navigate your way to this decision!


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Alison JamesEvent Marketer & Brand Enthusiast

Alison has been with Apple Rock for 13 years. She is not only an industry expert, but also an experienced brand ambassador for all her clients. When she is not working hard for her clients, she is enjoying the thrills of parenthood, along with her husband, to their son.