Setting up a Booth at an Outdoor Event

Booth space at outdoor events, such as fairs and trade shows, can be a great venue for selling products and advertising services. However, in order to be successful, a booth needs to draw an audience by being visually interesting and clearly presenting the products or services it is selling.

One of the first things to consider when setting up a booth is a tent. Sitting in the sun or rain all day without any shelter can be pretty uncomfortable. Arizona has beautiful weather for outdoor events most of the year, but tents still are useful as a visual draw and to protect products and people from the sun.

When choosing a tent for your booth, there are several things to consider. What size space are you renting? Standard booth size is generally 10’x10’; however, some events may provide smaller or larger spaces and you can generally rent multiple spaces if you have a lot of product. Make sure the tent you are renting is the correct size for your booth. Do you want walls on the tent? Walls can provide additional protection from the weather, especially if it is a windy day, but on the other hand you might prefer open sides on the tent so people can see your product from all four sides. Some tents are available with removable or lift-able fabric walls so you can remove them if you do not need them. If you are getting a tent with walls, do they need to be load bearing so you can hang pictures or other items from them?

How are you planning on promoting your product? Do you have signs, posters, or other media to attract people to your booth? How are you going to hang your signs? Are you going to need an easel? Additional promotional items such as feather flags and sky dancers can also help draw people to your booth.

Once you get people into your booth, how are you going to show your product. The interior of the booth can be as simple as a table and a chair or it can be complex with media players, racks and shelves full of product. Be careful not to overwhelm your audience by having too much product or too cluttered a set up. Products should be organized, easy to see, and prices should be clearly marked. If you want to bring extra product just in case, remember, not everything needs to be out and on display. Out of the way bins and drawers can be useful for stowing away replacement products and additional items you do not have room to display.

Vendors often lose customers because they get behind setting up their booths so be sure to arrive early so you can have plenty of time to set everything up to your satisfaction. If the fair allows you to come set up the booth the day before, consider doing so, but keep in mind any security concerns. You might decide to set up the tent, table, chairs, and shelving but wait to put your product out until the day of the show. Multi-day shows provide an extra challenge if security is a concern as they may necessitate pulling product and setting things up on a daily basis. Whatever product you do decide to leave out can be covered with a blanket or placed out of view so it is not as big a draw for thieves. If you get a tent with walls, close them up at night so they hide what is inside. Some vendors who do a lot of shows invest in trailers to display their work in or use security fencing that they can lock up at night.

Use your booth to get your information out and collect your customers and clients information. Have fliers and business cards available at your booth. Free giveaway items are always a good idea, especially if they have your name and number on them. A jar of candy can be a cheap and effective way to draw people to your booth.

Make sure you have a way to collect people’s information, especially email addresses, once you get them to your booth so you can gain later sales and business. A guest book can be helpful, but many people will be hesitant to sign in. A more effective way to gather information is by having a drawing for some sort of prize. The prize does not need to be really expensive, but it needs to be something people want. Consider giving a gift certificate for your product or services. Send out an email to all of the addresses after the show thanking them for visiting your booth, inviting them to your web-site, and offering some sort of special on your products and services. Making sales at your booth is nice, but finding repeat customers is even better.

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