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Don’t Let Thieves Ruin Your Trade Show Displays

Most trade show venues offer some kind of professional security for the companies on the trade show floor, but experienced exhibitors know you can’t rely solely on security details that are often overworked and spread too thin. As a responsible exhibitor, you need to do all that you can to protect your own company’s investment in trade show displays. We’ve heard from clients over the years that have regretted neglecting the importance of their own security.


Numerous Opportunities for Theft

Most people staffing trade show booths don’t realize just how many opportunities there are for thieves to succeed at events. Professional thieves stroll the floor looking for opportunities to make a quick score. It takes just a moment for them to grab a few laptops while you’re talking to someone at the next booth or dashing to the restroom. The action on the trade show floor can get extremely hectic, leaving you vulnerable to theft.

Intellectual Theft

Intellectual property theft isn’t talked about as much, but it’s certainly a possibility any time a large group of industry leaders gets together. Special formulas, equipment prototypes, and proprietary information may all be up for grabs and thieves are always willing to take advantage of an opportunity. Corporate spies can download sales figures, blue prints, or marketing strategies from company computers in just seconds. Lists of qualified leads and call-back numbers can be plucked from a tabletop while you’re distracted by a potential customer.

Simple Preventative Measures for Trade Show Displays

While the thought of thieves prowling the venue floor looking for opportunities to steal from your booth can be daunting, there are easy steps you can take to minimize the chances you’ll be a target.

  • Make sure you don’t leave your booth without someone in charge for even a moment. If you’ve planned properly, you should have at least one other person with you that you can rely on if you need to step away.
  • Never leave sensitive paperwork, a prototype, or demonstration equipment unattended. If you bring anything with you that’s valuable to your company, make plans for private security and other measures such as a safe at your hotel.
  • Avoid leaving laptops and other gear lying around where they can be quickly snatched. Never leave them overnight on the floor even if you have them in a cabinet in your booth. These can be broken into because they aren’t usually designed to withstand a determined burglar.
  • Never label containers with words like computers, iPhones, tablets, or other electronic equipment. Why tempt thieves? If all your boxes are labeled “paper goods” or “pencils,” they’ll move on to greener pastures.
  • Make sure that your computers and other electronics only contain the information you need for the immediate event. Using equipment that contains private information, client lists, or proprietary company information should be left at the office.

You’ve invested a lot in your event. It only makes sense to use the most extensive security measures possible to ensure its success.


Trade shows are a valuable tool for your marketing efforts so you need to make the most out of every one you attend. Get your hands on The Value of Trade Shows  to read how major organizations are using trade shows to to better their business and what attendees are looking for. Use this report to justify and enhance your trade show program. Click here to get your free copy!

About the Author

Jill is the owner of Skyline - Xtreme Xhibits and is a strategic trade show marketing consultant, with over 22 years of experience in the trade show and events industry. Jill is driven by her passion for unique and memorable exhibit design, overall successful trade show marketing strategies, exceptional customer service and flawless program execution. For more information on exhibit design, trade show marketing, trade show displays, trade show booths, and trade show exhibits in Austin or San Antonio, TX, please visit Xtreme Xhibits

3 responses to “Don’t Let Thieves Ruin Your Trade Show Displays

  1. I think it’s a great idea to always have someone at your booth. I have been to a few trade shows, and it can be very easy to steal things if no one is there. I would hope that the security in the location would also be watching to make sure nothing happens.

  2. Trade shows are one of the best opportunities for thieves to steal phones and other electronic items because when a booth gets busy, it gets really busy. The staff will put his/her attention on the prospect in front not on the booth belongings.

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