Maximizing Your ROI with Trade Show Rentals

Trade Show Rentals
August 23, 2023

Are you considering a trade show display rental? You are in luck. In most cases, rentals are not only indistinguishable from a purchase exhibit but they are less expensive and offer greater flexibility. Walk any trade show in North America and 40-50% of the larger inlines and small islands are trade show rentals. 

They’ve come a long way from the dinged and dirty extrusion options available from show contractors in the past.  And depending on the rental provider, there are customization options, along with accessories like charging tables, lightboxes, iPad clamshells, counters, and LED accent lights. 

What Are Trade Show Rentals

Let’s start with what they’re not, specifically in North America. First, they’re not used displays driven by a previous exhibitor until the seals are leaking and the tires are bald. Secondly, they’re not dated designs with tail fins and AM-only radios. Nor are they stripped-down models without intermittent wipers or USB ports. Think of them as rental cars, which have been gently maintained and, depending on the rental provider, can be customized to your tastes, preferences, and objectives. 

By and large, rental exhibits are modular structures, built using aluminum or wood, and skinned with direct print or fabric graphics. The modular “bones” allows them to be reconfigurable, so a 10 ft. display may use some of the same components as a 20 x 30 island. The graphic sizes are often standardized, depending on the modular system, so replacing graphics from show to show is straightforward and predictable (particularly for graphic designers). 

Most rental providers rely on standardized panel sizes, typically 38”/46” W x 95 H, as the foundation for creating designs. Those panels connect horizontally or vertically to build 8 ft. H inlines up to 24 ft. H islands. Then the fun begins as designers add LED lighting, backlit graphics, hanging signs, counters, closets, lounges, and even LED video tiles. 

The ability to customize a trade show rental depends on the variety and depth of a rental provider’s inventory. Building a rental inventory is a huge investment and not all providers are willing to make that financial commitment. Many exhibit houses tap into the inventory of national rental exhibit suppliers. These suppliers have thousands of modular panels and hundreds of accessory options, which would be impracticable for a local or regional exhibit house. 

The Advantages of Trade Show Exhibit Rentals 

There are many reasons to rent a trade show exhibit instead of buying one. Here are the most common reasons:

  • Cost Savings: Renting a trade show exhibit can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you only exhibit at a few shows each year. The upfront cost of purchasing a trade show exhibit can be expensive. That expense includes ongoing maintenance, storage, and (eventually) disposal fees.
  • Flexibility: Renting a trade show exhibit gives you more flexibility to change your booth design or size from show to show. This can be helpful if you are exhibiting in different industries or if your needs change over time.
  • Time Savings: Renting a trade show exhibit can save you a lot of time. You don’t have to worry about designing, building, or shipping your own exhibit. This can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your trade show preparation, such as marketing and lead generation.
  • Expertise: When you rent a trade show exhibit, you get the benefit of working with a company that has experience in designing and building trade show exhibits. This can help you to create a booth that is both effective and eye-catching.
  • Peace of Mind: When you rent a trade show exhibit, you have the peace of mind of knowing that your exhibit is insured and properly maintained. This can help to protect your investment and ensure that your booth is in good condition for your show.


10 Rental Exhibit Examples 



nurtec rental exhibit

REN-9171 | The 16 ft. tower with ceiling soffits provides height and visibility in the show hall. The large graphics on four sides allows for branding and messaging from a distance and up close in the booth. The tower has a locking closet door for ample storage and security. 


state farm exhibit rental

REN-9162 | This Island is both beautiful and welcoming while maximizing the 20×20-floor space. It features multiple large-format graphics and an overhead hanging sign. There are several open entrances along with a contemporary curved reception counter (with branding). 


trade show rentals cannon beach

REN-9140 | A well-designed island exhibit should be attractive, inviting, informative, and practical. The RE-9140 combines SuperNova lightboxes and vibrant graphics with upscale monitor kiosks in a booth design that welcomes business conversations and problem-solving. The 12 ft. high central tower is perfect for storing product samples and equipment. 


hydro flask trade show exhibit rentals

REN-9094 |  The 20 x 20 island maximizes the available space with double-sided curved panels. The design includes monitors, meeting areas, optional pedestals, and large tension fabric graphics. In addition, the islands have multiple seating areas shown with rental furniture. All the curved panels are from the patented Gravitee System, so individual panels connect without tools and there are no loose parts or pieces.



inline rental exhibits made coffee

REN-1064 (10 x 10) | The Gravitee One-Step series elevates exhibits to the next level with extensive product shelves, storage, and captivating backlit images. The open inline floor plan is ideal for a casual seating area and a welcoming reception counter. The REN-1064  includes a full-size closet with a locking door.


smucker rental exhibit

REN-1081 (10 x 10) | The RE-1081 strikes the ideal balance of large backlit graphics, tablet/monitor(s), and casual seating, all in well-defined spaces with appropriate social distancing. The large backlit fabric graphics create a seamless visual presentation. 


ring exhibit rental

REN-2133 (10 x 20) | The RE-2133 is an excellent example of a contemporary custom rental with large fabric graphics and clean attractive lines. The open design leaves ample room for seating areas, featuring optional soft seating or bistro tables with bar-height chairs. The fully assembled reception counters include programmable RGB LED accent lights, lockable storage, internal shelving, and vinyl graphics.


exhibit rental for cleaning company

REN-2124 (10 x 20) | Lights combined with colorful graphics may be the single most important key to attracting attention on the trade show floor. The RE-2124 turns the table on traditional lightbox designs by “stepping” (5) 4 ft. x 8 ft. individual lightboxes. The stepping creates visual depth and interest while allowing an exhibitor to tell a compelling story through a sequenced graphic presentation. 

