How to Know When it’s Time to Upgrade Your Booth

October 6th, 2015 by Interex Exhibits



When you own a trade show exhibit, routine maintenance and sprucing should be par for the course. Still, there will come a time when more significant upgrades, or even an entirely new display, are necessary. Here are a few tips to determine when that time has come, and which course of action you should take.

Rule of Thumb

Industry standard for the lifecycle of a trade show display is around 3-7 years, depending on frequency of use and maintenance. If you exhibit three times a year and you’ve had the same booth for 10 years, it’s probably time for a new display or, at minimum, substantial upgrades. In addition, make safety a top priority. Keep a constant eye out for damage sustained in transport, storage or setup that could render your booth unsafe for staff and laborers.

New Strategy

You might need to upgrade even sooner if your company image, offerings or marketing objectives have changed substantially. If you’ve introduced new products and services, you might need to target a new audience. If you’ve rebranded, all graphics need to revamped. If your marketing strategy has changed enough to significantly impact the number of shows you attend, it might make sense to go with a different type of display or even switch to renting.


Though purchasing a new booth can be an expensive endeavor, so can keeping an old one. For instance, many older displays are made with heavy materials. If you exhibit frequently, the cost of shipping alone can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Many modern displays are lighter, more durable and cheaper to move. In addition, older booths may take longer to set up and as such, require the use of valuable staff time that could be allocated elsewhere.

Appearance and Technology

If your booth looks outdated, it’s time for a change. Nothing stands out more than faded graphics and archaic design elements. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new booth every time a banner fades, but make sure your display receives regular design upgrades to keep the look current and on-point with your brand. The same goes for technology. Make sure you’re on pace with competitors when it comes to elements like interactive tablet technology and high-tech lighting configurations.

Refurb or Buy New?

If your booth is indeed in need of an overhaul, first consider refurbishing. Modernize your design with a new floor, switch to LED lights, replace graphics or all of the above. Refurbs are also a good option for exhibitors who exhibit sparingly. However, if you are a regular exhibitor and your display checks off some key boxes (high logistical costs, out-of-sync with current marketing strategy), a new one could make the most sense.

Ultimately, the decision between refurbishment and purchase should be made by careful assessment. Inspect your display for areas of improvement, identify the current logistical costs and state your company marketing goals. Determine how many times you plan to exhibit in the next few years, and put together a realistic budget. Then, work with an exhibit house to determine the best options to fit your needs.

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