All you need to know about exhibiting in Europe

All you need to know about exhibiting in Europe


If your company is planning to take their step forward in the European market, we understand how much it would help to build strong brand awareness on a global scale. Exhibiting in Europe provides you a great opportunity to broaden your customer base beyond your horizon. It not only would help you expand your business on the continent but give you the exposure of a new worldwide market. As per the statistics, over 90% of the world’s leading international exhibitions take place in Europe, which equals to more than 11,000 shows per year. Germany is said to rank first followed by France, Spain, and the Netherlands to organize the shows annually.

Being a part of the European exhibition will not only help you connect with vendors in the same business but will also help you get in touch with your prospective customers and strengthen your customer base. Europe hosts 12 of the 15 biggest exhibition venues across the whole world and therefore, attracts exhibitors, dealers and potential customers not just from Europe but from North America and Asia too. This data certainly braces up your decision to explore the European market place. But, before getting your ‘slice’ of this huge market potential, you need to know a few things before exhibiting in Europe.

Language and Custom

While exhibiting, language plays a vital role to communicate the right message across your audience. It is found that the majority of European countries have a good understanding of the English language, which will make it easy to communicate in the region. However, if you’re exhibiting in a particular country such as Germany, then it is advisable to have someone at your booth who speaks German to communicate efficiently with your visitors. Moreover, you need to be aware that certain words or phrases might not be politically right in the country you choose to exhibit. Such as the English word ”slim” means smart or successful in Dutch while the same word means worthless in German.

Etiquette and Punctuality

It is important to understand the country you’re planning to exhibit in. Research a bit about their culture, city and the people as hospitality plays a major role in European shows. It is observed that every country in Europe has a different perception like suppose in countries like Spain or Italy, being late is not considered impolite whereas in, a country like Germany punctuality is the most appreciated quality. Remember that your attitude towards time-keeping will reflect the integrity, professionalism, and dependability of your business. Apart from this, find out about the dress code, such as whether they expect a formal appearance or a casual one? Because most countries in Europe prefer dressing up formally.


Local Exhibition Contractor

One of the important decisions while exhibiting in Europe is to choose the right stand builder as the customs in Europe are way different. Therefore, having a local exhibition partner is a preferred option as they are aware of all the statutory guidelines and rules and regulations of exhibiting in Europe, which will make it easy for you to exhibit. For example, you need to have stand approval from your organizer that ensures the stability of your exhibition stand before installing the booth at the fairground. You also need to have a fire safety certificate. There are certain shows that do not provide rigging points just in case you wish to have a hanging sign. For this, you need to check with your organizer about the height restriction criteria.

Shipping & Transportation

Exhibiting overseas requires a lot of planning especially the shipment of your exhibiting materials that are heavy. European countries prefer modular exhibition booths for their shows as they are portable, flexible, and sustainable. And so you could select a modular booth which is lightweight and does not require much space in transportation. Apart from this, having a modular booth construction is economical as they are easy to set up and do not require much labour work because labour in Europe is expensive. You could transport through the sea, which is a cost-effective solution, but you need to plan your conveyance months ahead. Also, if you choose a local partner, it would keep the cost of transport on a budget.

In conclusion, it is good to know some of the challenges you might face while exhibiting in Europe as it is different from exhibiting elsewhere. Europe is definitely a potential market that offers ample opportunities to boost sales. Keeping the above points in mind, and getting a local stand contractor will make your exhibiting experience in Europe worthwhile.



No Drayage Cost

Unlike in the USA the labor costs for trade shows in Europe are not always governed by labor unions. As such the overall labor costs include that for loading, unloading the exhibit material from and into the truck at the stand builder’s warehouse and at the fairground i.e. the exhibition venue. There is an additional cost for putting the empty boxes, crates, and cartons back from your booth into the waiting truck and bringing it back to the booth during dismantling after the show. This is called “empties”. Although the unpacking is done by your exhibition contractor; empties involves manual work and labor time and could be high depending on how many and how big boxes you have and how soon you have ordered. The following are the costs involved for trade show material handling in Europe:

  • Loading the exhibit material into the truck at the warehouse
  • Unloading at the fairground
  • Putting the empties (boxes, cases, crates) into the truck from the booth
  • Getting the empties to the booth after the show
  • Loading the material into the truck at the fairground
  • Unloading the material at the warehouse

There is no drayage cost in Europe at any location which makes the material handling for trade show booths in Europe less expensive than in the USA.

Plan Ahead

There are a whole bunch of utilities and services an exhibitor needs to plan and order before the show. These include transportation to and from the fairground, material handling, and installation/teardown of the exhibition stand. Since a majority of these services involve manpower the costs tend to increase as you get nearer to the built update. It is advisable to start planning and ordering these well in advance in some cases even up to one year before the show to avoid last-minute rush hour prices. You may choose to take the services of a local contractor who offers full-service trade show solutions. Their project managers would ideally ensure you get a price within the budget you had expected the booth to be executed.


Booth Design

Of course, your trade show booth design is of utmost importance to capture your target audience. However, just like the languages and cultures differ in different parts of the world so does design appeal. In Europe the visitors generally like minimalistic both design with more open spaces for people to move around the booth rather than a cramped one with no elbow room. Another aspect is to have all marketing material like brochures or handouts stacked inside the pantry away from the visible area so that the booth looks neat and fresh for every visitor even by the last day of the show. You can get some insights to find your ideal booth design for Europe with our booth selector tool

Organizer Approvals and Norms

Just like in the USA and the UK trade show organizers in Europe have a set of norms that necessitate statutory approvals well before the opening of the show. This includes static stability approval, fire safety approval and in some cases even environmental hazards being caused due to the use of wooden constructions that get scrapped after the show. It would help to go through these after booking a stand to ensure there are no hiccups during the actual building of the booth. Your local trade show booth contractor can also go through these and get all the approvals on your behalf since he is expected to know better considering their local presence. Most of the organizers provide forms for ordering electricity and cleaning online and available in the English language to help even the international exhibitors order with ease and at regular rates.


About Expo Display Service:-

Expo Display Service has over 4 decades of experience in exhibition stand designing and construction, making it your most reliable exhibition partner in Europe. Started in 1979, we have crafted well over 1000+ stand designs for both our European and international clients.

We have the largest online catalog on exhibition stand designs! With just 3 clicks on our, Expo Stand Configurator get your perfect match!




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