Should You Rent Your Next Exhibit?

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to buy an entirely new exhibit display. Perhaps you decide to exhibit at a new show and need a different size booth than usual, or maybe you simply want to test out a fresh design.

Before buying a new display, consider how long or how often you plan to use it. Then calculate your cost per show. Factor in some of the “hidden costs” of ownership, which include: I&D expenses (how much labor is required to set it up), shipping (weight and bulk), storage, and costs for cleaning and refurbishing. These can total 20 percent or more of the original exhibit cost … per year! So what can you do?

Enter exhibit rentals. And no, they’re no longer fuddy-duddy, boring flat walls where the only customization is your graphic swapped in for the last client. These days, rentals are stylish, curved designs that give the appearance of a custom exhibit. You can also rent accessories like workstations and iPad kiosks as well.

Take a look at these stylish examples from our sponsor, Classic Exhibits:

To view a portfolio with these and other rental designs, visit the Classic Rental Solutions Gallery.

So how do you know whether to rent or buy your next booth? If you have a one-time scheduling conflict or need a special booth size for a certain show, renting is a good alternative. Also if you want to test out a new design or your company is going through an “image transition,” you should opt to rent instead of buying a booth you may not use again. But if you find yourself renting more than three or four times a year, it might be to your advantage to go ahead and buy a new display.

(Portions of this article excerpted from Build a Better Trade Show Image © 2002 by Marlys Arnold)

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to