As part of the preparation of a trade show marketing strategy, the selection of the exhibition space is key. It is the most powerful element, one that grabs the attention of attendees and where everyone visiting should feel comfortable and welcome by our brand.
Therefore, being able to decide and determine the costs of having more space to receive visitors while displaying products in a comfortable manner is basic as part of our business plan, together with greater space to perform different tasks in the fair stand such as receive visitors, hold meetings with important customers and perform live demonstrations, to name a few.
For this reason, before leaning towards a specific standardized option or letting ourselves be carried away by other factors, such as the economic or spatial (where it is on the fair floor plan), we must be able to assess in detail how many square meters we will need to meet our fair objectives.
Factors to consider when calculating the perfect size of a stand for a trade fair
Attention to the fair regulations
The first point we must consider when calculating the size of the perfect exhibition stand for a particular trade fair is the regulations put forward in that regard by the organizer of the exhibition.
Sometimes, the fair allows multiple options ranging from occupying double-height spaces to the possibility of picking from different sizes previously set. However, in other instances, the fair will determine that the available space be distributed equally, which will prevent resources from being used to improve the visibility of a stand such as elements at maximum height or powerful luminaire.
In the latter case, the work to profit from the space must be aimed at choosing the best location (where the stand may have more visibility and traffic, like entrances, exits or near cafés, toilets, etc.) and to make the most of the design of the stand since in such scenario, distinction is key.
Get advice from experienced professionals beforehand
Before even arranging the exhibition space with the fair organizers, you should hire the stand design and construction company, since if it is an experienced and specialized company, they will be able to advise directly about the space you should get at the fair, the one that best suits you. And all this, according to the available budget and within the objectives you have set for yourself.
Such a company will be able to set the tone based on the experience from diverse and multitudinous fairs, regarding issues such as whether or not space divisions are needed, create an open space, the spots with greater visibility, the resources to be used, etc.
Keep in mind your main objective
Depending on the target set or the number of objectives to tackle, we will find ourselves in need for more or less exhibition space and therefore, a proportional greater number of square meters.
If our goal is to attract customers, it might be enough to have an accessible counter along the tools that will allow us to visualize, test and perform demonstrations of the product or service. But if we wish to add to this goal or set as the main goal the possibility of doing business and secure partners, we will need more space to hold private meetings, away from the hustle and bustle of the fair and where our partner may feel welcome and sheltered from any external pressure.
Do not be pressed for space
In cases in which due to logistics, regulations, or availability we can’t have all the space we would like or need otherwise to meet our many objectives, it is advisable to narrow the goals rather than fall into the temptation of saturating the available space.
A stand must be, above all, comfortable for both exhibitors and visitors. Therefore, continuing with the previous example, it is better not to have a space to hold private meetings than have them in a suffocating, dark and uninviting room.
Does it mean that we will have to give up our business meetings at the stand as one of our goals? It means that we better book them in a short time at our offices or in a more comfortable place than rush and overwhelm our guest. We will always have time to redefine the design or add more space for the next edition, where our acquired experience will make a difference.
Moreover, keep in mind that the base of the ideal size for a good exhibition stand lies in all your visitors and those who occupy it being able to walk around easily, without hindering transit or losing visibility of its elements due to overcrowding.
Main differences between spaces and sizes: the 1×9 formula
When calculating with some accuracy the square meters needed to build our designer stand, designers find the 1×9 formula to be a very popular trick. It comes to say that each dedicated person who will be staying at the stand or receive visitors on a regular basis must have 9 square meters of useful space for their own disposal; the number of meters calculated as necessary for a person to cope, as well as receive visitors freely and without any obstacles.
So, if we are going to go to a fair with our marketing team of 3 representatives, hire 5 people to care for visitors and ourselves join them as well to close eventual deals, we will need a minimum of 81 square meters of useful space, which do not need to be at ground level if the fair regulations allow.
Of course, like any recommended formula, it is not the law, but it does help us have a greater perspective and be able to solve certain issues such as whether out stand would be saturated and therefore need more room, reduce the rented equipment and manpower, or if our objectives should be expanded or reduced.
Differences between useful and occupied space
A good stand, one that is made thoroughly and according to previous needs, is like an office, and as such, it requires the same elements as far as the use of the space is concerned. Thus, it is imperative that we distinguish between useful and occupied space at the stand when calculating the necessary room, and for other issues concerning the layout of the exhibition stand.
- Useful space is that area that remains free for transit, where we are able to move about without impediment.
- Occupied space is the necessary area to hold the diverse objects that make up our stand (exhibitors, screens, counters, furniture, showrooms and demo rooms, etc.)
This way, following the above example regarding the 1×9 formula, if we want 81 square meters of useful space for our team of 9, we must take into account the extra meters we will have to add to the total so that we can fit all the materials with which we want to bring our exhibition stand to life and lure visitors.
Other factors to consider regarding the size of a stand for fairs
Are 81 square meters a lot or very few? As in any other explanatory article, we rely on standardized context and general recommendations, for instance, having a team of 9 people at our exhibition stand.
While 81 square meters may seem excessive if we think of a local fair or a trade show, a stand this size would be considered standard or even a bit small if we keep in mind that fairs like the Mobile World Congress welcomes around 30,000 industry professionals every day. Therefore, we must offer generous and comfortable spaces if we wish them to be attractive and visitable.
On the other hand, the lack of square meters can be balanced by other factors such as the location of the stand within the congress site, capitalizing on the wider corridors and making the edges of the exhibitor useful, building a four-sided exhibitor, etc. In addition, as mentioned, in case fair regulations allow a double-height structure, the necessary and hypothetical 81 square meters are reduced to 40.
Above all, the key is to seek advice and make sure we have the right partners in the adventure of exhibiting a stand for fairs, like a stand design and assembly company, whose experience is enough for them to visualize all our needs at the mere mention of the fair we would like to be part of, while knowing the appropriate regulations so that they can be best adapted to our objectives.