Key Reasons to Choose a Portable Display

Exhibit Design
August 10, 2021

It’s tempting to view portable trade show displays like fast food hamburgers. We all have our favorites.  Some cost as little as a few dollars. Others begin to approach $10 depending on the size, the number of patties, and the fixings. Yes, there are differences, but in the end, they’re hamburgers. 

In reality, portable displays are more like tacos, chicken wings, roast beef sandwiches, gyros, bento boxes, and fish and chips. The variety is astonishing, from pop up banner stands to modular hybrid displays, as well as a wide range of prices and quality. The one thing they have in common is that they are UPS or FedEx ship-able and best when they’re designed and created by an experienced trade show exhibit company.  

What is a Portable Display?

So what is a portable display and how do you choose the perfect one? Honestly, it’s confusing, especially if you do a quick search on the web. In the world of trade shows and events, “portable” typically means the display packs in a case, bag, or box that can be carried or wheeled into a show. In theory, most exhibitors ship their display because wheeling your cases across a four-lane highway to the exhibition hall in 90-degree weather isn’t conducive to a pleasant trade show experience. 

They can be as simple as retractable banner stands, as easy to install as a collapsible pop-up display, or as adaptable as a hybrid exhibit with shelves, storage, and a wide range of accessories. Some are ideal as a tabletop display. Others are made for a 10, 20, even 30 ft. linear booth. There are even two-sided displays that can be repurposed for lobbies or showrooms when not at a trade show. 

However, portable doesn’t automatically mean easy-to-assemble or tool-less, or even lightweight. Many have those qualities but not all. Nor does portable signify low quality or high quality. That depends on the price, the manufacturer, and the system. Which can vary widely. In other words, it’s the Wild Wild West, and it’s possible to purchase the wrong display for all the right reasons. 

Portable Trade Show Display

Key Benefits of a Portable Trade Show Display

Many portable displays are astonishing examples of creative engineering. Open a pop-up display for the first time and you may have to catch your breath from amazement. How can anything so small open to something so big? Tube systems are brilliant examples of compact packing and clever pillowcase graphics. And banner stands are practical, convenient, and simple. 

So, what are the benefits of a portable trade show display? 

  1. Portable (obviously). Portable means a lower cost to ship and a faster install and dismantle.
  2. Cost. Portable Displays, even the more elaborate or fancy portables, are less expensive to buy than custom modular or custom exhibits. 
  3. Storage. There’s no bulky crate or large tubs to store between shows. 
  4. Graphics. Since the displays are smaller, the graphics are generally less expensive to buy and replace. Which is important if you plan to switch out your graphics frequently. 

What are the disadvantages?

  1. Aesthetics. In other words, appearance. Portable displays tend to look portable. There are exceptions, like the Symphony System, but an exhibitor striving for a more upscale look should consider other options.
  2. Accessories and Customization. Most portables have limited accessories, such as locking storage, tablet enclosures, literature holders, and monitor options. Again, there are exceptions to this rule. 
  3. Quality. As with any product category, there are low, middle, and high-end manufacturers and systems. Knowing which is which can be tricky, especially if you are researching and shopping on the web. Don’t point and click! Ask questions from an exhibit professional. Point and click may save you time, but it won’t save you money.   

Utilizing Pop Up Banners

Pop-up banners or banner stands are everywhere! They are versatile not just for trade shows, but also for events, retail, lobbies, directional and informational signage. Most take less than a minute or two to assemble/disassemble. Depending on the brand, the graphic can be replaced with minimal training. 

The price and size options are frankly overwhelming. So what makes one $99 and another $399? Quality. Both for the retractable canister and the graphic. Less expensive banner stands are disposable. The graphic can be replaced but rarely easily. Plus cheaper banner stand graphics have a tendency to curl over time and lack effective UV protection to protect from fading. More expensive stands are built to last. The spring mechanisms are engineered to survive hundreds of setups. 

While there are many smart applications for a pop-up banner, most companies don’t rely on banner stands as a replacement for a portable display at corporate trade shows. On the other hand, local business fairs, Chamber of Commerce events, recruiting shows, etc. are ideal uses for banner stands since they can be assembled quickly, and the graphics can easily be changed. 

pop up banners

Collapsible Booth Vs. Standard Booth

When choosing whether to purchase a portable collapsible booth vs. a traditional standard trade show exhibit, consider your show and event schedule, your marketing objectives, and your budget. More often than not, it’s not an either/or decision since collapsible vs. standard booths have different purposes. 

Admittedly, not all companies have the budget to choose both. The following questions may clarify which direction makes the most sense for you. 

  • How many trade shows do you participate in a year? 
  • Are there any shows that overlap? 
  • Are there one, two, or three shows that are more important to meet your sales and marketing objectives?
  • Have you reserved (or plan to reserve) a booth space larger than 10 x 20?
  • Does your booth require locking storage, shelving, large monitors, and/or backlit graphics
  • Do you plan to ship the display or transport it in your vehicle? 

A Design Partner for Your Next Portable Display

Regardless of the size of your budget or the display you purchase, consider working with exhibit professionals like Exhibits Northwest. As the premier exhibit house in the Pacific Northwest, ENW has been advising clients for over 30 years. 

To meet your trade show and event marketing objectives, you need the perfect display, one that showcases your company. The team at ENW will ensure that your next show is your best show. Every single time. 

Schedule a Call

If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, Give us a call at 866-473-7511 or complete the form below and we’ll contact you.

Schedule a Call

If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form, and we’ll contact you shortly.

Schedule a Call
If you’re ready to take your trade show exhibits to new heights, fill out this form and we’ll contact you shortly.