local media insider

Packaging event booths and sponsorships

A checklist of elements to include with two examples

Alisa Cromer
Signature Events at the Chattanooga Free Press just launched a Manxpo. Vendors include restaurants, massage, lazer hair removal, a sports paraphalia store, golf carts, brewing companies and chainsaw art.

This report looks at what to package when selling event booths and sponsorships.

Vendors buy for three main reasons - the chance to meet and mingle with potential customers, branding opportunities from signage and advertising, and obtaining the list of attendees. 

To sell the full value, break into simple tiered bundles - but itemize the full value.  Here are some typical pricing models:

1. Expo booth sales

Pricing of expo booths is partially determined by competition, the potential ROI and the average size of a typical vendor. Booth sales in our sample survey ranged from $350 for a holiday gift expo - catering to very small businesses - to a top starting price of $1,800 for a booth at the Denver Post's Amazing Aging show, where vendors are hotels, cities and airlines.

Whichever the case, keep booth packages simple and easy to understand.  

A basic starter package includes a 10 x 10 booth with a few universal components. These can include a list of attendee contacts, giveaways in the swag bag, extra tickets, advertising in the program and website etc. Be sure to include the value of advertising for the event itself - local media have the advantage of owning a dominant promotional vehicle. 

Here is a checklist of items we've seen included in booth packages:

• Advertising in the event program and website. Tier one of booth sales typically include a 1/8 page four color in the program, and a "non-expiring" link, logo or profile on the website. Best practice here is to leave the website up all year and even spike it with new kinds of content - such as contests that feed event ticket sales - in the off season. A possible upsell is video.

• Extra tickets. At events created by MediaOne of Utah, an addition to the basic package vendors is 50 free electronic e-tickets to send to the store own customer email list and two signs promoting the event for their store. See their  vendor packet check-list here.

• Promotional placement in goodie bags and giveaways at the show. Many companies want the chance for extra product placements, or at least coupons, inserted in attendee's goodie bags. Some shows require merchants to provide something for the swag bag and a giveaway. Hourly giveaways are common as "content" for the show and a great way for merchants to get some extra recognition.

• Multiple events. When company has multiple events with similar vendors, package them into one sale. 

• Don't forget to list promotions for the event and other key benefits. An indirect benefit of buying a booth from a media company is how well-promoted the event will be.

Below is an example of a package offered by the Chattanooga Times Free Press' Bridal Affair. All vendors receive: 

- A full color 1/8 page ad in the program distributed prior to the event to the full circulation of the paper and at the event to attendees. A flipbook  of the program  on the promotional site. 

- A banner ad on the event website for a year

- A List of attendee contacts. The biggest attraction for vendors who purchase booths at the Bridal Affair - may actually be the list of attendees. Of 800 people, who attend 500 may be registered brides.

Booth rentals have the following prices: 

One 10 x 10 booth........................................... $700
Two 10 x 10 booths (10 x 20)......................... $1,250
Four 10 x 10 booths (20 x 20)......................... $2,225
Six 10 x 10 booths (20 x 30)........................... $3,000

Chattanooga calls their events division Signature Events. The vendors area on the website here provides a contract, sales flyer, floor plan and information packet, and video for each show. This is a simple, well designed information center with good models to copy.


Obtaining video and photos at each show is important for sellig next years event. A post-show survey of attendees can help develop marketing to sell booths and sponsors for the next show. Here's an example from a national expo:

2. Expo sponsorships

The key difference between a booth and a sponsorship is that the sponsors are co-branded with the show. The Denver Post uses six tiers of expo sponsorship, culminating with the title sponsorships in the high five figures. Here are some elements to include in expo sponsorships packages:

• Areas and promotional items. Just about any area or item at a show is sponsorable: Entrances, stages, halls, lunches, cocktails, lanyards, badges, seat covers, etc. The more important, visible and interactive the area is in the event, the higher the perceived sponsorship value.

At the Amazing Adventures Denver, one of the vendors, the destination city of Golden Colorado, even sponsored parking.

We've also seen signs on the inside of elevators where a company gave their "elevator pitch". Cute.

Here are a couple of examples of how national shows list the opportunities on web sites - highlighting the ones that are taken:

The screenshot below shows how a national show sells sponsorships on everything, from the charging stations to the badges. Even the program has its own, different,  "title sponsor". This may be overkill for a local show, but should get the team thinking about ways to find value in your events:

Interactive content at the event.

Large, special interactive areas are great for key sponsors. At some Chattanooga Times Free Press expos a hospital is a top sponsor and uses the space to conduct health screenings - popular with attendees and a great source of leads.

At Amazing Adventures, the title sponsor, Mike's Camera, had its’ own Colorado Photography Show inside the expo, including 17 camera manufacturers and a long list of speakers. A kids expo has a bounce house, which can be sponsored by the rental company, or by a separate sponsor. The ManXpo has a climbing wall, golf simulator and other manly activities, all sponsorable opportunities.

Think of vendors who will pay to create content for your show, or trade to supply activities that can be co-branded with a paying sponsor. 

Participation in pre-show and post-show promotions.

Top sponsors receive the benefit of co-branding on all the promotions that are done for the expo. This can include direct mailers, advertising, email, and social media. Spell it out for them!

3. Banquets and luncheons

Business events and conferences have many of the same dynamics regarding bundling in advertising and signage. However, revenues for luncheons and banquets are driven by sponsorships and ticket sales rather than booths.

The typical charge for business luncheon for a recognition event, such as CEO of the year, is $75 for a seat or $1500 for the table. Packaged with advertising in the program and other opportunities sponsorships run from $2500 to $30,000.

Here are some extra elements to package:

• Seating at key tables such as the speakers table. There is value in "where you sit" for the opportunity to meet potential contacts face-to-face, as well as status

• The attendees list. This is key for many sponsorship sales in the B2B category.

• Speaking opportunities. Breakfast or lunch sponsorships can include the ability to introduce a speaker, or give a brief presentation. 

• Table placements. The ability to place promotional materials on lunch or dinner tables also has value. 

MediaOne of Utah has perfected the art of selling corporate sponsorships for monthly recognition luncheons for Utah Business and the Governor's Summit, where sponsorships range from $2500 to $30,000 to sponsor a day long conference. 

Here is the full Sponsorship Package in PDF and a basic chart below:

For these big sponsorships, the exclusivity of seating at head tables, sponsorship of the breakfast, and a page or two of additional advertising in the coremedia is enough to bump the cost by $10,000 to $20,000. See also the full media kit, in high end corporate sponsorship packages, attached.

There are plenty of other types of events. One movie premiere with a red carpet opening acquired an large automotive sponsor, who placed his car on site and sold a $100,000 car.

For local media interested in Golf Tournaments, here's a link to a package. 

For more ideas check out the vendor information templates here.

Please send your best packages to AlisaCromer@LocalMediaInsider.com. 

Alisa Cromer

The author, Alisa Cromer is publisher of a variety of online media, including LocalMediaInsider and  MediaExecsTech,  developed while on a fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute and which has evolved into a leading marketing company for media technology start-ups. In 2017 she founded Worldstir.com, an online magazine,  to showcases perspectives from around the  world on new topic each month, translated from and to the top five languages in the world.

events, packaging, pricing, banquets, expos


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