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How do exhibition venues make money?

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Venue Rental

The primary source of income for exhibition centres is the rental fees charged for hosting events. Exhibitors and event organisers pay fees to rent exhibition space, conference rooms, and other facilities within the centre. Rental fees for exhibition spaces can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Location: Prime locations in high-traffic areas within the exhibition centre typically command higher fees.
  • Size: Larger spaces naturally cost more than smaller ones.
  • Duration: Rental fees may vary depending on whether you’re booking the space for a single-day event or a multi-day exhibition.
  • Event Type: The nature of the event can influence pricing. Specialised exhibitions may have different rates.
  • Demand: Popular exhibitions with high demand for space may have premium pricing.
  • Additional Services: If you require extra services like booth setup, A/V equipment, or catering, these will add to the overall cost.
  • Sponsorship: In some cases, exhibitors who opt for sponsorship packages may receive discounted or included booth space.

These factors should be carefully considered when planning your exhibition to ensure that you budget effectively and choose the right space for your needs.

Different Sponsorship Packages

Exhibition centres offer sponsorship packages to businesses looking to promote their brand or products. However, some exhibitors seek more personalised solutions to impact events significantly. If you want to create a unique and attention-grabbing exhibition stand, consider exploring our custom exhibition stand-building services. It’s a great way to tailor your presence to your needs and goals.

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Sponsorship packages can vary from one exhibition centre to another, but here are some common elements:

  • Logo Placement: Your logo is displayed prominently in event materials.
  • Signage: Opportunities to have your branding throughout the exhibition space.
  • Advertising: Space in event programs, websites, or apps.
  • Promotional Activities: Exclusive speaking slots or sessions.
  • Booth Space: Some packages may include booth space.
  • Networking: Access to exclusive networking events.
  • Customization: Options for tailoring the package to your specific needs.

It’s important to carefully review the sponsorship packages offered by the exhibition centre to determine which aligns best with your goals and budget.

Remember, it’s often beneficial to plan your budget carefully and consider the overall value and convenience that these services provide when making decisions about sponsorship, ancillary services, and food options.

Venue Rental – Pros and Cons


  • Provides exhibitors with a dedicated space to showcase their products or services.
  • Offers a centralised location where exhibitors can access their target audience.
  • Allows exhibitors to benefit from the infrastructure and amenities provided by the exhibition centre.
  • Exhibitors can leverage the reputation and visibility of the exhibition centre to enhance their own brand image.


  • Rental fees can be costly, especially for prime locations or larger spaces, which may impact exhibitors with limited budgets.
  • Limited availability of preferred spaces or dates, especially for popular exhibitions.
  • Exhibitors need to carefully plan their booth layout and design to maximise their space and attract attendees effectively.
  • The competition among exhibitors in close proximity can make it challenging to stand out.

Services and Facilities

Exhibition centres often provide additional services and facilities to exhibitors and event organisers for a fee. These may include audio-visual equipment rental, internet and Wi-Fi services, event coordination and planning services, catering, booth setup and dismantling, and more.


  • Exhibitors can access a wide range of services and facilities conveniently within the exhibition centre.
  • Additional services such as audio-visual equipment rental, event coordination, and catering can enhance the exhibitor’s overall experience and professionalism.
  • Access to the Internet and Wi-Fi services enables real-time communication and digital engagement with attendees.
  • Booth setup and dismantling services save exhibitors time and effort.


  • Additional services and facilities may come at an extra cost, impacting the exhibitor’s budget.
  • Exhibitors may need to rely on the availability and quality of the centre’s services, which can vary.
  • Outsourcing certain services may limit exhibitors’ control over the execution and customisation of those services.
  • Exhibitors may need to coordinate with multiple service providers, adding complexity to their planning process.

Sponsorship and Advertising

Exhibition centres often offer sponsorship packages to businesses looking to promote their brand or products to the event attendees. These packages can include logo placement, signage, advertising opportunities, and other promotional activities during the event.


  • Sponsorship packages offer exhibitors increased visibility and exposure to a targeted audience.
  • Logo placement, signage, and other promotional activities can enhance brand recognition and credibility.
  • Exhibitors can leverage the exhibition centre’s marketing efforts and reach a broader audience.
  • Sponsorship provides opportunities for exhibitors to engage with attendees and build relationships.


  • Sponsorship fees can be expensive, especially for prime promotional opportunities.
  • Limited availability of certain sponsorship options, as they may be limited to a specific number of exhibitors.
  • Exhibitors need to ensure that the sponsorship aligns with their target audience and marketing goals.
  • Competing sponsors may dilute the impact of individual exhibitor’s branding and messaging.

Ancillary Services

Exhibition centres may offer ancillary services such as on site parking, storage facilities, business centres, and specialised event services (e.g., registration, ticketing, security) for an additional fee.


  • on site parking, storage facilities, business centres, and other ancillary services provide convenience for exhibitors and their staff.
  • Specialised event services such as registration and ticketing streamline the exhibitor’s operations.
  • Exhibitors can access additional security measures to protect their products and equipment.
  • Ancillary services enhance the overall attendee experience and create a professional environment.


  • Ancillary services may come at an extra cost, impacting the exhibitor’s budget.
  • Reliance on the centre’s services may limit flexibility and customisation options for exhibitors.
  • Quality and availability of certain services may vary, potentially impacting the exhibitor’s experience.
  • Exhibitors may need to coordinate with multiple service providers, adding complexity to their logistics.

