How to Plan an Exhibition Stand

Author: The London Display Team  |   Publish Date: 10/07/2024

Understanding how to plan an exhibition stand is crucial if you’re going to make a big impact and maximise the Returns On Investment at your shows, events and exhibitions. The aim of any stand is to attract visitors, promote your brand and its services and to, ultimately, help your company achieve its pre-show targets. 


Here we’ll take you through our exhaustive guide to planning your next exhibition stand.

Step 1: Defining Your Objectives

Before you start looking into the finer details of exhibition stand design, you need to lay down some concise objectives that can be measured and, ideally, achieved. These objectives will invariably change from show to show, and should be used to dictate the entire layout and execution of your exhibition stand.


Work out exactly what you want to achieve from the event. Common objectives include brand promotion, lead generation, new product launches or networking with current clients and prospects. Setting these will help you to focus your effort and resources both during the planning stages and the event – and help you work out if your exhibition was a success once it’s over.

Step 3: SMART Objectives

Your event objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound – colloquially referred to as SMART objectives. You should be able to measure these after the event – for instance, “we will collect 100 leads from the exhibition” instead of “we will generate leads”.Understanding what you want to achieve at an event will enable you to qualify whether your stand helped you to reach the objectives after the event, and if not why that may have been.

Step 4: Understanding Your Audience

Research is key when it comes to understanding your audience and getting a grasp of who your stand will be targeted at. 

Be sure to conduct thorough research through the means of visitor surveys, show reports, feedback and analytics from previous shows to get an understanding of who will be visiting.

Step 5: Create visitor profiles

Using collected data and your sales team’s patience, create an image of your “average visitor”. To do this you will generally guess what size of company that person works for, what their job role is and what possible challenges they may face in their job role/industry.

Step 6: Knowing Your Budget

Creating a solid budget plan will allow you to set aside enough resources to create a successful exhibition stand as well as ensuring you don’t spend wildly on things that won’t help you achieve your objectives.

Step 7: Set A Budget

By now you should know how much you’ll have to spend on your exhibition, including the space price, travel and accommodation, marketing and your exhibition stand.
Knowing how much your overheads are will immediately tell you if there’s no room to do the show in the first place, or give you a limit to spend when designing your stand.

The Stand Design & Success

Step 9: Measuring Success

Knowing formulaically the ROI you made at your last exhibition is almost impossible. 

Aside from the stand, you will have to take into account travel, accomodation, marketing, staffing and more. 

You could agree to use soft metrics with your team – i.e how many email addresses you get from a show, but this can sometimes breed a culture of “daylight robbery” if you have a large sales team.

Step 10: The Design

The design of your stand is one of the most important components of making an impact at an exhibition; it will be the first thing the attendee will see when they walk into the event space, it will be the way your business is portrayed and the way it raises curiosity amongst those attending. 

It might seem obvious, but to catch the attention of passers-by, you need to create something that is visually attractive. Among the other stands at an exhibition, this is something easier said than done, but with a professional team and the right materials, it is possible. You could incorporate things like bold colours, uncluttered branding and stand graphics which show off particular products to be placed near the front of the stand. You could even have a digital screen showing content to spark interest.

Functionality: A stand doesn’t just have to be visually appealing – the layout also has to be functional. It is important that people on the stand can move around without trampling over someone, and that any product demonstrators or stand mentors can communicate with potential leads in a comfortable space. Depending on the size of your stand and how many people you will have occupying it during its time at an exhibition, you should also have a good idea of how many people will be needed to comfortably ‘man’ it. Don’t try to cram too many people into a small space as this may intimidate those passing by. Following on from functionality, adding something interactive to the stand can also spark interest. 

Brand Consistency: You’ll have taken time and effort to build your company’s brand identity, so you should incorporate it when you’re designing your stand to be showcased at events. It will make you more memorable to visitors and also help build trust with people who have not heard of your brand until visiting your stand. When you speak to a designer and are happy with your proposed stand design, always remember that even if certain aspects of a design can be slightly modified, your stand should mostly adhere to your brand guidelines.

