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TRACK 3: SHOW PREPARATION The Journey of a First-time Trade Show Exhibitor

Tips and tools for first-time exhibitors. TRACK 3: SHOW PREPARATION covers 1) packing; 2) shipping; and 3) booth design and setup. Follow along in the manual available at http://goo.gl/njLuYN.

angie deyoung

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of TRACK 3: SHOW PREPARATION The Journey of a First-time Trade Show Exhibitor

Booth Design & Set-up
The Journey of a First-time Trade Show Exhibitor
How to Pack
Alternative packaging idea: D Containers
Proper Labeling = Safe & Timely Delivery
Name of Exhibitor
Name of Show
Booth Number
c/o (GSC)
Address for delivery
Show Site (Direct)
or Warehouse
Use the show's label templates when available
Shrink Wrap
Palletize and shrink wrap = less drayage & damage
What to Pack
Display & signs
Literature & giveaways
For display
For sampling
For buyers to take home
Literature & Giveaways
Promotional materials
Price sheets
Order forms
Table drape

• Napkins
• Sampling utensils (spoons, toothpicks, forks, etc.)
• Serving dishes and utensils
• Hand sanitizer
• Garbage can and extra bags
Note: weigh the cost of shipping these items vs. buying them after you arrive at the show's city.

• Bubble Wrap: for packing fragile items
• Stretch Wrap: for securing the boxes on your pallet
• Tear-by-Hand Tape
• Hook and Loop (e.g. Velcro)
• Gaffer Tape: for bundling wires in your booth and taping down cords to carpet
• Double-Sided Adhesive Tape
• transparent adhesive tape (e.g. Scotch tape)
Packing Materials and Adhesives
Sampling supplies

• Scissors
• Box cutters
• Highlighters
• Pens
• Stapler and staples
• Thumb tacks and push pins
• Binder clips: binds paper but is also handing for hanging signs on table skirts
• Extension cords
• Power strips
• Spare light bulbs (if your exhibit has light fixtures)

Office Supplies

• Instant Carpet Spot Remover
• Glass cleaner
• Paper towels
• Visqueen heavy plastic sheeting: for covering your carpet during load-in and setup
• WD-40: In addition to fixing squeaking hinges, this lubricant can also be used to dissolve
the sticky stuff that gets left on exhibit surfaces

Cleaning Supplies

• Display repair kit: screwdriver, hammer, wrench
• First aid kit: pain relievers and antacids
• Breath mints

Miscellaneous Supplies
Advance or Direct?
Material Handling
Carrier Options
Price Quotes
the Basics
for Shipping Back Home
Certified Weight Tickets
Always get them!
LTL Shipments
Common Carriers
Delays more likely
Frequent loading and unloading may lead to damage
Van Lines
Low damage risk
Lower chance of delay
Best-suited for FTL Shipments
Less damage
Subject to TSA rules
Can be expensive
Small-Package Carriers
Expensive drayage
Can get lost at show dock
Transportation Terminology
ship early
verify receipt
storage & handling fees
no last-minute changes
no storage fees
lower handling fees
no wiggle-room
must meet targeted delivery deadlines
Transportation Coverage
Door-to-Door Coverage
only covers your exhibit properties and equipment during transit to and from the show
covers the shipment from the time it is loaded on the truck before the show until it is unloaded after the show, including all the time on the show floor*
*difficult to find this type!
Booth signs
Tabletop signs
Click on the link below for a video tutorial:
Trade Show Material Handling Calculators
Click here to try it:
*Rates can be found in your Exhibitor Services Manual
Q. Can you hand-carry items to your booth?
A. Probably*, but there are likely restrictions.
Check the Exhibitor Manual.
*Probably not like this!
Q. What do I do with my empty containers?

A. Store in your booth, if you can.
Know in advance: by what carrier are you shipping home? GSC or Private?
Decide what goes home and what gets tossed
Pack into boxes, then organize boxes on your pallet
Shrink-wrap tightly
Label all 4 sides of the shipment
pre-print your own labels OR
use your carrier's labels

