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“Before You Hit The Venue” – Chapter 5 – Deciding On The Right Stand Location For Your Business

Stephan Murtagh, the Exhibition Guy in his book titled Before You Hit The Venue gives insights on all aspects of Exhibiting in an Exhibition.

The book will be published in TFT in a series for the benefit of its reader. Enjoy and do write back to us with your feedback.


Chapter 5 

Deciding On The Right Stand Location For Your Business

Anytime I have been selling a show from the beginning, companies want to be right at the front of the show as they feel it’s the best location. For some maybe it is but personally I disagree. The first thing I do when I walk into an exhibition hall is to walk fast into the show…maybe that is my own insecurity that I’m going to get accosted by the first exhibitor! But, I am not unique in that and have observed people walking into exhibition halls over the years and suddenly feeling overwhelmed they keep walking to the safety of the centre of the show. The exhibitor at the front doesn’t get the opportunity to greet them as they are running away! Also, the other time the exhibitor at the front gets to see them is when they are walking out the front door after pounding the aisles for a few hours…I think you will agree that this is not ideal either.

My own opinion would be to be located centre to back of the hall as by the time visitors get to your stand they are more relaxed and have already started to formulate ideas as to what exactly they want or are looking for. A more relaxed focused visitor is exactly what you want at an exhibition. Look at the image below…. personally, if I was choosing a location I would be aiming to be in the area with stand numbers B12/B16/C16/12 because they are central, not too close to the front and face the front door and by the time the visitor reaches you is far more relaxed! Now obviously not everyone can have these locations, but a good rule of thumb tends to be the more open the stand the better and central…. when I say open I mean stands that are situated on a corner as they tend to get more visibility.

Some other considerations you should give thought to are who are your neighbors and how big are their stands, I say this because you don’t want to be dwarfed by a huge stand beside you as it may take away from your stand and reduce its impact. I would also be careful about being directly beside a very similar competitor as whilst it may be good for a bit of banter, my experience is that it puts off visitors because they may not wish to go to both of you and visitor awkwardness = visitor not engaging…. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to ask the Organizer who is situated in the stands around you and I would have to question the motivations of an Organizer who won’t give you that information. Many years ago, I witnessed an actual physical altercation at a show I visited where two direct competitors were placed right beside each other. Neither were told that the other one was beside them and this caused a lot of problems. Any Organizer worth his salt will do what is physically possible not to get into a situation like this as nobody wins. So, my tip here is that before you commit to a stand…find out who your neighbors are. You’re doing the show for a reason to meet visitors and you want to ensure they feel comfortable to step onto your stand without the glaring eyes of a jealous competitor!

When you are choosing your location at an exhibition you must decide on the all-important Location, Location, Location! However, this is not the only choice you need to make as you also need to decide on the specification.

  • Corner stand (open on 2 or 3 sides)
  • Island stand (Open on all sides)
  • Centered Stand (Located in the middle of 2 Other stands)

In this section I want to run through these with you so as you can make a more informed choice in what will work for your company and hopefully ensure you have a great success exhibiting.

Corner Stand:

  • Advantages:
  1. Greater visibility than centered stands as more traffic
  2. Plenty of wall space for graphics
  3. More inviting than centered stands
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Less wall space for graphics
  2. More difficult to staff the more open sides
  3. Full interior needs to be more well organized as more visible 


Centered Stand:

  • Advantages:
  1. More wall space for graphics
  2. Easier to staff
  3. Build/Stand cost tends to be less
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Can feel quite claustrophobic!
  2. Easier for potential visitors to pass your stand
  3. Graphics need to be impactful to catch attention

Island Stand:

  • Advantages:
  1. Much more inviting for visitors
  2. Can show physical products much easier
  3. Greater traffic due to visibility
  • Disadvantages:
  1. Stand build tends to be more expensive
  2. Harder to staff
  3. Stand needs to be very well laid out due to visibility


I’m often asked to recommend which option to go with, but it really depends upon your objectives and the type of product or service you are promoting so what I would say to you is just give me a call at any stage and I can give you some advice…I don’t know everything but happy to point you in the right direction!

Find out who your neighbours are!