Or "How to Remember what not to forget at your next trade show"
Beyond the basics of trade show exhibiting - securing your booth space, establishing your key booth staff and having an incredible exhibit ready to wow the attendees - there are a few more items that may be overlooked, according to trade show experts.
We reached out to the experts in the exhibit industry directly and on our social media pages, and were blown away with the response. While we weren't able to add all the great suggestions, here a few that rose to the top (and we'll include more in another post soon!).
As an exhibitor with decades of experience, Gail Hernandez, Diamond Level CTSM and known in the industry as "The Trade Show Maven" provides this great advice: "One thing I have forgotten in the past is sending a complete dismantle plan to key staff attending the show – a mistake you only make once! A solid dismantle plan includes photos of what I'm shipping, the content list of each crate or case, instructions for special packing, and labels and instructions for split shipments. If I can't be there for teardown, I at least have a trusted individual to take care of the dismantle and shipping."
"Some of the smaller items that can be forgotten without proper planning are the items to hand carry: tabletop signage, new literature, hard copy meeting room schedules, and the like," Gail continues. "To be prepared for anything you may forget, I suggest researching in advance what printing facilities (i.e. FedEx or hotel business centers) are available nearby; that way, you are prepared for whatever printing needs you have on site."
Exhibit builders share the frustration of scrambling at the last minute, though not always due to forgetfulness.
"In my experience graphic files often come at the last minute," states Jamie Montague, owner of DSM Exhibits. "Not always, but enough that I notice the trend. It’s not because it’s overlooked or forgotten, but because they need the approval of so many people, each with their own opinion, and therefore the process gets out of control on the exhibitor’s end."
Another important aspect in preparing for a successful trade show - people prep. While the exhibit may take center stage, engaging the attendees is an integral part of your show success.
"Opening lines /questions - knowing the exact thing that's going to come out of their mouth to start the filtering process" is a key to a successful show, advises Nichola Reeder, author, exhibition trainer, speaker and co-founder of 12th Man Solutions. Most exhibit staff just end up saying "Hi how are you?", giving visitors an opportunity to reply "Fine thanks" and keep on walking! With only 16-20% of visitors in a position to buy on average, that first line is crucial!"
Karen Joyce, Tradeshow Consultant with Ponder Us, has this great advice - "Working with a good exhibit house should help lessen things people forget - the exhibit house should be your backbone and map to guide you so things don't get forgotten or stuck in the cracks."
Aside from your exhibit house partner, Karen also brings up an excellent point about self care while on the road.
"I think what doesn't get discussed enough is that people need to remember that the booths are run by humans. Who have needs."
"I'd advise folks to remember this is not the time for new shoes or uncomfortable / binding clothing. While, of course, it's a time for professionalism it's also a time for self-pampering because those feet will be barking. I advise remembering small things to make your hotel more comfortable and homey - picture on the dresser (yeah, I know everyone has 'em on the phones but it's different), special soap you like. Things that make life on the road easier. And remember to eat healthy, don't stress your body with new workouts that you don't know yet."
And of course, we would be lax to not mention trade show shipping. Knowing what you are shipping, when it needs to be there, and even where there is, are all key items to having a successful trade show.
What else should exhibitors remember not to forget? Add your comments below and we try to include you in our next post!
Need help preparing for your next trade show shipment? Want a shipping company that will work as a liaison between your exhibit house, general contractor and install and dismantle company? Maybe it's time you took the High Road to your next show!