Trade show exhibits have many needs to meet:
- They must be interesting, engaging, and informative.
- They must provide room for movement and different activities, within a controlled space.
- They must be practical and flexible.
One way to make a trade show exhibit more flexible is to design it to adapt to different-sized booth spaces. With a flexible trade show booth that you can use at multiple events, your investment will work harder, for longer.
What Makes a Booth Design Flexible?
A flexible trade show booth is one that can fit into more than one booth footprint. It’s possible to design both modular and custom exhibits in this way. With modular exhibits, wall and display components can be added or removed as needed. Custom exhibits can be designed to make them adaptable for different uses and sizes.
Flexibility of layout is important too. This means your booth can adapt to different booth locations as well as sizes. For instance, if you’re at the end of an aisle, you may want a different layout than if you were in the middle of an aisle or backed onto a wall. Changing up the layout depending on your location can help make your booth more visible to traffic. And once people are inside, the layout helps direct the flow of traffic.
The Advantages of Versatility
Building an adaptable trade show booth has advantages:
- It means you can use it at multiple shows, in different-sized spaces. This helps you maximize the value of the trade show display by reducing the cost per show.
- Attending several events with the same distinctive booth style helps build a cohesive image. Over time, it’ll boost your brand recognition too.
- You’re not limited by the size of your booth. As your business grows, an adaptable booth can grow with you and fit into a larger exhibit space.
Case Study: Yakima Chief Hops
Choosing an adaptable design doesn’t limit what that design can achieve, and sometimes, it can expand on it. One successful example of a flexible trade show booth is the design ProExhibits created for Yakima Chief Hops.
Yakima Chief Hops is a network of grower-owned hop farms. Located in the Pacific Northwest, the brand has big plans, including the long-term goal of becoming a leading global hop supplier. Having already expanded into multiple continental markets, Yakima Chief Hops came to ProExhibits wanting a trade show exhibit that they could use at events all over the world.
Because the company planned to attend events on three different continents, flexibility was an integral part of the design brief. YCH had shows booked in Europe, Asia, and North America. Each continent has different size requirements and restrictions for trade show exhibits.
Yakima Chief Hops also wanted each booth to include certain features:
- A pouring station, where visitors could taste beer made with YCH’s hops
- A sensory station, where visitors could see and touch hops grown on the farms
The catch? Both stations had to be included in every size variation of all three booth designs.
ProExhibits built three versions of the same scalable booth concept, one for each continent of international exhibiting. Each booth has a different maximum size:
- 9 x 5 m for Asia
- 11 x 10 m for Europe
- 20 x 40 ft for North America
All three booths were constructed according to a flexible modular system, so they can be adjusted up and down in size to different booth footprints.
Both the pouring and sensory stations can be set up in all three designs, at any size. To make each exhibit scaleable, ProExhibits created custom-built storage and meeting areas that could be reduced in size in the smaller design footprints.
Yakima Chief Hops has already attended several shows and feels that the exhibit displays have helped them draw booth traffic and engage visitors.
How to Incorporate Flexibility into Booth Design
To design an adaptable trade show booth, start by answering a couple of questions.
- What sized footprints do you need to accommodate?
- What features does each size need to include?
When considering the booth sizes with which you plan to work, don’t forget to consider vertical space as well as space on the trade show floor. Your available vertical space changes depending on booth size and location, so your booth design should bear this in mind. For instance, canopies and hanging signs fill in vertical space and are easy to add or remove as needed.
The second question is more difficult to answer. You’ll need to think about the specific shows you might attend with different booth sizes. The show you attend and your goals for that show will determine which features you need. That means certain booth sizes might be more appropriate for specific shows or goals. One possible solution is to have a trade show booth design flexible enough that you can decide what features to include on a case-by-case basis. Another is to design a custom booth that can flip between two or three distinct sizes and layouts.
Some options for adaptable booths include tension fabric displays, modular trade show exhibits, and custom adjustable booths.
A tension fabric display is made up of fabric stretched over a resizable frame. This gives the display a seamless, all-in-one look with clean, modern lines. Tension fabric displays are cost-effective and highly flexible, as the shape and size of the display can be changed by adding or removing frame components. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t need a highly elaborate display, tension fabric is a great option.
Another option is a modular design made up of individual structural and display components. This gives you instant flexibility and makes it easy to add components in the future. Modular designs are ideal for a wide range of budgets and purposes. You can mix-and-match components according to what you need and can afford. These are a particularly good option if you plan to attend shows in different markets. By choosing modular components with changeable graphic panels, you can swap out graphics to suit each event you attend.
The custom adjustable booth is like the booth ProExhibits produced for Stikwood. Their highly customized exhibit looked and felt like a barn but was made up of a set of interlocking panels. By removing some of the panels, the booth could accommodate a smaller footprint.
Custom displays can be designed in ways that make them easy to adjust to the footprint that’s available. With components such as an adjustable canopy or removable wall panels, your design will look professional and tailor-made at every show. The custom booth is generally a bigger-budget option, but offers a higher impact presence at the trade show.
Future-Proof Your Booth with an Adaptable Design
Purchasing a trade show booth is often a significant expense, especially for smaller businesses. By choosing a flexible booth design that can adapt to fit different spaces, you can continue to use it at a wide range of shows for years to come. This strategy makes your trade show exhibit more useful and more cost-effective.