Concessions and Food Services

Many exhibition centres have food courts, cafés, or restaurants within their premises. These establishments generate revenue through the sale of food, beverages, and snacks to event attendees, exhibitors, and visitors.


  • Food courts, cafés, or restaurants provide convenient access to refreshments for exhibitors and attendees.
  • Concessions and food services contribute to a positive and enjoyable event experience for attendees.
  • Exhibitors can utilise these services to host meetings or networking events in a casual setting.
  • Additional revenue streams for the exhibition centre may contribute to the overall quality of the event.


  • Limited food options or quality may not meet the preferences or dietary restrictions of exhibitors and attendees.
  • Exhibitors may need to allocate additional budget for food and beverages, impacting their overall expenses.
  • Crowded food areas can make it challenging for exhibitors to have focused conversations with potential customers.

Membership and Subscriptions

Some exhibition centres offer membership or subscription programmes that provide additional benefits to exhibitors and event organisers. These programmes may include discounts on rental fees, priority access to event spaces, and other exclusive services.


  • Exhibitors can enjoy additional benefits and perks through membership or subscription programmes, such as discounts on rental fees and priority access to event spaces.
  • Membership or subscription programmes provide exhibitors with a sense of exclusivity and belonging within the exhibition centre’s community.
  • Exhibitors can take advantage of special services or resources offered exclusively to members or subscribers.
  • Access to networking opportunities with other members or subscribers can lead to valuable business connections.


  • Membership or subscription fees may add to the exhibitor’s expenses, especially if they are unable to fully utilise the benefits.
  • Limited availability of certain benefits or services may not meet the specific needs of every exhibitor.
  • Exhibitors may need to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio to determine if the membership or subscription programme is worthwhile for their business.

Retail and Merchandising

Exhibition centres may have retail stores or kiosks selling merchandise related to the events or exhibitions taking place. These stores can include souvenirs, books, branded merchandise, and other products.


  • Exhibition centres’ retail stores or kiosks offer exhibitors an additional avenue to promote and sell their products or branded merchandise.
  • Retail and merchandising opportunities allow exhibitors to extend their reach and increase brand exposure to event attendees.
  • Exhibitors can generate additional revenue through sales of souvenirs, books, and other products related to the events or exhibitions.
  • Exhibition centre retail stores provide a convenient on-site shopping experience for attendees, increasing the likelihood of impulse purchases.


  • Exhibitors may face competition from other retail outlets within the exhibition centre, affecting sales potential.
  • Setting up and maintaining a retail presence requires additional resources, including staffing and inventory management.
  • Exhibitors need to consider the cost-effectiveness of retail and merchandising options in relation to their overall marketing strategy and target audience.
  • Limited space or availability within the exhibition centre’s retail area may restrict exhibitors’ participation.

Conferences and Workshops

Exhibition centres often host conferences, seminars, and workshops alongside exhibitions. Revenue is generated through ticket sales, registration fees, and sponsorships for these educational and networking events.


  • Hosting conferences, seminars, and workshops alongside exhibitions allows exhibitors to showcase their expertise and thought leadership in a specific industry.
  • Exhibitors can attract a targeted audience interested in educational and networking opportunities.
  • Revenue from ticket sales, registration fees, and sponsorships can offset exhibition costs and contribute to overall profitability.
  • Exhibitors can establish themselves as industry leaders by participating as speakers or panelists in these events.


  • Additional planning and resources are required to organise conferences and workshops alongside the exhibition.
  • Exhibitors may face competition from other events or sessions happening simultaneously within the exhibition centre.
  • Balancing exhibition and conference responsibilities can be demanding for exhibitors, requiring effective time management and staffing considerations.
  • Exhibitors need to ensure that the topics and content of the conferences align with their target audience and marketing objectives.

Venue Partnerships

Exhibition centres may form partnerships with external organisations to host specific events or exhibitions. These partnerships can include revenue-sharing agreements or joint promotional activities.


  • Venue partnerships allow exhibitors to access unique event opportunities that may not be available otherwise.
  • Joint promotional activities and collaborative marketing efforts can enhance exhibitors’ visibility and reach.
  • Revenue-sharing agreements provide a mutually beneficial arrangement for both the exhibition centre and exhibitors.
  • Exhibitors can leverage the reputation and resources of the venue partner to enhance their brand image and attract a wider audience.


  • Finding suitable venue partners may require additional time and effort for exhibitors.
  • Shared responsibilities and decision-making processes may introduce complexities in coordinating logistics and executing marketing strategies.
  • Differences in branding or messaging between the exhibition centre and venue partner may pose challenges in maintaining a cohesive identity for exhibitors.
  • Exhibitors need to carefully assess the potential risks and benefits of venue partnerships to ensure alignment with their goals and target market.

Government Support and Grants

In some cases, exhibition centres receive funding or grants from government bodies or public entities to support their operations and development.


  • Government funding or grants provide financial support to exhibition centres, leading to improved facilities, resources, and overall event quality.
  • Exhibitors can benefit from enhanced infrastructure and services resulting from government support.
  • Government-backed exhibitions may attract a larger audience, increasing exhibitors’ exposure and business opportunities.
  • Reduced rental fees or subsidies for exhibition


  • The availability and amount of government support or grants can be unpredictable and subject to budgetary constraints.
  • Eligibility criteria and application processes for government support may require significant time and effort from exhibitors.
  • Reliance on government funding may create dependence and uncertainty for exhibition centres and exhibitors.
  • Government support may come with certain restrictions or obligations that exhibitors need to adhere to, potentially limiting their flexibility.
Patrick Wells
Founder & CEO, Booth Exhibits™
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