They say the devil is in the details.

This old saying definitely applies to trade show design, where it can be tempting to focus a lot of attention on bells and whistles without addressing the one detail that often makes or breaks a booth.

That detail? The basic floor plan.

Before you start putting pen to paper designing your next trade show booth, here are some things to consider as you plan how your booth will be laid out to handle a constant stream of passing attendees.

Consider Your Staff

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The people working your booth are the frontline of your organization at a show. That means the floor plan should take their needs into account from the outset.

For example, think about ergonomics. Ask yourself how your staff will physically work in the space, and whether your floor plan makes that work easy or cumbersome.

Will there be a registration area? A demo station? In the often cramped environment of a trade show, your staff within these two areas need room to work efficiently. Otherwise, you risk creating a logjam of attendees at your booth.

Download Now: The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Trade Show Booth

Another thing to consider is staff morale. Remember, your team members are likely working many hours, for many days, while standing in the same location. Make sure they have a way to charge their phone, a place to securely store their bags, and a mirror to check their appearance on the sales floor.

Consider Interactions

In general, there are three types of trade show attendees:

  1. Lookers are attendees drifting past booths with no particular goal in mind
  2. Seekers know they have a problem to solve and are investigating solutions
  3. Explorers are ready to buy and are exploring granular details such as budgets, timelines, and other logistics
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A good floor plan will address the needs of each of these types of attendees. Lookers, for instance, need an area that captures their attention. Seekers need a place to easily find information. Explorers require a space for more one-on-one communication.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a Looker on day one may often become a Seeker on day two and an Explorer by day three. That means designing your floor plan to address the three types of attendees, and those who are returning, is critical for success.

Consider Behavior

As you’re designing your trade show booth, you have an opportunity to influence the way a person behaves in that environment.

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For example, you can strategically create a sense of intrigue for attendees moving past your booth through content and visuals that make them slow down their stride. You can reel them in by creating a question they need an answer to — an itch they need to scratch.

By being strategic in how you want attendees to encounter your booth, you can better control how they flow through the experience.

Consider Engagement


Every trade show booth has points of engagement, and where you place those points is incredibly important — not just for you brand, but for other attendees at the show.

Say you have a five-minute demo. The wrong location for this engagement point would be next to an aisle, where the trade show cacophony is distracting. Instead, place it inside the booth itself, where an attendee who steps inside will already be committed to having a conversation.

Product giveaways, in contrast, should nearly always be placed next to an aisle, where it’s easier to create a quick sense of intrigue in passing attendees. And when designing the floor plan of your booth, make sure your graphic and digital imagery are visible from the aisles, or you risk getting lost in a sea of bodies moving through the show floor.

For more useful tips on making your trade show booth a success, download our free resource, The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Trade Show Booth.

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The Ultimate Guide to Designing a Trade Show Booth

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Event Marketing, Booth Design

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