If you have never exhibited at a gift show, you need to plan for added extra costs involved with having a booth. Many items are not included in the booth fees but are required by the show sponsors, city officials, or other agencies.
These costs may or may not include the following items:
- Parking fees while exhibiting at the show
- Required contracted labor fees for workers who assist moving your displays or supplies in or out of your booth
- Extra booth decorations, displays and supplies
- Automobile, U-Haul rental or shipping expense needed to get your products and materials to the show
- Gas or plane fare to the show
- Membership fees required to exhibit at certain shows
- Fire retardant materials required by the show sponsors
- Mailers and marketing costs incurred before and/or after the show
Other addition costs not directly included in your booth fees are lodging and meal costs while exhibiting at the shows. Since most gift shows are held in larger cities across the country, lodging and meals costs is the next biggest expense. Most shows are four days with extra time needed to step up and tear down, so you need to budget for about five nights in a hotel which can cost roughly $100 to $200 per night (or more!). And of course, meals costs can add up in a hurry. When we exhibited at the Portland Gift Show in 2002, the accumulated costs amounted to over $3,000 to attend – and that was before we made one sale!
Most trade show sponsors will send you a registration packet once they have received your fees and approved your company to exhibit at their show. In this packet includes valuable information to help with your marketing efforts. When exhibiting at the Portland Gift Show, Western Exhibitors included postcards we could send to buyers as a pre-show marketing campaign. You can send the postcards to your current or potential buyers, and/or to a paid list supplied by the sponsors. After all, the sponsors are interested in making the show as success for you as well.