How To Choose The Right Exhibition Stand


Choosing the right exhibition stand is one of the most important considerations when it comes to trade show marketing. It is as important as choosing the right booth staff and the right trade show to attend. The biggest risk of choosing the wrong exhibition stand is the amount of unnecessary money spent on unnecessary features and functions which will affect your trade show budget and indirectly your results.

There are three main types of exhibition stands:

  1. Pop up displays
  2. Custom stands
  3. Modular stands

Each of them has their own pros and cons.

However, the question you have to ask yourself when it comes to choosing the right exhibition stand is not the type of stand but what you are looking for in a stand.

For example, if you have a budget of less than $1,500 and don’t really need something that stands out, a pop up display might be your best choice. On the other hand if you have a six-figure budget and brand image is your #1 priority, the custom option might be for you.

Which exhibit features are the most important


An industry research was conducted by Skyline and Tradeshow Week and they asked exhibitors which features are the most important to them in an exhibition stand. Here is what they found.

Easy to setup and dismantle96% said important
Consistent look and brand image94% said important
Flexibility to replace graphics and adapt to different booth sizes90% said important
Reduce maintenance costs86% said important
Reduce shipping and drayage costs85% said important

Quick summary of the benefits of each stand type

FeaturesPop up displaysCustom standsModular stands
Easy of setup and dismantle
Consistent look and brand image
Flexibility to replace graphics
Adapt to different booth sizes
Reduce maintenance costs
Reduce shipping and drayage costs

In this post, we will cover each of the five features in more detail with each of the exhibition stand types.

Factor #1 – Easy to setup and dismantle

How important is choosing an exhibition stand that provides ease of setup and tear down?

  • 96% of exhibitors said this is important
  • 4% said this is not important

Pop up displays – Easy to setup

Pop up displays are the easiest out of the bunch when it comes to setting it up and packing it up. It takes anywhere from one to five minutes to set one up.

Here is a video showing how you can setup our pop up display in one minute.

Custom stands – Require a team of specialists to setup

Custom stands are the most difficult by far to setup because there will be wall panels and large structures involved. You will need a team of specialists to do it for you which means you will have to factor in installation and dismantling (I&D) costs into your budget.

Here is a video of what it takes to set up a custom exhibition stand. Starts at 0:25.

Modular stands – Easy to setup

Modular stands are much easier to setup than their custom counterpart. Best of all, your sales team can set it up themselves without any special skills or tools. Plus it doesn’t take anywhere as long as to setup as a custom.

Here is a video showing (on a small scale) how to setup a modular display.


Factor #2 – Consistent look and brand image

How important is choosing an exhibition stand that provides the ability to have a consistent look and brand image?

  • 94% of exhibitors said this is important
  • 6% said this is not important

Pop up displays – Not ideal for branding

If your business or organisation is not worried about their brand image, a pop up display will do the job in displaying your message at an affordable price. However, it won’t make your brand stand out.

If you are a large corporation like Commonwealth Bank, Nike or BHP, maintaining that brand image is critical to the longevity of the business.

Let’s say you are Commonwealth Bank and your competitors, Westpac and NAB will be at the show, you don’t want to be using pop up displays when they are using custom built stands with huge hanging signs because that would actually negatively impact Commonwealth Bank’s brand equity.

You don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight.

Custom stands – The ultimate brand image builder

Custom stands are the most common exhibition stand choice for large corporations because their stands can be designed in the way they want it. However, it comes with a hefty price tag too.

Modular stands – A custom look without the custom price tag

Modular stands offer you the benefit of having the look of a custom stand at a fraction of the price. On top of that, with most modular stands, you don’t have to pay for shipping and drayage costs because you can transport the stand yourself.

Here is an example of what a modular stand looks like.


Factor #3 – Flexibility to replace graphics and adapt to different booth sizes

How important is choosing an exhibition stand that provides flexibility to replace graphics and adapt to different booth sizes?

  • 90% of exhibitors said this is important
  • 10% said this is not important

Pop up displays – Easy to replace graphics

Replacing a graphic on a pop up display is simple and straightforward. However, when it comes to adapting to different booth sizes, it isn’t the best solution.

Custom stands – Require a specialist to do it for you

With a custom stand, updating your stand to accommodate a new booth size may be difficult and time-consuming. Think of it like changing the initial design of your house to suit a different land size. Replacing the graphics is also not as straightforward as replacing a graphic on a pop up display.

Modular stands – Easy to replace graphics and adapts to different booth sizes

Easily change the shape and size of your booth to suit different trade shows and display requirements. It is also easy to replace the graphics.

Here is a video explaining the flexibility of a modular display system.


Factor #4 – Reduce maintenance costs

How important is choosing an exhibition stand that reduces maintenance costs such as refurbishments and graphics?

  • 86% of exhibitors said this is important
  • 14% said this is not important

Pop up displays – Little to no maintenance costs

Pop up displays have very little moving parts compared to a custom stand. The hardware is also very simple to work with. Because of that, pop up displays require little to no maintenance. The most frequent on-going cost would be the replacement of new graphic prints.

Custom stands – Refurbishments and repairs from wear and tear

In every custom stand, there will be wear and tear. Because of that, there will be repair and refurbishment costs. The industry average for these on-going costs is around 3-5% of the total exhibit.

Modular stands – Little to no maintenance costs

For a modular stand like TRIGA, the hardware can be reused for years and it also comes with a 5-year warranty. The most frequent on-going cost would be the replacement of new graphic prints.


Factor #5 – Reduce costs from shipping and drayage

How important is choosing an exhibition stand to reduce shipping and drayage costs?

  • 85% of exhibitors said this is important
  • 15% said this is not important

Pop up displays – Transport it yourself

Pop up displays are the easiest and simplest to transport around. It packs down easily into a portable carry bag and you can transport it yourself without requiring a logistics company.

Custom stands – Require shipping, drayage and storage

Custom stands incorporate different structures such as hard wall panels, large metal structures and other components. Because of this, you are most likely going to need a logistics company to transport the stand to the event venue. On top of that, you may also need to store the stand in a warehouse which means more additional costs.

Modular stands – Transport it yourself

Imagine having a custom stand that you can transport yourself. That is one of the many benefits of a modular stand. It packs down neatly into portable carry bags which allows you to easily and conveniently bring around from show to show. Plus, unlike custom stands you don’t have to pay another storage company to store your stand.

Here is a video showing how you can pack a 5m modular display tower into one portable carry bag.

Just to give you an idea on how tall a 5m tower is, take a look at the graphic below.

What do we recommend?

If you are looking for:

  1. Something more long-term and can be reused for years to come
  2. Looks like a custom stand without the custom price tag
  3. Can be set up by your sales team
  4. No shipping and drayage costs
  5. Can adapt to different booth sizes

We highly recommend our TRIGA® Exhibition System.

If you are looking for:

  1. Something basic
  2. Easy to setup
  3. Easy to store
  4. Affordable
  5. Aren’t worried about brand image

Then a Pop Up Display is the right option for you.

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