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Trade Show Budgeting: Where to Splurge and Where to Save

saving money on trade show costs

Participating in trade shows can be a highly effective way to promote your business, launch new products and network with industry peers. However, the costs associated with these events can quickly add up. This is why it’s essential for companies to strategically plan their trade show budgets. 

Knowing where to splurge and where to save can help you maximize the return on your investment. Here’s a guide to smart budgeting for your next trade show.

Splurge: High-Quality Booth Design

First Impressions Count: Your booth is the face of your brand at the trade show. Investing in a high-quality, professional booth design can set you apart from competitors and attract more visitors. A well-designed booth that reflects your brand’s identity and values can also create a lasting impression on attendees.

Save: Promotional Materials

Go Digital: While it’s tempting to produce large quantities of brochures and flyers, consider the environmental impact and the likelihood of these materials ending up unused. Save by opting for digital promotional materials that can be easily shared and don’t require printing costs. QR codes linking to your company’s website or product pages can be an effective and eco-friendly alternative.

Splurge: Interactive Experiences

Engage Your Audience: Interactive experiences, such as product demos, virtual reality setups or interactive screens, can significantly enhance visitor engagement. These elements encourage attendees to spend more time at your booth, giving you more opportunities to connect and communicate your brand message.

Save: Swag

Quality Over Quantity: While freebies and swag are great for attracting visitors, they can also drain your budget with little return on investment. Instead of opting for cheaper, generic items, invest in fewer, but higher-quality items that are useful and relevant to your audience. This approach ensures your brand is remembered long after the event is over.

Splurge: Staff Training

Your Team is Your Best Asset: Well-trained and enthusiastic staff can make a huge difference in the success of your trade show appearance. Invest in training your team to engage effectively with attendees, convey your brand’s message clearly and follow up on leads. The human element cannot be underestimated in its ability to foster meaningful connections.

Save: Accommodation and Travel

Plan Ahead: Travel and accommodation can significantly add to your trade show expenses. Save by booking flights and hotels well in advance to get the best deals. Consider renting apartments instead of hotel rooms for longer stays, and use public transportation or shared rides to reduce travel costs.

Splurge: Lead Retrieval Systems

Capture Every Opportunity: Investing in a reliable lead retrieval system allows you to efficiently collect and manage contact information from potential leads. These systems can provide valuable insights and streamline the follow-up process, ensuring you don’t miss out on any opportunities.


Balancing your trade show booth budget requires strategic planning and an understanding of where to allocate your resources for maximum impact. By investing in the right areas, you can achieve a successful and cost-effective trade show experience. Remember, the goal is not just to cut costs but to invest wisely in opportunities that will yield the best returns for your business. Schedule a consultation with IGE Group to learn more about building and designing a winning trade show exhibit — and on a budget you can afford!