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Key Elements of a Trade Show Budget

Setting up a trade show budget can certainly include a lot of thought, research and input. You must consider the key elements of a trade show budget and how to choose a reasonable budget that enables you to perform better and reach out, and help achieving your trade show goals. Your trade show budget should be in complete accordance with the objectives of your trade show participation and therefore, it’s an important piece of the trade show planning puzzle.


To consider all kinds of expenses related to your trade show, start working on your budget at least six months before the trade show begins (if not 9 or 12 months prior). Most of your trade show budget would go into renting the booth space alone and 32% of your entire budget, on average (according to Exhibitor Magazine’s previous studies).

The next element of a trade show budget is exhibit design, graphics, shipping and show services. These items will all include all your exhibit design and layout needs for your booth, such as the graphics, display, shipping, labor, cleaning, power, internet, and other maintenance and technological needs of the booth. Around 43% of your budget would go into all of these exhibit related items.

The final portion of a trade show budget includes promotional activities, travel and other expenses. You can limit your travel expenses by booking in advance for airlines and hotels. Lastly, I always recommend an additional 5% -8% (or even 10%) as a “buffer” or emergency expense for unforeseen items or an emergency expense.


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About the Author

Michael Flavin is a trade show strategist & exhibit consultant at Skyline Exhibits & Graphics Mid-America in St. Louis, MO. He works with companies & organizations to eliminate headaches from their trade show, event marketing & recruiting programs. Overall, he offers total, turn-key solutions, focused on creating memorable experiences, lowering operating expenses and increasing ROI. In addition, Michael consults & trains booth staffers and helps companies measure results from their trade show programs. He also helps exhibit marketers design St. Louis trade show displays.

3 responses to “Key Elements of a Trade Show Budget

  1. Hi Quentin,

    I’ve not seen a specific updated stat published since then. However, in my personal experience, the booth space rental averaging 1/3rd of a trade show budget is still accurate.

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