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The ROI conundrum: Booths vs meeting rooms at events

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Companies spend a massive percentage of their marketing budgets exhibiting at events. The number, some claim, is between 13-15% on average. And close to a staggering 55% of this is spent on meeting spaces. With such massive investments, event marketers need to ensure that they reel in as much business as possible to justify spends and substantiate returns. Moreover, to get subsequently bigger budgets approved, they need to showcase the value of exhibiting at events.

With all of this in mind, let’s break down just how cost-effective booths and meeting rooms are and the implications they have on ROI.

What they bring to the table:

Booths: Booths are the face of the brand and, most often, the first point of contact with prospects and customers. Booths are great tools to project brand presence at the event and help boost awareness. They additionally play a big role in attracting the attention of passers-by and help to subtly reel them into a conversation about the product. The elements around the booth, if planned effectively, can take customers through a learning experience and pique their interest enough to consider what the product, and in extension, the brand has to offer.

Meeting rooms: Events bank on face-to-face interactions to influence prospects who are further into the sales cycle. Irrespective of pre-scheduled or walk-ins, meeting rooms create productive environments typically away from the crowd to help prospects understand the product. They give prospects some much-needed face time with Marketing/Sales and can greatly influence potential opportunities by fostering productive conversations.


Space and utilization:

Booths: The size of booth spaces may vary depending on the scale of the event. Bigger events require more elaborate setups owing to the spike in footfall they are more likely to see.

Depending on whether the meeting space is a 10’x10’ or bigger, the typical trade show booth utilizes elements that need to be spaced sufficiently so as to encourage customer engagement (either with the booth elements or with personnel) and influence them to participate in a sit-down. Optimizing the use of meeting space, therefore, will ultimately boil down to choosing what to include, planning spatial parameters, and managing traffic and footfall.

Related: Simplifying booth traffic management for an enriching event experience

Meeting rooms: Managing meeting rooms is not a simple task. There are many things to be considered while selecting meeting rooms and planning spaces for specific meeting types. Let’s face it. Setting aside the one-off exception, most meetings do not host more than 10 attendees at a time. This means that investing in a 24 seater conference room is not going to be of much use. Similarly, investing in a large number of meeting rooms can turn out to be a waste if the number of meetings that need to be organized is less.

The best way to approach meeting space optimization is by pre-scheduling meetings well in advance. This way, meeting managers know how to plan calendars and allot meeting rooms based on their requirements and capacity.

Average cost:

Booth: The size of the booth space, as mentioned earlier, depends on the size of the event, the footfall, and the budget allotted. For a standard 20’x20’ booth, the average cost will be anywhere between $45k to $60k. Bigger events like MWC or CES will require larger setups and will cost upward of $100k.

Meeting rooms: The cost of meeting rooms may vary depending on factors such as facilities offered and capacity. For a standard 12 seater meeting room, the average cost will work up to between $2700 to $3800 per day depending on the venue and event. A bigger meeting room that can house a meeting with about 20 attendees can work up an estimate of $4800 to $6000 per day.

Implications on ROI and maximizing efficiency:

Booth: The primary aim of any booth space is to attract attention, pique curiosity, and reel them into the initial phase of the sales cycle. With such large investments involved, there is a need to ensure that a certain percentage of these prospective opportunities turn into actual revenue.

The returns of investing in a booth can be equated to the number of badge scans collected by marketing and sales representatives at the booth. In simpler words, the ROI of the booth is the sales pipeline revenue generated at the event.

Event attendees have very short attention spans. They take only three to five seconds to consider if they want to enter the booth. This is a very narrow window for event marketers to work with. This makes it important to design your booth to maximize footfall. The placement of various elements within the booth has a definite and significant effect on the number of walk-ins.

Meeting rooms: Meeting spaces are more than line items in the event organizer’s checklist. A majority of all the sit-down meetings that take place throughout the course of the event take place in meeting rooms. And this makes it important to ensure that they are equipped to handle meetings of varying capacities, fulfill logistical requirements (A/V, catering, and stationary) and are able to help customers engage in a learning experience.

Related: Designing booth exhibits for higher event ROI

Maximizing the utilization of the meeting space is directly linked to the productivity of the meeting. As prospects move further into the buyer’s journey, it becomes important that the conversations that take place are as productive and action-oriented as possible. Taking a look at the number of meetings organized will provide a telling story of how effectively they have been used. The ROI from meeting rooms can directly be equated to the revenue generated from these meetings.

Getting the most out of an event is not a simple task. Event planners do not have it easy. Between setting up the booth to managing meeting spaces, there are a lot of elements that need their attention. Using a well-rounded meeting management software (read Jifflenow), can go a long way in simplifying their tasks and can greatly improve the efficiency of meeting rooms and maximize returns.

Let’s show you how it’s done. Reach out to us for a free demo by clicking on the button below.