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8 Logistics Tips To Reduce Fees, Stress, And Other Trade Show Side Effects

trade show logistics and planningPlanning for a trade show doesn’t mean that you have to become a nervous wreck for months.  Even if you’re new to the industry, you can have a successful, scare-free show experience.

As a consultant for hundreds of newbie and veteran trade show exhibitors, I hear myself giving certain suggestions quite often.

Here’s a short list of simple, yet very important tips that you may want to consider during your trade show planning:

  1. Be aware of show form deadlines. Double-check deadlines just to be safe that you do not miss anything.  Missing a deadline can sometimes double certain costs!
  2. Pay attention to show rules and regulations. Make sure that you not only read the rules and regulations carefully, but that you also understand them.  Is your tradeshow exhibit breaking height or self-setup regulations?  Remember, these can change with the city, venue, show contractor, as well as booth size.
  3. Make sure your crates stand out. Decorating your crates makes them easier to find if misplaced.  (Yes, this can happen even when you do everything correctly!)  You can paint your crates, add colored tape, or sometimes a simple piece of ribbon might save you hours of searching for a big dark crate among thousands of other big dark crates.
  4. Remember to consolidate your shipments. With each shipment, most trade show contractors will charge minimums on drayage.  With an average rate of $78 per 100 pounds, and minimum weight per shipment at 200 pounds, that’s over $150 just to bring in one shipment!  By consolidating your shipments you will minimize unnecessary drayage costs.
  5. Ship to the advanced warehouse. Shipping to the advanced warehouse will give you peace of mind that your exhibit will be in your booth space the first day for set-up.  Shipping direct to the show site can have you waiting during valuable set-up hours and nervous about your shipment’s location.  It’s also a good idea to keep tabs on your shipments with tracking numbers and piece counts.
  6. Prepare backup and duplicates for all Audio Visual presentations. When you have already spent the time and money on your electronic equipment, cases, shipping, drayage, and set up, the last thing you want to do is end up with a blank screen.  That space that was strategically integrated into the exhibit layout now is empty and the well-planned reformatted sales process now must be altered at the last minute!  There may be a person back at the office to send the presentation.  But, if it’s not a small file, uploading or overnight mailing is only going to add stress to an already hectic day.  Be smart, load up an extra flash drive and relax.
  7. Bring confirmation of all show form orders should a mistake occur.  It’s also smart to send your I&D team copies of show forms.  Most good I&D companies will check them to make sure that all requests have been met.  If something is incomplete, they will know where to go and how to get it done quickly.
  8. Do not tear down your booth early. Not only will some shows penalize you for doing this, but you could also lose out on the opportunity to talk with prospects or other exhibitors at the show.

trade-show-marketing-idea-kitGet more planning and logistic tips with The Trade Show Marketing Idea Kit, 75 pages of checklists, worksheets, timelines, and articles.

About the Author

Megan Van Zutphen is a Marketing Consultant/Account Manager at Skyline Exhibits and Design, Inc. Megan has been running the Charleston Skyline office, and consulting businesses on their South Carolina trade show booths and programs since 2007.

6 responses to “8 Logistics Tips To Reduce Fees, Stress, And Other Trade Show Side Effects

  1. Great basics tips to always keep in mind when planning your show. I also work with my clients to have a backup plan “B” in case your crate does get lost…and they do. Have a secondary or smaller booth, banners, etc. that can be shipped at last minute. Yes, it may cost you more, but at least you have something at the show besides a six foot table & two chairs. As in your tip 6 & 7 I also encourage my clients to bring additional supplies, promotional items, printed materials with them personally.
    Thanks for the emphasizing planning ahead.
    Tami Pederson
    VC Connex

    1. Thanks, Tami. Great idea to have your own “exhibit redundancy” for when the main exhibit goes astray. Similarly, other exhibitors bring a copy of their art files with them, so if their display gets lost, they can get graphics produced locally and then rent a display to put it on.

  2. Yes yes yes to all of these but especially want to point out #3. Do you know how much easier it is to locate your crate when you tell people you’re looking for the crate covered in purple hello kitty stencils. I guarantee you half the people setting up will remember seeing it.

    (Do not take purple hello kitty…she’s mine)

  3. Here’s a real money save $ : if you are sending product to a show, not just show material – be sure to classify your product on the truck bill of lading as non trade show materials (like class 70,etc) – otherwise – all the materials are classisified as something like 125 (twice the price). Even if on the same pallet, you can break up the weight of show material to product, an save on the overall cost of that pallet. Charging twice the price for varying classes is definitely senseless – but how the companies make a living… don’t pay the high rate for show material shipping, unless it’s all show material!

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