Is a Booth in the 2018 WEG Vendor Village Worth $9,000+?

The Trade Village at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

One of the best parts of big events, IMO, is the vendor village. I love to wander around and buy/lust over/eat/drink all the things. For exhibitors, it’s a win-win. They have the opportunity to get their product in front of its target horse-loving audience, who may or may not have had one too many Bloody Marys and be susceptible to expensive lapses in judgement.

The golden ticket destination for equestrian vendors in 2018 is, of course, the World Equestrian Games at Tryon International Equestrian Center in September. With an estimated attendance of 500,000 over the course of two weeks, the vendor village will be prime shopping real estate.

It’s also rather expensive.

A Breakdown of Cost

Here’s what you’re looking at for a booth in the World Equine EXPO Vendor Village throughout the 13-day duration of the event:

9′x10′: $8,118.34
10′x10′: $9,020.38
18′x10′: $16,236.68
20′x10′: $18,040.75

Additional fees apply for prime location: $533.75 for a corner, $1,067.50 for an end, and $2,135 for an island. A 48’x10′ bulk trailer space will run you $26,644.80. RV parking spots are $1,868.13 for the duration.

Not included is pricing for power, which starts at $170.80 for 500watts / STD 110v svc through $2,401.88 for 24-hour heavy duty motor/machinery needs. Additional fees for lighting, wifi, flooring, walls, build outs etc. is not yet available.

Advertising is another add-on. If you want your business listed in the printed program, that will cost $213.50 extra, or $320.25 with your logo. Full-color ads in the program are $2,688.75 for a half-page or $4,803.75 for a full page.

Entrance tickets are also extra — a 13-day discounted employee pass costs $249.80 — although one parking pass is included.

Find more WEG vendor information and an application here.

Bottom line:

To get your foot in the door as a WEG vendor, with the smallest available spot ($8,118.34), minimal power ($170.80), a basic program listing ($213.50), and a couple employee tickets ($499.60), you’re looking at $9,002.24 … plus travel expenses and the cost of lodging for two weeks.

Is It Worth It? 

To recall, there was quite an uproar about trade fair pricing in advance of the 2010 WEG in Lexington. Despite fees ranging from $10,000 to $17,500, all 300 spaces sold out. Once WEG was underway, vendors complained that there was very little traffic into the trade fair due to inadequate signage, upon which games officials rerouted the main gate exit through the trade fair. 2018 WEG organizers have already clarified that the vendor village will be located between the two entry and exit points to the venue, through which all attendees must enter and exit.

2010 WEG vendors expressed a mixed bag of reviews. “Their success varies widely,” an article in the Lexington Herald-Reader, “Vendors Take a Big Risk at WEG,” reported. “Booths selling equestrian gear and souvenirs seemed to be doing well; high-end jewelry and other expensive items not directly related to riding or caring for horses — not so well.”

Bottom line:

With half a million spectators coming through, you’re going to get traffic, but will you do enough sales to balance out the hefty vendor village price tag? That’s the $9,000+ gamble.

Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event Trade Fair. Photo by Leslie Wylie.

In Comparison

Vendors have plenty of options when it comes to where and how they market their products to the equestrian world. Start-ups and vendors on a budget may find that setting up a tent at a local horse trial is a great way to get their feet wet, and many bigger events have been working hard to draw both horsey and non-horsey spectators.

Looking at spring events: Last week’s Red Hills International Horse Trials, which expected to draw about 20,000 spectators over the course of the event, made 10’x20′ spaces available for $400-$450 including power and a lighted tent. Jersey Fresh International (May 9-13), another community-minded event, offers options ranging from a $150 for a 10’x10′ bring-your-own-tent setup to $510 for a 20’x20′ four-sided tent, or vendor/sponsor packages for $1,250 . Electric is $55 extra. Carolina International (March 21-15) ranges from $350 for a 10’x10′ bring-your-own-tent space to $800 for a premium 20’x20′ space with four-sided tent. A bit further into the calendar year, Great Meadow International (July 6-8) has some affordable options, ranging from $500 for a 10’x10’ to $1,600 for a 20’x20′ space; tents are included, electric and program ads are extra. Many other opportunities abound — visit event websites for details.

The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (April 26-29) is another price point up:

Indoor Booth Space Rental
10’x15′: $1,750
20’x20′: $3,875
20’x30′: $4,950
30’x30′: $6,450

Individual Tented Space Rental
10’x10′: $1,450
20’x20′: $4,400

Outdoor Exhibition Space
20’x20′: $2,200

The rentals include: space for four days, two parking passes, four worker passes, one 20-amp electrical circuit, link on event website, listing in program, discount on program advertising. Tables, chairs, pipe and drape, wifi and telephone lines are extra. Find more information and an application here.

Bottom line:

From start-ups on a shoestring budget to established retailers, there’s a perfect trade fair fit for everyone somewhere. Find your place in the world and go get ’em!