Trade Show Tips and Advice.
We hope that you find our Exhibiting Tips & Advise helpful in making smart decisions so that you get the display you want, at the price you need.
When attending a Trade Show, choosing the right Trade Show Display & Graphics can be a tough task. First you must establish a budget for your entire trade show project including Graphics and everything else that is involved to attend the show. Next you must be sure of the booth size and location that you will be renting at the Convention Center. Now it is time to explore the many different types of displays you have to choose from. Be sure when choosing the colors for your display that you keep in mind the colors of your company logo and basic color scheme. As we have mentioned before we recommend you go with the most portable display possible that offers you a high quality professional look.
Be sure to arrive early to the Convention Center so you can make sure all of your display items and accessories are there and set up correctly. You may run into some issues with the Union getting your display to your booth area. Many times they will charge you to transport your display to your booth. This is something you can do on your own but at many convention centers you have to carry the exhibit. If the cases have wheels you cannot take them yourself most of the time. This is crazy and it amazes us how they get away with this. The Union is looking for every opportunity to charge you for something, so get there hours before your trades show so you can be fully prepared and not caught off guard.
Depending on what type and size Trade Show Exhibit you are interested in may make a big difference in whether you should purchase or rent a trade show exhibit. As far as pop up displays and other smaller exhibits that are designed for 10’ x 10’ & 10’ x 20’ booths you may want to rent first to make sure you are happy with your display. Many times when you exhibit at a convention center you will see competitors with a display booth that you really like and might want to try a new idea at your next show. Many companies will rent a smaller display to you and will offer you up to half off of the rental price if you decide to purchase within 30 days.
When it comes to larger exhibits we have found that renting is a much better solution. When you rent an exhibit you want to choose a company that will handle the entire project from design, delivery and set-up at the trade show location. Exhibit Rental pricing can vary from company to company for the same product or close to the same so do your research.
Exhibiting at a Trade Show can be very costly so the more you know what the costs are the more prepared you will be and will avoid unwanted surprises. Over the years we have spoken with many exhibitors that complain of all the extra costs that they had no idea existed.
Here is a list of some of the expenses you need to be aware of
- Purchasing or renting a trade show display
- Graphics for your exhibit (Include Design if needed)
- Transportation of exhibit to hotel or convention center (Price will depend on what size exhibit you have)
- Installation & Dismantle (I&D) * This is a major part of exhibiting that catches many people off guard.
- Staffing your trade show booth (Consider how many people will be in your booth and how much the travel cost will be for each one of them including meals while out of town)
- Renting booth space at the convention center (This is a big expense so make sure you have a good location and not somewhere in a corner that does not get much foot traffic)
- Internet access inside your booth This price can range from $200 to $2500 depending on the show and how much internet bandwidth you need)
- Vacuuming the floor and empting your trash each day of the trade show (Yes they do charge for these!)
- Power to your exhibit and booth (In most cases the convention center does not include power so find out how much extra it will be)
So you spent thousands of dollars on your exhibit and covered it with horrible graphics? Yes, I have seen this over and over in the many years I have been in the trade show display business. Make sure you are dealing with an exhibit company that has in-house designers with many years of design experience. Ask to see samples of previous designs and also ask to speak with the graphic designer so you can get a good understanding of the work that needs to be done.
Also update your trade show exhibit graphics as you attend more and more trade shows. Make sure your new products are featured on your new graphics. If you have a better design that you feel will grab the attention of the exhibitors better than the older graphics then make the change.
When attending a new trade show and re-using your existing graphics make sure they are clean. I have seen many people using dirty graphics and this will only do harm to the image of the company you are representing. In addition to making sure your graphics are smudge free, also make sure they are not full of dents or tears. When the graphics are stored in their cases many problems can happen if they are not packed correctly. We recommend you purchase a separate case for transporting your graphics.
