Booth Storage – Making The Most Of Less Storage Space
New clients will often list booth storage as one of their top requirements in a booth design. We’d like to review the pros and cons of trade show booth storage in some detail, and make some suggestions.
When asked, “What do you need to store in your booth space, and how often will you access this storage during the show hours”? Clients often give a quick answer based one convenience alone.
If you ask the booth staff, they want to arrive to the booth space and have a place to store their computers, purses and bags of literature, samples and giveaways. If you ask the Exhibit Manager, they may add the need for giveaway items and/or products to be stored. They are usually planning to store all of their literature and giveaways within the booth, as well as the boxes they came in for quick repacking after the show. If you then tell the Exhibit Manager how much they are paying for their booth per square foot, they will often cringe at the thought of using valuable booth space for storage.
There are ways you can manage storage items with very little inconvenience. We like to consider all types of booth storage and other clever ways to significantly reduce the required storage within the booth space to save money while giving up very little in terms of time and hassle.
A look at the common types of booth storage:
Locking counter storage – This may be the most common type of storage. Most booths have at least one counter and its easy to plan to store items in the base of that counter or other counters as well. It’s common for these counter doors to lock to secure your items when your away from your booth space.
Behind the booth storage – If your booth is an inline booth space or split island booth space with a neighboring booth on one side, its common to store items in the narrow space between the two booths. Most shows request that you give an 18” walkway behind your booth for electrical access, but very often this is ignored. If your strategy is to store behind your booth, it’s easy to plan for it to be installed with whatever space behind that suits your needs.
Towers with closet door access – It’s common for a client to want a locking storage closet in their booth. This is especially true for clients that need the space inside counters for computers, hubs and routers, and especially if they have a good amount of giveaway items to manage. We can add doors to most of our tower designs, providing quick and inconspicuous storage for your whole booth staff.
Full on storage / computer server rooms – This solution is considered in larger booths. If you booth space is large and your booth staffs many people, you may have a special need for a command central or break room. We often see requests for a small locking storage room that can serve as a data hub, a storage room, and staff break room. The outer walls of these storage rooms can provide great usable space for graphic messaging or mounted TV’s with demo counters.
Storage Lockers – Some larger shows offer small storage lockers for rent. These are metal lockers with wire panels, locking doors and rolling wheels. They are typically 3 feet wide by 4 feet deep by 6 feet tall. When you order these lockers, the show delivers them to your booth space. Once you’ve loaded it up, they move it to a location off the show floor where you can access during the show as needed. These offer security and convenience and can be a great solution to consider. You need to first find out if the show is offering these before comparing this solution against others.
Here are some ideas to discuss before diving into your booth design:
Use your hotel rooms to store items – Consider keeping literature, giveaways, boxes and small cases in one of your hotel rooms with a folding airline luggage cart. Take what you need each day of the show and wheel out your literature, samples, etc. that have accumulated in the booth space by the end of each day.
Yes, this requires someone to wheel these items each morning and after each day the show closes, but our experience shows that the benefits in cost and reduced clutter outweigh the minor inconvenience. Many exhibitors would find that this savings allows them to easily afford at least one room close to the show hall even if all other staff is staying offsite at a lower cost hotel. Who knows, maybe you’re the lucky booth staffer with a sweet hotel room, all you have to do is wheel a small cart!
Use peel away graphics to access storage space inside tower – This option has a few noteworthy benefits. Your booth structure may require towers to have some depth to be stable. Sure you don’t want to waste that internal space, but you may also not want a door to disrupt the clean crisp booth graphic message.
There are easy ways to use this space without the added cost of a locking door, with peel away graphic panels. This option is meant for items that you won’t need to access during the show, such as those empty packing boxes and small traveling cases, because peeling the panel back too many times can weaken the adhesive tape. This can include your inventory of giveaways and literature that you will only access before and after the show each day.
Have your install/dismantle crew take some items offsite that they can bring back at the end of the show – This option appeals to many of our clients. It cost nothing and can be a great hassle free solution for storing your boxes and small cases that you will want back soon after the show closes. As you likely know, most shows need 2-4 hours to return empty storage, but your install and dismantle crew is allowed on the show floor as soon as the show officially ends. At that time they can return your boxes and cases, and you can be packing up soon after the show ends.
Overall, once you understand the cost impact of dedicating space in your booth for storage, and you evaluate what’s truly needed during the show each day, you will make better cost-saving booth design decisions. Working with an install crew like Exhibit People, you will have the added option to enlist our help in storing and returning smaller storage items at the end of show.
Talk with any of our Project Managers to brainstorm how best to handle your storage needs. We’ll help you weigh your options and think outside of the box in the process.