Planning and Logistics


Published on Jun 29, 2016 4:48:09 PM

Updated 2016






You have just started out in your job as a trade show coordinator or event manager; congratulations! Everything is new; a new company, new office space, and new, industry specific lingo to master. “What the heck is a pop-up? Can someone explain to me drayage, and why it’s so expensive?”

Below are definitions of common terms related to the events and trade show industry so that when your boss asks, you’re prepared to talk shop.

Banner Stand DISPLAY

A banner stand is an efficient, lightweight, convenient way to showcase your brand at a trade show, special event, recruiting fair, lobby and more.

There are many different styles to choose from when deciding on a banner stand, there are retractable stands that simply roll up, and configurable stands that quite literally give a heightened, cost effective presence to a 10×10 booth.







Pop Up displays consist of a portable, lightweight frame that’s made of fiberglass or carbon composite (some companies use aluminum frames), vertical bars to stabilize it, and graphics.

The pieces connect easily and quickly. To install pop up displays, you simply need to ‘pop’ the frame into place, attach the channel bars to secure it and hang the graphic panels.

You won’t need any special training or tools to install your pop up displays – here is a link to the instructional video. They are easy to install, so many companies find that they save on installation and dismantle costs.




POP-UP_BACK_LIT for clean graphics.jpg



Backlit Graphics


Back lit graphics are made with a very tight weave fabric that when lit from behind with lights, typically LED’s, creates a glowing appearance.   These graphics are typically attached to an aluminum or steel framed structure that can be rented.





There are two types of inflatable trade show exhibits; sealed air and continuous air. A sealed air inflatable trade show exhibit is an innovative and cost saving approach to exhibiting. An inflatable exhibit can be inflated at the push of a button at show start, and within approximately 10 minutes will reach appropriate pressure to be displayed be sealed automatically with the push valve and used for the entire show without the constant flow of air.

This structure is covered in fabric to create a backdrop, tower or hanging structure. 

There is no hum of an inflator with a sealed air exhibit. Fully inflated, a properly designed inflatable exhibit will last you through the entire week of the show. There are many benefits to a sealed air exhibit, including cost savings of a lightweight display, low carbon foot print, and the ability to pack up at the end of the show and leave right away!

Typically, with a larger exhibit, you would have to wait for your trade show exhibit cases (what you shipped your exhibit in) to be returned to you, then pack up your display for transport, then head home.

Explore our latest innovation: large exhibits that requires no tools to set up.






A continuous air exhibit or display requires, you guessed it, continuous air to be pumped throughout the time it is used. This exhibit is typically made of vinyl and is often used for outdoor events.   You will need a constant power source for this type of exhibit, which can cost you big money on the show floor. You will have to request and pay for access to a power outlet at the show unless specifically noted when purchasing booth space. It’s also important to be aware of the regulations regarding labor and rigging when setting up your trade show booth, whether inflatable, custom modular or portable.



Material Handling and Drayage at a basic level refers to the same thing: the movement of your exhibit items between your carrier’s vehicle and your trade show booth space. For more information on material handling, drayage and freight, click here.



Installation and Dismantle of your trade show exhibit, also referred  to as “Labor”, can be handled by your exhibit company partner. Usually this is a crew that comes in the show hall to set up (install) your exhibit and come back once the show closes to dismantle and pack your exhibit up. It’s like magic!


Lead Card


A lead card is a pre-printed piece of paper with a section to record contact info, answers and qualifying questions, and a notes section where you can record follow-up items and other relevant comments with prospects that visit you on the trade show floor. Lead cards are usually printed on a half sheet to a full sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper. A booth staffer fills out the lead card as they have conversations with trade show attendees. To see an example lead card, click here

Many companies are transitioning to technology centered lead retrieval apps, making a smooth transition from show floor conversations, directly into your CRM system for immediate contact by sales reps or further nurturing from marketing. Here is a link to an article on how to maximize lead collection.



Trade Show Tips for New Exhibitors



A Customer Relationship Management system is invaluable when it comes to tracking trade show leads. This system helps marketing and sales teams continue the relationship with a customer.

Your trade show leads can be entered into this system shortly after the show if you are using paper lead cards, or instantly if you are using technology to capture your conversations from the trade show floor.

Segmenting your leads within this system allows you to follow up in a timely manner with sales, or further nurture the lead until they are ready to purchase.  To learn more about how to use a CRM system to follow up on leads, check it out here..



“Booth Babes”


The term “booth babe” is outdated slang sometimes used by people referencing staff employed  to help gather leads at a show.  The more accurate terminology is crowd gatherer. Brands can hire promotional models or company representatives to attract or engage passing attendees to come visit the booth. Many of these individuals are well trained and highly professional people who can help augment your staff when travel costs or staffing capabilities are an issue. 

It is important to consider how an attendee will perceive your brand depending on who you hire, especially if attendees take more of an interest in your staffers than your products! Instead, go with UNIQUE




Planning an event or trade show is no small task, and is an important investment for companies. Your trade show is an integral tool within your marketing plan, make sure that your exhibit considers the overall goals of the company and brand and that you are prepared to quantify the benefits obtained by participating. Your vendor should be able to help you do that.


This article was initially published in


About the aruthor: Kayla is a Marketing Associate at Skyline Exhibits, based at Skyline's International Design Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, is an avid runner and a 7 time All-American in Track & Field.


Topics: Trade shows, Trade show lead management, Trade show Careers, Stressful trade show marketing

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