Upcycle Your Exhibit for a Brand New Experience

August 1, 2015

A trade show display is a big investment and most businesses don’t want to just throw that money away. But sometimes the law of diminishing returns sets in. That $60,000 booth that made such a great impression 10 years ago may be giving off a bargain basement vibe today.  It can be tough to know the best route to take. As a result, many companies just leave old exhibits sitting in storage, accruing storage charges without getting any benefit.

What can you do to make the most of your existing exhibit? First, ask yourself a few questions to evaluate the impression your exhibit is making.

·         Is your exhibit keeping up with the latest trends?

According to Global Experience Specialists, one of the top trends in marketing at trade shows and other live events is fostering customer engagement in your brand. “Marketers across Corporate America continue to harness the incredible power of face-to-face marketing—using ‘brand experiences’ as a critical part of the modern era marketing mix. Event and trade show programs have become fully high-tech engagements that connect and engage—before, during and after an actual event or trade show. The result? Stronger marketing programs powered by stronger experiences,” GES states.

·         Does your booth space invite people in or keep people out?

GES also notes that audiences are expecting more inviting and entertaining booth spaces from exhibitors. Your booth configuration should make people feel comfortable, not trapped, which requires open spaces and places for easy interaction.

·         Does your exhibit reflect your current brand identity?

Even longstanding brands go through changes and updates. If you don’t think you can afford to replace your booth, you also can’t afford to send outdated marketing messages or make a poor impression on prospects. Of course, for companies that have been sold or have changed their names, a booth update is an absolute must.

Buying a brand new custom booth may be the best answer if your budget permits but it isn’t your only choice. Exhibitors can reap benefits from avoiding the costs of throwing the exhibit in the trash by choosing one of four upcycling options.

Upcycling is a big trend in home furnishings and décor – as people turn worn-out or dated furniture into fresh design statements. That same concept can apply to your trade show display.

Four upcycling options:

1.       Trade in your old exhibit for a new exhibit and reap the savings.

If your exhibit is still in working order and structurally sound, you may be able to trade it in for a new exhibit from a trade show exhibit firm that offers trade-ins. Trading in your old exhibit can yield a significant discount on the cost of a new exhibit. Not only will it save on your budget, but it will also help save the planet through upcycling.

Of course, some exhibits have seen heavy duty and are just too worn to refurbish. Others are too big and heavy and would cost too much to ship in relation to the value of the trade-in or resale.

If the exhibit is in good condition, the exhibit firm may be able to offer a discount of as much as 10 to 20% off the purchase price of a new exhibit s of the same size or larger. Even pop-up exhibits are eligible for trade-in, if they can be refurbished.

2.       Revamp your exhibit with new graphics and added elements to make it look like new.

Although a complete refurbishment of your booth may cost more than it is worth, revamping your exhibit properties may be an economical option. For example, you can have new graphic panels made and add new elements with custom or rental modules, such as lightweight banners or technology kiosks. An exhibit designer can advise you on options for revamping your exhibit.

3.       Sell your booth to a local buyer.

Research of the resale market for exhibits has shown that a used display can sell for 10 to 40 percent of the original purchase price.  The exact amount that your booth will fetch depends on its age, current condition, size, materials and the ability to reconfigure the components. Your accountant should be able to help estimate the depreciated value of the asset.

4.       Donate it

If your booth is beyond its usefulness in an exhibit setting, you may find a local charity that would be happy to receive it as a donation and repurpose it.  Local non-profit organizations can find creative ways to reuse the displays. 

Do something!

Whatever upcycling option appeals to you, it is better to do something with your old booth than to do nothing. If you have the sneaking suspicion that your exhibit is outdated, the time has come to trade up.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.