Retractable Banner Stands have become very popular in the trade show business. They work well as a compliment to your pop up display and are also a good choice for larger exhibits. Retractable Banner Stands are excellent for people that want to get into the show and out just as fast without the hassle of breaking down a larger exhibit. They are also very convenient for traveling, allowing you to carry on an airplane or store them in your car. You will find that there are many different styles of banner stands on the market but they basically do the same thing. Some have a nicer looking stand and will cost a little more than others that may look cheaper but the graphic will look the same no matter which one you choose. Remember that there are many of these retractable banner stands out there from China so be sure to check out the quality.
Lighting rules change from one convention center to another. On basic pop up display many convention centers only allow 150-watt lamps due to safety reasons. 200-watt lamps have been used for years but we recommend that you purchase lamps that are 150-watt to avoid any problems at future shows. Also ask for paper work showing the details of the lamps you purchase. You want to make sure that they have been inspected for safety issues and are up to the basic standards of the trade show industry. There are thousands of lights from China in the market place that have not been approved and do not meet the basic safety standards.
Warning! When the show is over and it is time to pack up your exhibit booth, make sure you unplug your display lamps an hour before you pack them. These lights get very hot and many people have gotten severely burned. There have also been instances of fires being started when the hot lamps touch the exhibit fabric or are packed inside the trade show display cases.
Table Top Displays are great for small trade show and conference settings. Using a tabletop display vs. a full sized fabric or graphic pop up display is just fine as long as you have a nice set up and your graphics look nice. You can fill up some of your booth space by adding a banner stand or two, or even a nice custom podium counter. There are also many different types of tabletop displays to choose from including “suitcase” styles. These are very nice and they set up in seconds. The graphics stay attached and are very easy to change, as your graphic needs change from show to show.
The last thing you want is for someone to trip inside your booth. There are many flooring option available to you for your booth and our favorite here at Breeze Exhibits is the many different types of “Portable Flooring”. You will have a wide range of color choices and designs to match your trade show booth and graphics. Puzzle Flooring sets up easily and is easy to ship. The puzzle flooring ships in it’s own case with handles and wheels for easy transportation. Not only is the puzzle flooring portable, but you can also ad your company logo for an extra touch. Ask your sales representative to show you’re the many different styles they offer including carpet style and basic rubber mat.
You can also choose to use carpet but you must know that carpet costs more to ship and is much harder to keep flat. We have seen at many trade shows where people have stumbled over un-even carpet.
It is always a good idea to have “Giveaway” products better know as “Promo” or “Promotional Items”. Whichever products you decide to go with make sure they are items that people can use. Also make sure your logo and website address is on all of the items you pass out. You want to keep your company name and image in the customers mind long after the show and promotional items are the way to go.
Union Rules vary from one convention to the other and also from city to city. They have many regulations and policies that you must be aware of including: Exhibit Set-Up Time, How long you have to set up & tear down. There are certain things the union will and will not let you do. If tools are required to set up your trade show display, it is almost certain you will not be allowed to set your own display up but will have to let a member or two from the union take over. (Yes you will pay for this) If you decide to purchase a Pop Up Display, be sure to buy one that does not need tools to set it up.
There are many other things the union will charge you for so be sure to check way before you get to the convention center so you are not caught off guard.
Hanging Displays with your company name and logo displayed on them is an excellent way for convention attendees to find your display booth. You can choose from triangle, square & circular hanging displays. If you don’t mind spending more money you can have your circular hanging display rotate. We at Breeze Exhibits think that spending the extra cost in another area “might” be a better choice unless you have a much larger budget. If you decide to use a hanging banner display at your next trade show, make sure you don’t go with a frame that is too small. You want to use a large enough size that can be seen from a distance. Also make sure the person that is doing your art design fills up the space with large text or your logo. Try and avoid using small text like a tagline on your hanging display because it will be hard to read.
Thank You for reading our Trade Show Exhibiting Advice section and we wish you much success at all of your future Trade Shows. Contact one of our outstanding sales representatives to discuss any of our products you are interested in.