Trade Show Booth Regulations

Trade Show Booth Rules & Regulations

Posted on 22, June, 2015

Last Modified on 25, June, 2015

So, you're ready to head to your first trade show. You have your sales pitch down pat and your custom booth is ordered and on its way. You even bought some of those ergonomic bar stools and an anti-fatigue floor mat to keep you on your game all day. But did you stop to think if any of this stuff would be allowed in the trade show’s convention hall? For example, did you know that a booth over 12’ tall probably won’t be allowed or that you can’t deliver that sales pitch from anywhere but the confines of your booth? Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the most common trade show booth regulations and rules so you can double and triple check that your exhibit is compliant before the big day arrives.

*Your exhibitor manual will have the specific details on exactly what is or is not compliant for your trade show venue, so check it out for the full details when you're done here!

Types of Booths

In order to understand which rules & regulations apply to your exhibit, first you'll need to know what type of booth you're using:

  • Standard - The most common style of trade show booth, also called a linear booth, is 10’ x 10’ and has other booths on its back and sides
  • Perimeter - Same makeup as a standard booth, also 10’ x 10’ - but shares two side walls with other booths and its back is up against a wall
  • Peninsula - Any booth sized 20’ x 20’or larger with aisles on three sides
  • Island - Any booth sized 20’ x 20’ or larger and is surround by aisles on all sides
Styles of Trade Show Booth

Now, let's dive into the 6 most common categories of trade show booth design rules!

1. Height Restrictions

  • Standard Booth - For your standard 10' x 10' booth, the height of the display is restricted to 8' height on the back and sides of the booth. From the front of the booth to 5' back, the walls can be no higher than 4'
  • Perimeter - For a perimeter booth, height is restricted to 12' height on the back and sides of the booth. From the front of the booth to 5' back, the walls can be no higher than 4'

2. ADA Requirements

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires all exhibits to be equally accessible to attendees with disabilities.

  • Trade show booths must be equally accessible to all persons, providing the exact same experience/access to all
  • Must provide ramps if the booth features a raised floor
  • Exhibitors can be fined for non-compliance

3. Stay Within 10' x 10'

  • Cannot place displays outside of the 10' x 10' area of the exhibit booth
  • Cannot engage in marketing activities outside of the booth area
    • No "guerilla" style marketing

4. Don't Obstruct Sight Lines

  • No displays taller than 4' allowed in the front half of the booth
  • Cannot obstruct sight lines to any other booth

5. Lights & Electrical

  • Check your exhibitor manual for exact specifications of what is/is not allowed
  • Secure electrical cords to the floor with tape
  • Lights cannot extend out of boundaries of the booth space
  • Spotlights must be directed towards the inside of the booth
  • Lighting cannot be obnoxious or distracting from other exhibits

6. Music Rights/Permissions

  • Don't play copyrighted music that you do not have permission to use
  • You can license the songs you want - but it can get expensive
  • The bigger your brand, the more likely that you'll get in trouble for using music without a license

You don't want to do anything to jeopardize the success of your upcoming trade show, and we don't want you to either! Be mindful of these 6 common regulations and you're sure to knock-em dead!