So, you were roped into handling your company’s exhibiting program – now what? Whether you are just starting to exhibit or you are a veteran, understanding exhibiting basics is crucial to your success.
Understanding Your Booth Fees And Space
There are two basic pieces of information you want to be aware of when you reserve your booth space:
What is included with your booth space?
- Does your show package a few services with your booth? Some spaces can include items such as: carpet, electrical drops, tables and chairs. Make sure you are aware of what any “extras” are and use them to your advantage when you are able! These items can help shave off hundreds of extra dollars from your trade show costs, and the best part is you are already paying for them!
Where are you placed ON THE FLOOR?
- Are you facing an aisle? Is there a column in your booth? Are you next door to a direct competitor? Ask questions! Waiting until a month before the show to ask to be moved can be tricky business as many materials for shows (like show books and exhibitor maps) are already in production. Making changes too late in the game can mean you miss out on potential clients, solely because they didn’t know where to find you! Knowing details about your booth can help you and your exhibit house determine the best way to take advantage of your space AND your trade show assets like hanging rings, video monitors and table/seating placement.
Having answers to the questions above will help ensure that as you plan your trade show needs you have the information necessary to make smart decisions about how to approach your show!
To extend your budget, it pays to know if your show schedule calls for exhibiting at multiple shows with over lapping dates. If so, you have to keep in mind if your booth can be easily reconfigured for different floor plans. (Above: concept for a 10' x 30' that easily breaks down as a 10' x 10' and a 10' x 20')
Find Out Who Your Show Decorator Is
After you have secured your trade show display space, one of your first steps is to contact the Show Management and determine who the show decorator is. Show Management is the organization or governing body for the show, typically these are the folks with whom you are signing a booth space contract. Your show decorator, however, is the contracted company that is providing additional vendor services to the show. In the U.S. some of these decorators include: Freeman, GES, Arata, Champion, and George Fern. The decorator is the company that provides services such as: carpet, A/V, material handling, etc. Knowing who your decorator is will help you troubleshoot any issues you may have in the planning of your event.
Request The Show Kit
Once you have determined who your decorator is you will want to request a Show/Exhibitor Kit. Show kits are invaluable assets on virtually everything to do with your show. Information found in your show kit includes:
Quick Facts/Key Information/Show Information Page
- Whether this document goes by Quick Facts or some other name, it is a summary of all the essential show information on one page: discount deadlines, shipping dates, move in and out dates, show hall hours, etc. Keep this document handy! This document will help keep you organized at a glance. Also, don’t be greedy! Share this document with your exhibit supplier if they are helping you manage your exhibit program/show. This single document has a majority of the information needed to help keep you on budget and on schedule.
- Make sure to double check all deadlines listed on forms. NEVER assume all forms have the same discount deadline! Some forms MAY have different deadlines than listed on the show information page as services can be provided by different vendors. Don’t lose out on your discounts as the savings can add up quickly!
- Search for forms you will need to complete and find out when they are due – see Discount Deadlines above. The most popular forms are: Electrical Service, EAC – Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (sometimes known as Non-Official Show Contractor), Audio Visual, Cleaning, Floral, Carpet, Rigging, and Material Handling.
Gathering the information and items above early in your trade show planning process will help ensure the long term success of your event. Knowing this information will help lower costs (discount deadlines!), reduce frustration, and keep you organized.