Rental Accessories


rental exhibit

REN-1589 DS Lightbox Counter | Beautiful backlit counters are ideal for both inline and island exhibits. The double-sided backlit fabric graphics will attract attention from any angle. The large countertops make them practical. The counters assemble without tools. 


trade show furniture rentals

REN-1584 Backlit Counter | A custom counter offers the convenience of a fully-assembled component with all the benefits of a custom design. The REN-1584 attracts attention with bold backlit graphics while providing the practical convenience of internal shelves and locking storage. 


Enhancing Your Exhibit with Trade Show Furniture Rentals 

Contemporary rental furniture designs are attractive, comfortable, and often colorful. They are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Rental furniture providers are committed to delivering quality products that are fashionable and pristine. Plus, their selection has improved, along with deeper inventories at most major convention and trade show venues. 

Exhibit designers and exhibitors have gotten more comfortable with adding furniture to booths. The right furniture can make a huge difference in the overall design, transforming a “nice and functional” island into an upscale destination for show attendees. Just 5-10 years ago, exhibit designers were reluctant to add conference tables, upholstered sofas, even ottomans, and accessories to a booth. However, there’s been a push to offer attendees a place to relax, chat, and conduct business within the booth, and designers have responded. 

Typically, trade show furniture rentals are organized into the following groups: 

  • Accent Chairs: Comfortable, casual chairs perfect when paired together or with an end or seating table. See the Malibu or Lena designs as examples.    
  • Soft Seating: Larger upholstered chairs, sofas, and sectionals with matching pieces. See the Emerald Velvet line as an example. Some include charging options.
  • Seating Tables: Cocktail, end, and side tables like the Geo Cocktail Table with a wood top and black metal base.  
  • Ottomans: Colors galore in these fashionable round, rectangle, and curved ottomans.
  • Accessories: A nice selection of safety dividers, rugs, pillows, lamps, stanchions, and lecterns.
  • Cafe Tables: round cafe tables come in both fixed (typically 30” high) and adjustable heights in a variety of colors and finishes. See model CECA-022 with countertop colors in gunmetal, green, orange, yellow, and black. 
  • Bar Tables: Similar to Cafe Tables but with a  height of 40-42”. CEBT-036 is one of 18 designs 
  • Group Seating: Mostly plastic cafe table seating in a range of colors and styles. The Malba (20″ L x 20″ D x 32″ H) is a green or gray stacking chair.

10 Questions to Maximize Your Success with Rental Exhibits 

What Are Your Show Dates?

The show dates establish the shipping and return dates. In general, there’s a standard 3 to 4-week production time and a 3-week rental period. The most important considerations are the installation and dismantle dates, and whether your exhibit should ship to the advanced warehouse or directly to the show site.

Have You Reviewed the Show Floor Plan?

The floor plan is critical to the design and the final booth orientation. By reviewing this together, we can prevent any issues on the show floor.

Are You Ready to Discuss Your Design?

Every exhibitor has unique goals and challenges. Understanding your goals allows the rental provider to create an exhibit designed to accomplish your objectives. This includes reviewing our design galleries to generate ideas like graphic towers, lightboxes, workstations, meeting rooms, and storage. From there, you can either select an existing design or design a customized exhibit complete with renderings and revisions.

Do You Need Assistance With New Graphics?

Do you have an in-house graphic designer who has experience designing large-scale/exhibit graphics? If not, the rental provider may be able to assist you with professional graphic design services. Effective graphics are essential to attracting attention and drawing attendees to your booth. Depending on your graphic design requirements, it’s best to plan for two weeks of creative design and then another two weeks for production. 

Are You Planning to Reuse Your Graphics After the Show?

Would You Like Them Stored Securely to Prevent Damage? If you are planning to rent the same or a similar booth again, your rental provider may be willing to store your graphics until your next show. Some even offer cleaning services. 

Are You Planning to Rent Monitors And/or Furniture?

Exhibitors find that it’s convenient to include monitors with the exhibit shipment, so everything is together and ready to go. Your rental provider can assist you with your A/V and furniture needs. 

Do You Need Installation and Dismantle Assistance?

Your provider can recommend an expert labor company, one that’s familiar with their exhibit systems. Their familiarity means installation is typically faster and smoother. 

How Will You Be Shipping Your Exhibit?

The rental provider can arrange for shipping based on the safest and most economical way to get your exhibit to and from your show for you. Or if you arrange the shipping. 

Do You Have Personal Properties, Such as Products, Giveaways, or Literature, That Should Be Included With Your Exhibit Shipment?

If possible, pack them with the rental booth. It will be cheaper and eliminates the stress of shipping small packages to a convention hall. Last-minute planning will result in significantly higher shipping fees. And stress.

How Would You Like to Preview Your Completed Exhibit?

Always request that your rental provider photograph your booth from every conceivable angle to avoid any surprises on the show floor. In addition, ask them to include the photos in the crate, along with packing photos that are helpful to the labor team as they begin the setup. It’s always exciting to see a newly produced exhibit in photos before your show.

Win the Day with Exhibits Northwest Trade Show Rentals

More and more exhibitors are choosing a trade show rental display because it offers them ongoing design flexibility and a lower upfront cost. But that doesn’t mean the total package has to be a rental. In many situations, it might make more sense to purchase components that will be used again and again, but rent other elements like counters, pedestals, furniture, and A/V equipment. 

Knowing what to rent and what to buy is where Exhibits NW excels. For over 20 years, the ENW team has been assisting clients maximize their trade show potential. Trade shows are not just about choosing an exhibit. It’s about developing a strategic trade show marketing plan and then executing it successfully. Get started by contacting the team at Exhibits NW today.

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.