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s your company's exhibit property a relic compared to your peers'? Should you refurb your booth in an effort to extend its lifespan? Will rental or custom-rental options really save you money in the long run? To answer these questions and more, EXHIBITOR issued its 2011 Rental/Refurb Survey, sponsored by Lynch Exhibits Inc.

The survey asked exhibit-marketing professionals about their existing inventory of exhibit properties, the age of those properties, their experiences with refurbishment, and their propensity to rent exhibits in the foreseeable future, among other things.

According to the results, exhibit ownership is still the status quo, with 89 percent of exhibitors owning at least one structure and nearly a quarter of respondents owning five or more. On average, those exhibits are roughly four years old, and travel to somewhere between five and 10 trade shows per year. But with an average expected lifespan of about five years, many are ready for a little refurb.

Nearly six in 10 exhibit managers have refurbished an exhibit in the past, ranging from minor refurbs such as updating graphics or exhibit elements to major refurbs, like completely reskinning or reconfiguring an old booth. Regardless of the extent of those efforts, exhibitors found them worth the investment, with the majority extending the life of their structures by approximately one to four years.

When it comes to rental exhibits, three-quarters of marketers understand the benefits associated with them, but only about one-fifth have taken advantage of rental options in the past 12 months. Most renters prioritize criteria such as design, customization options, and price over floor plan, payment options, or vendor reputation when shopping for a rental. And while custom-rental options are a relatively new phenomenon in the industry, a near-majority are familiar with the heightened customization and lower upfront investment they afford exhibitors, while nearly one-third have considered custom rentals for their own programs.

The following information contains key data points from our 2011 Rental/Refurb Survey, along with a handful of participants' quotes in response to open-ended questions regarding rental exhibits, refurbishment options, and their owned exhibit properties.



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