Here are some tips and examples that can help you prepare to go about selecting your booth location for your company.

1. Know the rules of booth selection.
Every show has its own particular method for assigning booth space. Some of the most common schemes are:

a. The points method. This is based on weighted points for booth size, seniority (number of years at the show), support of the show (meaning, what other spend will you allocate to the show in sponsorships?)
b. Indication of preference order. Here the hosting association makes final selection.
c. Assigned spaces.
d. First buy, first pick. This is usually for new shows.

Of these the classic and most frequently used method is the points method.

2. Come prepared.
You need time to collect the factors that will influence the decision. Start early. You don’t want the show sponsor to tell you, “Time’s up pick or go to the back of the line.” Get out in front of the choice. It’s too late to device a plan in the middle of the draw,

3. Get the input of others.
Your business has stockholders, a board of directors, CEO, CMO, CFO, vice presidents and directors. Don’t go it alone. Get others involved. Your boss, peers, his/her boss. They will all have insights, recommendations and preferences.

4. Know your show.
While you are at this year’s show, take notes on the layout. It’s likely to be much the same next year. Check out where the competitors are. And list physical considerations like columns, traffic flow, and main traffic aisles. Will you be in a different venue next year? Different floor plans mean a different exhibition layout. Anticipate all the venues your show will take place in.

5. Do your homework.
Make a list of the most likely questions your can think of. Competitors, up front, further back, big guy, etc. Get your boss’s input on these questions. Weight those answers and give yourself a total. It will help you represent the requirements of your company in the five minutes you get to select next year’s booth space.
Have a plan A. But also have a plan B, C, and possibly D.

There’s a lot in play, so to sum up:

• Know the rules of booth selection for your show
• Come to booth selection prepared
• Get the input of others
• Know your show
• Do your homework

Remember you are not likely to win if you don’t know the rules.

This article was originally published in eConnections: A Digest for Event & Exhibit Professionals