AND SOME FREE–ASSOCIATION
Dealing with show services is probably one of the least attractive aspects of exhibiting, yet it’s a real necessity. Lean on your exhibit house for more info regarding these issues. It's our job to stay current on how things are done!
1. Read the exhibitor service manual
The exhibitor service manual is the official guide to everything the exhibitor needs to know about the show: all the relevant information, rules and regulations, service forms, registration, show promotions, contractor and shipping information. Remember to observe all deadlines.
2. Know what services you need
Know which products you are planning to demonstrate and display, and what utilities are required (and how much), make decisions on carpeting, furniture, colour schemes, cleaning and security services. Services ordered on the show floor could result in 50% additional costs.
3. Understand the floor plan
Carefully evaluate your display layout on the floor plan in relation to traffic flow and how your display will be effected. Understand every marking, however small and insignificant, as it indicates ceiling heights, pillar locations, etc.
4. Identify utility sources
Always order more utilities than you think you’ll need so your products perform at their optimum level.
Call the electrical department to find out how much power to order and where the utility ports are located in relation to your space. Display your products where they are least affected by unsightly wires or pipes. Always order more utilities than you think you’ll need so your products perform at their optimum level.
5. Understand drayage
Drayage involves delivering your display materials to the assigned space, removing empty crates, returning the crates at the end of the show and delivering the re-crated materials to the carrier loading dock. To save money,consolidate all shipments and ship one time.
6. Have enough carpeting
Make sure all your utilities are installed before laying the carpet to avoid the frustration of having to cut the carpet for electrical outlets. Order enough carpet to cover the bare concrete strip between the display and the aisle.
7. Allow extra time for customs
If your company is shipping products to overseas locations, allow extra time for various customs clearance procedures. Items will need the correct documentationand will often need to be physically inspected. Always use a customhouse broker or freight forwarder to coordinate all arrangements and keep you informed.
8. Get to know the show services representatives
The show services representatives can be your best friends. They often have the answers to many of your questions or problems. Remember, their job is to help you.
9. Work with union labor (where applicable)
Every city/country is different regarding union rules. Read the service manual carefully to familiarize yourself with what is and is not permissible. Any questions should be directed to show management or the service contractor. Consider hiring your exhibiting display house to provide set-up supervision.
10. Carry all relevant paperwork
Remember to bring copies of all relevant paperwork, especially plans, service orders, tracking numbers for all shipments, as well as important contact names, phone and fax numbers (when the original arrangements were made by another staff member).
Diamond V had some designs on the table from a competitor of ours who really hadn’t shown them anything impressive from a design aesthetic point of view. Brainstorm’s vast design library served as a springboard for everyone’s creativity, and we soon settled on a general configuration to begin with. Kudos to the Diamond V design staff for their clear directions... and kudos to Brainstorm’s designers for their color 3-D renderings! The finished display - 20 x 30 footprint includes tower with personnel door and storage, 8 x 18 conference room with locking doors, cool fabric graphics complemented by maple laminate, 2 workstations with locking storage - low ship weight and easy setup, all for under $45,000, ALL INCLUSIVE.
•So why did this project go so right? First of all, the client had put serious thought into their likes / dislikes / needs / wants and goals. Here’s what I (display designer) got at the first meeting:
•A list of things that they felt were wrong with the previous booth.
•Photos of displays from a recent show they had attended showing some elements they found interesting.
•A laundry list of “must haves”, like how much storage, literature and counter space.
•Some ideas of future needs, in Diamond V’s case we know that at some point we’ll need to add a big screen to the tower... and I’ve designed that expectation in already.
•Some goals. In their case, the goal was to look modern, clean and cutting edge, to reduce cost of ownership, and to keep the cost of refreshing graphics to a minimum.
•A budget. A booth designer needs to know a realistic budget up front if he’s going to work efficiently. Try not to think of an exhibit as a commodity, where low price rules. Find a designer / builder that you feel you can trust and give them the information they need to succeed. Look at past projects they’ve done, interview their customers and visit their offices. Shop for competence, not price, and require them to stick to your budget – you’ll do much better!
When a client puts this kind of thought and preparation into the purchase, two things always happen: they get a better exhibit, and they spend less money! Diamond V gave me such a clear picture of what constituted success to them, that it was far simpler for my team to put it all together.
-Paul Bridson, Exhibit Designer
Paul Bridson and Kelly Sargent
We've been helping companies achieve lofty goals for over twenty years now. Here's the benefit of our experience!