How to Increase Foot Traffic with Trade Show Flooring

Nothing sets the tone and ambiance of an enclosed space quite like the flooring material. Sadly, while many exhibitors put a great amount of thought into the design of their booth graphics and furnishings, they often leave their trade show flooring as an afterthought—usually renting the least expensive flooring from the show organizer or hosting facility.

Purchasing your own flooring allows you to extend your company’s look-and-feel to the “fifth wall” of your booth, providing a consistent branding experience across all surfaces, in all directions. And it’s not as expensive as most people think: generally, your flooring will pay for itself within 2 or 3 shows, which gives your trade show ROI a big boost.

What Does Flooring Say About Your Brand?

The flooring style you choose can make a big difference not only in how much foot traffic your booth generates, but also in how your brand is perceived. Different materials evoke different perceptions, so it’s important that your flooring accurately reflects your company’s overall image.

  • Carpet and Rugs: Carpeting minimizes noise and invites passersby to step into your booth, sit down, and stay a while. Carpet and rugs say: trustworthy, sophisticated, upscale, warm, friendly, and even dramatic (depending on the colors and patterns chosen). Carpeting is the often the best option for service-based companies wanting to establish an immediate sense of trust and professionalism in the B2C or B2B channels, such as home healthcare service providers, investment firms, government contractors, and the like.


Recommended: Dye-sublimated carpeting allows companies to customize their flooring with full-color logos, graphical color blocks and patterns, or photo-realistic backgrounds. Or, for those who are concerned about the weight of rolled carpet, interlocking carpet tiles are another great option, with the added benefit of being reconfigurable to fit different booth sizes.

  • Hardwood and Wood-Look: Wood and wood-look flooring sets an entirely different tone. It says: contemporary, open, fresh, clean, unique, and a little unexpected. Wood flooring usually works best for tech companies, retail stores, and restaurants. And while some might consider wood flooring as noisy, cork-based wood is available as a quieter option.


Recommended: Real hardwood flooring may look intimidating, but most people are surprised to learn that it can be laid down in under an hour by just one person, making it as practical as it is beautiful. Or, if shipping costs are a concern, you might also consider rollable bamboo flooring, which is just as easy to install, but weighs much less.

  • Vinyl: The most versatile of all flooring types, vinyl comes in a dizzying array of patterns, styles and colors to correlate with almost any branding strategy. The options are fairly limitless. A high-contrast, black-and-white tile design, for example, says: bold, trend-setting, exciting, modern, with a little “in-your-face” attitude. Car dealers often use vinyl flooring, as well as any company looking to make a big splash with color and design.


Recommended: Whatever pattern or finish you choose, just be sure that the vinyl flooring you select is specifically manufactured for high traffic volume, which means it should include a non-skid layer on the bottom, as well as anti-fatigue padding. The best vinyl trade show flooring should also lay flat immediately upon installation.

Add Flooring Extras for a Seamless Experience

No matter how well-thought-out your trade show booth design is, it never hurts to get a second opinion. Consider partnering up with a trade show design expert to help you avoid some common flooring “gotchas.” For example, you can avoid creating tripping hazards by asking about flat electrical cables that lay flat to hide conspicuously under your flooring, as well as investing in bevel-edged flooring that help visitors to more easily transition from the concrete aisle to your booth floor.

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