Buying Your Next Exhibit - How to Make Sure You Don’t Get Low-Balled

When you are in the market for a new exhibit, you will find the options can be endless and the prices will vary.  With the ability to customize your exhibit, it’s a little harder to compare apples to apples since the apples (exhibits) are not necessarily the same.  What you can do, however, is review exactly what is being offered to ensure you are getting the quality you are expecting at a fair price.  A few things to consider are…

Cost of ownership.  There will be parts and pieces that need to be updated, refreshed, repaired, or replaced over time due to normal wear and tear, as well as updating for your branding and new products/services/offerings.  Review this with your exhibit house who should be able to provide you with what to expect each year so you can budget accordingly.  If they say you shouldn’t have any costs, then look elsewhere for an exhibit, as there is always something (albeit small things) that will require your attention over the years.

Durability.  While the initial cost is important, you will want to avoid the use of less durable (thus less expensive) materials, as these will end up costing you more when things break, scratch, dent, or require repair.  Exhibits arriving at a show will be removed from crates, set up, used for a few days, dismantled, packed into crates, shipped, and start all over at the next show.  This is not the time to skimp on quality, especially if you have different people handling the booth at each show and/or use your exhibit many times throughout the year.

Re-configurability.  If your exhibit space size and configuration can vary depending on the show, it is key to know if you are able to use your current exhibit.  If not, you will need to buy or rent additional components, or in some cases, a whole new exhibit, which ultimately costs you more in the end.  It’s best to address all possible scenarios before you begin your exhibit design so that you are prepared for all configurations and determine in advance where your budget will be applied accordingly.

Warranty.  Not all companies offer a warranty, and if they do, the details of them can vary.  You will want a company that would make right any manufacturer defect that comes up after the initial purchase of your exhibit.  No one wants to pay for a brand new exhibit to then have to put money into it to repair items that should not have broken initially. 

Without an easy apples-to-apples comparison of the exhibit options, it is best for you to evaluate the durability of the materials used to build the exhibit, any warranty offerings, what your costs of ownership will be, as well as your ability to re-configure, if necessary.  Based on these, the lowest cost exhibit may not always win, as it may not end up being the lowest cost when you look into potential future costs.  Looking at the big picture – the life span of the exhibit and expected costs – will help you determine the best exhibit for you.

Alison JamesEvent Marketer & Brand Enthusiast

Alison has been with Apple Rock for 12 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 12 month old son.