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Protecting Your Trade Show Exhibit

So, you just finished nailing down the booth design and budget. So now what?

How can it continue to look as good as it does the first time after 10 more shows? Did you confirm that your investment was protected? How long do you plan to keep those assets? Shipping, transporting, install, dismantle and storing all can take a toll on the exhibit. Make sure you are investing in quality crates to protect those assets. Crates can come in a variety of materials. You will need to determine what will be best for you.

Are you storing these in your facility or with your vendor? Is your facility equipped with the proper freight doors/ramps/etc.? Will you need wheels, or will skids work for you? As well, be sure you know the venue that you are shipping to. Some hotels do not have the ability to accept large skids or crates. Be sure to do your homework.

What about other items that go along with my exhibit?

  1. A/V and monitors require specialty crating to protect the electronics. These crates are typically customized with special foam inserts based on the make /model and accessories of the system you have. Protecting your monitor is extremely important as the technology or electronics will easily be destroyed if they are not packaged correctly. Too often customers want to just use the original box that the monitor was shipped in. That box was not intended for multiple use. Using the box can also be an easy target for thieves. They just see “I’m A monitor – TAKE ME!” The constant shipping and jostling during shipment can be very hard on the fragile motherboard.
  2. Carpet: If you are planning to purchase your own carpet or flooring, you may want to consider crating the carpet. Too often rolls of carpet are put aside and end up missing or placed in the wrong booth space. Show contractors often mistake these rolls for their own rolls and they end up in another booth space. Additionally, shows often charge special handling fees/ rates for carpet rolls. Package carpet rolls into one crate and label appropriately – flooring and carpet. This way it is not treated as “special handling” and all the crates can be accounted for within your booth space. The install crew will know exactly what crate needs to be opened first, and could actually end up saving you time on installation with everything being labeled clearly.
  3. Products & demos: It would be best to have a separate crate for all your products. In addition to being able to keep a good tracking system on what is shipped and returned, you have everything in one crate for easy access – labeled and easy to find. You can also easily update or change the elements if you need to from event to event.
  4. Literature & giveaways: These should be packed into a separate box or case within the crate. Again, keeping these separate from the other items will be the best way to track and maintain the items. The volume will always change since these are items that are given to attendees. From a marketing perspective you can easily track how many items were used, to help you determine how many you need for future shows and /or the value of the items.

Being organized with your crate packing as well as investing in quality packing and crating systems will really help you take the headache out of trying to manage your events.

Crates are costly (especially custom crates) but are well worth the investment. Durable crates and packaging are the best way to protect your investments. After all, when you spend the amount of money on a show from the booth design, construction, graphics, show space, and hotels you will want to protect the exhibit you worked so hard for and one that when removed from durable crating has an amazing impact on the show floor – and representation of your company!

tradeshows timeline sheet calucaltion roi
Trade Show Planning Timeline (PDF)

Download this all-in-one trade show planning timeline to keep track of your trade show deadlines. Our timeline includes exhibit design & build tasks, technology considerations, pre-show promotions, booth staff tasks, lead management and miscellaneous items. Also included is; budget planning information, a booth staff schedule, typical show services deadline list and a budget calculator perfect for trade show veterans and those newer to the industry.

About the Author

Kristie Jones-Damalas is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing and a Partner of Skyline Event Services. Kristie’s goal is to help her clients get the most out of their trade show and event marketing. She believes that successful trade show and event marketing is innovative, interactive, inventive and challenging! Her passion is to help her clients with Cleveland trade show displays. For more information on trade show displays, trade show booths, and trade show exhibits in Cleveland, please visit

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