Rental vs Purchase

As your company prepares to invest in trade show marketing, you’ll be faced with an important question: Will you rent or buy your exhibit? There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but careful consideration of your priorities will help you to determine what’s best for you and the customer experience you’d like to create. Flexibility, customization, return on investment, availability, and logistical support will all be key factors in your decision to rent or buy your trade show displays.


Your goal is to create a memorable and immersive brand experience that engages your customers. You may decide that the flexibility rentals provide best equips you to meet that goal. If you need to change the size and shape of your exhibit—or simply want to experiment with design elements and messaging—then flexibility may be a priority for you.

Of course, reinventing your brand experience, again and again, will require an investment of your time and creative energy. If you already have established branding and a strong marketing strategy, you may prefer to commit to a consistent customer experience by purchasing your exhibit. This requires less creative energy from one show to the next because you stick with what you know. A consistent approach can also help you to build brand equity and maximize the worth of your corporate identity.


In order to create an immersive experience that helps your customers remember your company, it’s important for your exhibit to match your brand. Rentals do allow for some branding customization through graphics and selected elements. However, the general structure will be somewhat limited by what is available for rent.

On the other hand, purchasing your display gives you complete control over customizing your exhibit. Every single detail can be brand-driven and customer-focused. That level of customization supports company awareness and empowers you to form authentic, lasting connections with potential and existing customers.

Return on Investment

To maximize your return on investment, you’ll want to consider the number of trade shows and events you do each year. On average, a rented booth is ¼ to ⅓ the cost of buying a comparable exhibit. Renting may allow you to design a bigger exhibit with more advanced elements at a lower cost—especially if you lack the capital necessary to invest in ownership.

Of course, if you plan to use your display more than three or four times, rental fees will ultimately add up to cost more than purchasing an exhibit outright. In this case, you’ll want to think of your booth as an asset. You’ll invest in the upfront cost and ongoing storage and maintenance, but the return on investment will be much higher in the long run.


When outlining your trade show marketing strategy, you’ll need to take into account the availability of the elements you want. With rental displays, you’ll be forced to choose from what’s available and reserve it well in advance. You may find that the availability of your preferred elements or materials may change from one show to the next, and you’ll have to adjust accordingly. If that worries you, you may want to purchase your exhibit.

Before you do that, however, take a moment to review your calendar for upcoming events. Does your company attend multiple shows at the same time? If you purchase one exhibit, you can’t be in two places at once, but a rental option allows you to expand your brand’s impact at different events simultaneously. Do you prefer the guaranteed availability of your preferred display that comes with ownership or access to multiple exhibits that comes with renting?

Logistical Support

In some cases, companies will opt for a rental display to decrease the logistical management involved. They like that they can simply ship everything back after an event. Exhibit owners, on the other hand, are in charge of storage, shipping, set up, tear down, and maintenance.

Here at Display America, you won’t have to worry about any of that—even if you purchase your exhibit. Our end-to-end approach provides turnkey solutions. We manage all logistics, storage, and maintenance so you can focus on connecting with and engaging your customers. It’s what makes our approach strategic, seamless, and simple for our customers.

As our client, you’ll receive full support with not only the logistical details but also the overarching strategy. Whether you choose to rent or buy, we will leverage two decades of proven execution to deliver an excellent exhibit rooted in customer intelligence.

If you’d like further help determining the solution that’s right for you, contact us to speak with one of our trade show specialists.

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