Either way, there are a few really important things to consider.
Location. Yes, like with anything, location is important, but maybe not as important as you may think. You absolutely do not want that little screwed up booth lost in some back corner by the broom closet! I remember once I had a booth in building 3 of AmericasMart in Atlanta (it was one of my very first shows) and I couldn't find my booth! GREAT start! if you can't find your booth, how are the buyers supposed to find you? They didn't!...It was nightmarish!...
No show producer will appreciate me telling you this, but if they could sell you a bathroom stall as a booth, they would!
You need not be the top booth at the top of the aisle, front and center to have a great show...and you probably won't get that booth anyhow, but if you know that you have some good, established companies in your aisle, or, on the contrary, lots of new and exciting little companies that any good buyer will want to go check out, then you should be pretty safe.
Remember, (and this doesn't apply to Atlanta...Atlanta is a whole other story, that I will get to) a good buyer will walk the whole show. They are human, they will miss stuff, they might be on a call while passing your booth and simply not look up, it happens, and it sucks...but thorough, good buyers, looking for interesting, new, innovative products, ideas, display inspiration and trends will walk the whole show. The New York Gift Fair is set out on a grid, it is organized and easy for buyers to know where they are at all times and what they have seen and not seen yet, (unlike the Atlanta show! Ahem).
So before you say YES or NO to a booth that a show proposes to you, think through the pros and cons and ask for all the information. This is not an inexpensive venture you are embarking on.
A dark booth is a death sentence! Yep, no doubt about it! Bright, sunny, inviting booths, are going to get a buyer's attention, save the dark stuff for your living room or better yet, your bedroom. If no one can see what you are selling, no one is going to buy it.
Some shows supply you with lighting, Je Love these shows! How nice is it to show up to your booth and have the lights up and ready to go?...SO nice.
Some shows supply you with lights, but, not enough lights!
Now this really pisses me off! Why? because you think you are getting a deal (you never really are when it comes to trade shows!, if it's too good to be true, like most things, it probably is. Actually, I am wrong here, if you think something just makes normal sense for the price being charged at a trade show, check again, you are probably only going to get half or a quarter of what you thought you would be getting). This last thing in brackets was NOT a joke.
So let's say you are lucky enough to get lighting in your booth and you see that it's just not enough?...then what? The show will gladly add lights to your booth...GLADLY!...at the upcoming show in NY this August, to add extra lights to the tracks that we are supplied with, at show site, an extra eeny weeny teeny 50 watt light will cost you about $96.50.
Here's another option, rent electricity.
Most shows will offer you an electrical outlet for about $99 or so. If you can plug stuff in, then you can clip up your own inexpensive but very lighty, clamp lights. Make sure to follow the rules on this, some shows will allow you 4 clamp lights per electric plug, others let you go crazy. Just make sure to check out your options, sometimes electricity is a much better buy than lighting, and you can use your own lighting or pick up lights for under $10 each.
remember to try different bulbs, a flood, soft light, different watts, to see what will work best in your space.Another thing to consider is if you have a crossbar across the front of your booth or not. If so, check to see if clamping to that bar will give you the brightest lighting or if clamping to the side walls and directing the lights to different areas works better for you. If you plan on bringing your own lighting, remember that you will need extention cords and a power bar so that you can plug the lights into something and turn them on and off with just one switch, this is very helpful.