The confusion surrounding the Rental exhibit industry tends to stem from the wide variety of rental solutions available to exhibitors. Many exhibitors may see one type of rental solution and assume all are the same. But in reality, rental exhibits span a wide range of applications. We’ve divided the spectrum of rental solutions into four classes to help bring some clarity to the value of each.
Systems rental is best described as ‘off-the-shelf,’ where an exhibitor literally picks their exhibit out of a catalog (depending on the sales process). As an exhibitor, it is as much your question of “what are my options?” as it is the vendor’s question of “what do you need?” Because each component in the systems rental is existing, changes are limited and difficult to execute; Exhibit Designers at these companies are typically utilized in an effort to render existing designs with a new customer graphics. Systems rental is generally regarded as lower quality with less robust materials, more of an ‘erector-set’ finish, and graphics that are printed onto noticeably cheaper substrates. Most systems designs are upwards of 20-30 years old, produced by seven companies through literally hundreds of distributors.
Used exhibits is exactly what it sounds like: When a client pays a disposal fee to their exhibit-house, often instead of filling a dumpster with their old exhibit, the exhibit house will sell it to a new rental customer. The design process is based upon which expired exhibits are available in storage. Small adaptations to existing designs are more economical than actually maintaining a custom rental inventory. This is one popular way bespoke exhibit companies compete on rental projects, at minimal risk, and maximum profit.
Three-use ownership is another method custom exhibit builders use to pitch rental solutions to customers, though it’s never called 3-use ownership. Most popularly, it’s sold as “rent-to-buy” or “savings with repeated use.” It is exactly the same as purchasing a custom exhibit, while securing a first-use discount, and contractually ensuring multiple uses, which guarantees profitability to the exhibit house. If an exhibitor changes the ‘rental exhibit’ after the first use, they are charged for modifications the same as if they had purchased the new property.
True customized rental is the best of the systems world combined with the custom world. Designers create a unique custom design for each client by choosing from an endless catalog of widgets. This includes structural elements, like aluminum beams and wood panels, and aesthetic elements, like product display counters, furniture, and all of the connector parts necessary to bring it all together. Changes are easily made to branding elements thanks to the ease of utilizing fabric printing. When an exhibitor needs to stretch beyond the catalog (i.e. unique product-specific display requirements) a new property is developed. If it has potential to suit other customers in the future, that property stays in the rental ‘fleet,’ but is often purchased by the customer, creating a hybrid-ownership model. Customized rental requires a deep inventory of properties, as well as a deep roster of designers and engineering detailers. It places unique challenges throughout the organization, but is proving to be the most effective exhibit solution for exhibitors.
The custom rental solution is the hybrid approach that is driving the rapid growth of rental in the industry. The ability to create custom designs without purchasing every nut and bolt allows exhibitors to spend less on each exhibit and invest more in relevant branding and interactivity.
To learn more about Catalyst’s custom rental exhibit solutions, click here.
Author: Jordan Stocker
Digital Marketing Manager