Professional Help: If you don’t have your own exhibition stand designers, we recommend enlisting the expertise of an experienced and professional exhibition stand company such as ourselves. Exhibition stand companies have faced many different design problems and come up with unique solutions; you will have a dedicated account manager to explain what will and will not work on the build.

If you’re looking for inspiration for the perfect stand take a look through our exhibition stand ideas guide. 

Before You Go

There’s three more areas we’ll be discussing in our exhibition stand planning process before we’re ready to design your new stand; the logistics of how you’ll be delivering it to the venue, storage post-build and how you’re going to measure the success of your event/stand.

Step 11:Pre-Event Marketing

Pre-event marketing should be a serious part of your business’s marketing strategy. It can help to spread the word about your appearance at an event and drive traffic to your exhibition stand.
Social Media Campaigns
Everyone should use social media as a marketing tool; at the time of an event you are attending, it can be a great way to get visitor numbers up and spread the word about your company. Create a profile widget with your designer’s help, telling your followers you’ll be at a particular show and ask them to visit you on the show’s website. Use LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter stories to document the preparation for the upcoming event, and then to show your followers a preview of the finished exhibition stand.

Email Newsletters
Your email subscribers are possibly your biggest fans, and they are the people who are most likely to come and see you at an exhibition. Update them at every stage of the build and when offers are going to be available on the stand so you have the chance to tell the people that want to hear from you.

Press Releases
Press releases are a good way to get the word out about a new product launch at an event or announce your presence at an event. Video press releases can attract attention a lot better, and even be shared by the publication you send it to. Another way to stir up hype on the back of some marketable press content is by asking exhibition news sites to write a feature on the big product launch.

You can partner with a particular exhibition or organise to be featured on their website – this may include your stand design, core values, how long you have been tending the exhibition for, and a portfolio of previous pictures of your stand in action. You can also partner with an exhibition organiser to create a mailout – it isn’t too much of a feature for a show mailout to preview one of the exhibitors.

Email your client base as soon as you know an exhibition is opening. Some shows that expect loads of footfall are becoming more expensive, so the biggest way to insure potential income is getting the leads to your stand as early as you physically can. 

Step 12: Logistics and Operations

In addition to planning, execution is the most important part of the stand to get right. Not having a clear, concise plan can put unnecessary stress on you, and even set a bad reputation for your business.

Whether you’re planning on building your stand yourself, or using an exhibition stand contractor like us you’ll need to give consideration to how you’ll transport your stand and where you intend to store your exhibition stand post the event. Many companies decide to leave their stand with the organisers in return for a hefty discount off their next contract.
We offer a full service delivery and installation service as well as a storage service for your stand post the event, but this will vary depending on the contractor you choose for your project.

On-Site Management: An exhibitor would usually designate one person in their company to be onsite. This includes making sure the floor and surrounding areas of the stand are tidy, dealing with any issues to be able to manage a more personal sale if required, and, most importantly, to answer any queries that customers may have. When exhibiting, it is always helpful to have team members that are in charge of setup and packing down of the exhibition stand.

Contingency Planning: Have a contingency plan in place for potential issues such as shipping delays, technical problems, or staffing shortages. Being prepared can help you handle unexpected challenges effectively.

YOu're ready to go

Whether you need to attract new customers, reach new markets or just generally raise your company’s profile, planning an exhibition stand is vital to ensuring you deliver on your objectives. In our complete guide on how to plan an exhibition stand, we’ve covered everything from objectives, budgets, target audience and exhibition-like environments. After working through the steps in the guide, taking into account some of our expert insight, you’ll have a stand that’s well designed and tailored to do the job it needs to!

If you’re ready to start planning your exhibition stand, get in touch with The London Display Company – we offer complete bespoke solutions that cater to your specific needs to help you stand out and achieve results.