online icon

Speak to our experts

How much does it cost to exhibit at a trade show in the UK?

An exhibition’s main goal is to showcase products or services to drum up interest in them or your brand, effectively spreading awareness and ultimately securing a sale at a later date. This means that your exhibition is not expected to be a one-time payment for which you gain no financial reward; it’s a marketing campaign, and like one, it has an ROI (return on investment). According to Marketing Charts, ROI for the average exhibit is 25-34%. Therefore, your budget has to take projected income into account. 

The following is a breakdown of the costs involved with exhibiting at a trade show.  

What is my trade show budget made up of?  

Firstly, let’s break down where your budget will be going before we calculate what should go where. The four main areas where your budget will be spent are as follows: 

  • Trade Show Space – To exhibit at a trade show, you’ll need to rent the space in which your stands and presentation will be situated. There are a lot of variables as to how much you will pay for space, as technically there are plenty of discount deals to take advantage of, especially when you book your slot early. Nonetheless, the average cost of trade show space per square metre is £300 – £350, but it can sometimes even range from £100 – £500. Bear in mind that this is based on some of the major exhibition venues, though prices will vary in some smaller exhibition venues. 
  • Trade Show Stands – Stands come in different styles and formats. There are two main things that will determine how much you pay for stands – the size and design of the stand you wish to construct, and the materials used in the construction. Specialised stands exist but often come at a premium. Should you want something  which is fully branded and particularly striking, but more cost-effective, modular tension fabric graphic displays are an extremely popular option. Starting from around £2450, they provide a much more professional alternative to pop-ups and standard shell schemes without the price tag of fully bespoke builds.
  • Marketing Materials – Appropriately branded, well-designed marketing literature is essential to effectively promote your products, services or brand. These can include a range of printed materials such as brochures, flyers, product catalogues and business cards. You can also benefit from eye-catching visuals, such as signs, banners, and in particular, suspended branded light boxes, which enable people to identify your brand at a distance across large exhibition halls. Additionally, there are optional materials, such as giveaway items. 
  • Travel and Accommodation – Travel and accommodation options often present a limited choice, depending on many variables such as exhibition venue location, time of year etc. The most appropriate mode of travel depends on geographical location, distance, public transport links, the number of people as well as the volume of kit requiring transportation. The budget required can depend on how early you are able to make the booking; there can be discounts and deals for early transport bookings. That being said, accommodation costs can be more predictable, with a price range of £50 – £200 per night as the norm. 

So how do I decide on the budget?

The most common metric for companies who are interested in exhibiting their products or brand is to set a budget of four times what you pay for floor space. So that leaves the question of how to decide how much floor space you need, which entirely depends on what you’ll be placing on the trade show floor. 

What you will place on the trade show floor is determined mainly by your booth. Your booth size should be made completely in line with what you want to do with your exhibition. For example, if you’re showing off your new electronic tablet, you want stands installed with security measures. You also want to make sure there’s walking space within your stand, as attendees will not want to be cramped.

Tips to reduce trade show costs.

Cutting costs is a big part of business profits. The following are some of the ways you can mitigate what you spend: 

  • Trade Shows Outside of Main Cities – The larger, popular trade shows almost always take part in the big cities, and they are pretty expensive. Even though regional events will be smaller, they will be cheaper and will likely still attract your target audience.
  • Share Booths with Other Companies – Although it may seem alien to do this, it makes sense when you think of compatible products and services to your own, that aren’t your direct competition. Sharing responsibilities of setting up and staffing the booth will also reduce the number of people you need on-site too. 
  • Make your move early – Being early essentially just means acting in advance. If you book your flights and hotels early, you can take advantage of the discounted price. For flights and railway tickets booked 2-3 months in advance, you can save up to 60% on the standard price. The same practice applies to space, as well as just about anything else that has high supply and low demand. This situation changes adversely as time goes on, leading to heightened prices and higher costs. 


Hopefully, Showplace’s guide to costs associated with trade shows has been useful for you, but we can help you with any questions you might have regarding your exhibition requirements. Costs will very much depend on how much of an impression you are wanting to make on potential customers and the amount of investment you are willing to make to ensure that your marketing efforts at exhibitions are a success.  

Got a question?

Our experts are always on hand to give you any help and advice on all our services

Related News

chat icon