Friday, April 11, 2008

Sizing budgets to booth size

When upgrading from smaller spaces to larger spaces make sure you also grow your budget accordingly.

My example is a show that was on a schedule last year and is still on this year, but a 10x20 space was purchased rather than the 10x10 that was bought last year. The show was a success, so we wanted to expand our presence. This year's (inherited) budget was based on last year's plan (not actuals). Last year, the exhibit was a portable in a 10x10 space. This year, a custom exhibit with a larger staff graced the 10x20 space. Not only did the cost for the space itself (the real estate), but the cost of services (cleaning, drayage, freight, electrical, labor) grew along with the complexity of the presentation.

Gone was one guy (probably a sales guy) setting up a pop up on an unpadded rental carpet. In it's place was a custom exhibit that came crated and required professional labor to set up. In addition, multiple computers requiring internet lines and more electricity were in the booth. More staffers taking up more travel budget and running complex programs that needed attention to design and load on the computers came with the package.

Needless to say, the $10K budget did not come close to covering the $30K final outcome. So, other shows will either be not attended or downsized to meet the budget.

Lesson learned: always, always look at last year's budget and grow the planned budget for the next year. If the size increased, everything has to grow, not just the space cost. Plan on a 3 to 1 growth going from 10x10 to 10x20. But be realistic.


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