There’s much to consider when planning a trade show booth. For American companies going to Frankfurt for the Creativeworld show, the first question is usually whether or not to use the U.S. pavillion, or book a booth on the general show floor.
[Disclosure: Messe Frankfurt is a Scrapbook Update sponsor.]
Whether or not exhibiting in the U.S. pavilion is the right choice is a different decision for each company that considers it, based on a variety of factors. After visiting four Creativeworld shows and talking extensively with American exhibitors both in the pavilion and on the show floor, I’ve identified what some of the key factors are that lead companies to choose one or the other as the best choice for them.
But first, what exactly is the American pavilion at the Creativeworld show?
The U.S. pavilion at Creativeworld takes up an entire “block” on the show floor. The outside of the block, along the aisles, is filled with booths of various sizes. In the center is a private lounge area (accessible from the rear of each booth) for the pavilion exhibitors that offers some food service, a Messe Frankfurt staff member to assist the exhibitors, and other services.
The pavilion booths come with a prepackaged set of booth furnishings, and exhibitors can order additional items if needed at extra cost.
The corner booths, like the ones in the top picture occupied by Doodlebug Design and in the picture above by Product Performers, are typically larger spaces (and priced accordingly). They also have two open sides as opposed to being enclosed on three sides like the booths in sides of the pavilion.
A more standard booth option in the pavilion is the one occupied above by Stampendous. With one open side facing the aisle, and a back entrance into the pavilion’s lounge, this space allows plenty of room for display of product and doing small demonstrations.
Being in the pavilion also comes with some extra publicity, as the U.S. pavilion is advertised as a special feature of the show in places like show guides and the show grounds. This ad pillar is at the bottom of the escalator in the main lobby of Hall 4.2, directing show attendees to the pavilion and advertising who was there.
Of course, there’s a myriad of options on the show floor to choose from as well. BoBunny has occupied a booth in the same location in one of the Creativeworld halls for several years. Exhibiting in a non-pavilion booth is similar in a few ways to being in the pavilion – there’s still no need to bring an entire furnished booth, as all displays and furnishings can be rented from the Messe.
Renting a regular show booth allows room for some innovation in your exhibit planning. Three smaller companies that are well-known to papercrafters, Waffle Flower, Alexandra Renke, and Pinkfresh Studio, decided to share a large space on the show floor in an attempt to make a splash this year.
So which choice is right for your company?
There’s no single right answer. I know companies that have tried the pavilion and then left it for a regular booth. I know companies that have stayed happily in the pavilion for multiple years. I know companies that have exhibited in a regular booth and then opted for the more structured option of the pavilion. I know companies that have exhibited for years in regular booths. The trick is deciding on the factors that are your priority.
Cost: On a per square foot basis, the pavilion is a more expensive way to rent a booth. But it comes with extra services that are included in that cost (which would have to be purchased separately) and it also includes extra support structure to help familiarize new exhibitors with exhibiting at the show. And while it is higher, the fixed price is a help when setting budgets for exhibiting.
Size: Booth options in the pavilion are limited to relatively small sizes, so if your booth preference is for a booth larger than around 10×20, you’ll need to choose a regular booth. On the other hand, for small to medium sized companies that would like to be able to exhibit with minimal manpower or shipping expense for booth decor, the pavilion is a win. The booths, especially the smaller ones, are the perfect size to be decorated and run by 1-2 people.
Decor: The pavilion booths come with a decor package, and for most exhibitors can be decorated probably by carrying a large extra suitcase or two with them on the plane. But if you’d like more freedom (and a less cookie cutter appearance), a regular booth will let you design your look from the ground up using the Messe’s furnishings rental service. Or you can even go to the extreme of shipping a crate if you’d like for a truly custom look.
Location: Since the U.S. pavilion is a fixed location on the Creativeworld show floor, if there is a particular area that you’d like your booth to be in, then you’ll need to do a regular booth rental. On the other hand, the U.S. pavilion is a “destination” at the Creativeworld show for many buyers, so a pavilion booth can have location advantages as well.
Stress: An exhibitor’s stress level may seem an odd factor to consider when selecting a trade show booth, but when embarking on something as ambitious as an international trade show – especially for the first time – it’s a factor that can make or break your success. The U.S. pavilion serves as something of a “safety net” at the show for its resident exhibitors, providing services and assistance. Especially for first time visitors not familiar with the show, this can be a great stress reliever. Pavilion staff can help facilitate securing needed extra services on site, provide information about Frankfurt and the surrounding area (such as where to eat), provide orientation to how the show operates, and just generally help answer questions that come up. And having neighbors that are quite possibly familiar to them from U.S. events is especially nice for those who might be working alone in a pavilion booth. In contrast, you’re quite on your own in a regular booth. Services are available but you must know how to seek them out, and there is no guarantee given the international nature of the show that your neighbors will even speak the same language as you do, let alone be familiar to you! All of this makes the pavilion an excellent option for first time exhibitors, or for exhibitors doing the show with a small staff.
To pavilion or not to pavilion….which option will you choose?