Fill out the Material Handling Agreement
ahead, online OR
at the show
Turn it in AFTER your shipment is ready
Allow at least 10 days for your shipment to return
If you DO NOT do this, you will be charged special handling rates = EXPENSIVE!
If you DO NOT do this, your freight will be "forced" = EXPENSIVE!
Buy vs. Rent
if you need very specific designs, or various colors
if you plan on 3+ trade shows per year
if you are looking for a one-time use
if you're not sure what "look" you want yet
if you exhibit fewer than three times a year
Types of Exhibits
Pop-up Display
Pro: lightweight, easy setup
Con: prone to break easily
Truss Display
Pro: lightweight, cheap to ship
Con: prone to break easily
Panel Display
Pro: easily adaptable and modified
Con: apt to look unprofessional
Tabletop Display
Pro: inexpensive, lightweight
Con: tends to look unprofessional
Retractable Banner Stand
Pro: lightweight, quick setup
Con: tends to look sparse in booth
Exhibit System
Pro: quick, easy solution
Con: can look generic
Your booth should reflect your company's and product's image
Should be pleasing & memorable
Limit to 3 or less
powerful and sophisticated, but can be stubborn
informal and usually reserved for the blue-collar industry
pure, honest and traditional
although energizing, reds can also increase blood flow and anxiety in passersby
eye-catching, but if too bright can look cheap (think fast food)
use sparingly, as it can be calm but boring if used in abundance
can capture attention, but too much can be irritating for visitors and limit their ability to focus
good, since it traditionally symbolizes nature, money, tranquility and freshness
(maybe not this BRIGHT green, though?)
pipe & drape
8' back wall
4' side walls
Flooring Options
Carpet - rent standard carpet (not custom-cut), no padding
Roll-able flooring - bamboo or floor graphics
Hardwood and tiles - more work and more expensive
Tables & Chairs
How will they be used?
Regular-height, skirted table
usually 2' width; 4' - 8' lengths
usually 42" high; 2' wide; 4' - 8' lengths
Counter-height, skirted table
Unskirted Table
Order only if you have your own graphic table cloth
Specialty Tables
Not typical for 1st-timers
Be wary of chairs; they can lead to fiddling with your phone or generally looking unapproachable
Signs communicate to buyers
they should stop
they should listen
they should buy
Use a maximum of six to 10 words
If you talk benefits, attendees will listen
Use light over dark or dark over light text combinations
Use serif or sans-serif styles (i.e. not "artsy") and no more than two fonts per graphic.
Text must be a minimum of 4-inches tall
Position text in the 2-foot zone across the top of the exhibit
Use one large, well-cropped image
Use high-resolution images, and consult your graphics designer
May catch the eye of prospectives
Tell your story: helps buyers to build a relationship
Product Display
How will the customer interact with your product?
How will the customer want to see your product?
Make sure the customer has a chance to handle your product.
Will the customer want to try out or sample your product onsite?
Is your exhibit worn or dated from one too many shows?
Get the right chair for your table size
Do you have adequate storage?
Are personal items and boxes stored out of sight?
More booth inspirations available at
Setup and Dismantle Labor
Even if you plan to bring your own display, you may have to
order union labor
to set it up and dismantle it.
Order your labor in advance
, because if you order at the show, you will probably have to wait.
Union regulations vary
from state to state, so check your Exhibitor Service Manual for details.
For planning purposes, click on the link below to view this
list of Union labor rules
and regulations by city:
= likely necessary for 1st-timers
Electrical Services
Order from the Convention Center (not GSC)
Indicate on your order form:
Floor plans — indicate where your outlets should be by using neighboring booth numbers and references.
**This is required for most shows.
Approval to Proceed — inform the electrical department if you want your outlets installed before you arrive at the show.
24-Hour Power Order — needed for overnight refrigeration
Lead-retrieval reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 watts
Coffee pot or microwave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2,000 watts
CPU/Motherboard and monitor . . . . . . . . . . 1,000 watts
Refrigerator . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1/2hp 120v (24-hour power)
27" television . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .250watts

Estimate your power requirements:
Download the manual at
If wooden crates are out of your price range, consider purchasing large, reusable boxes you can assemble on pallets, called D containers. Picture an oversized cardboard box on a large pallet. It takes five pieces to assemble each container: a rectangular wooden pallet, a box bottom, a three-sided panel, a separate side panel for easy loading, and a lid. D containers vary in size from 48-by-39-by-40 inches to 58-by-41-by-45 inches and break down to about 12 inches tall, with the pallet and cardboard panels folded up inside. You can generally use the containers three to four times before you need to cannibalize the undamaged parts and toss out the broken panels. D containers can be purchased from companies selling packaging materials and boxes and cost about $50 to $75 each, depending on the quantity you buy.
If you're going to use D containers, purchase a portable strapping kit so you can secure the containers to pallets. These three-part kits include buckles, half-inch polypropylene strapping, and a knife. Strapping kits with metal banding are also available, but are heavier and harder to cut. A portable strapping kit costs less than $50, and is worth every penny since you can pay more than that on show site just to have one pallet banded by your installation-and-dismantle contractor. Kits weigh less than 15 pounds for 3,000 feet of strapping and 300 buckles, making them easy to ship.
Elements of a Trade Show Booth
Track 3
Show Preparation
What can exhibitors do on their own?
It depends on the show!
You're done with Track 3: Show Preparation!
If you're required to take the Quiz now, visit

If you're ready for Track 4: The Show, then click here: http://prezi.com/t5qug3leeg0a/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy.

Packaging Guidelines
• Do not ship hazardous materials.
• Use a sturdy box or container to protect the contents.
• If you reuse a box or container, remove or mark out any old shipping labels.
• When shipping multiple items, pack cushioning between each item.
• Seal the box or container securely, using tape designed for shipping.
• Make sure crates or pallets are in good condition before shipping.
• If necessary, mark the container with “UP only” arrows.
• Protect the item you are shipping with newspaper, foam padding, shipping “peanuts,” bubble wrap or shredded paper.

Start-up Directions:
Click the "full screen" rectangle icon at the bottom right of the screen.
Click "allow" in order to use your "forward" and "back" arrows to navigate.
Turn up the volume in order to hear the audio portions of the training.
Click on the "right" arrow on your keyboard to advance to the next "slide" in the presentation.
Bubble wrap is much easier to deal with at the show; peanuts and shredded paper leave your booth carpet a mess!
Did you catch that helpful hint?

Keep your pallet in your booth after setup, making sure to keep it hidden out of sight, so as not to deter from the clean look of your booth. You'll be glad when the show ends to have your pallet ready to pack, instead of having to wait for hours to have one delivered to you.
Download the SHIPPING BASIC QUESTIONS at http://goo.gl/129gl7
CWT = "hundred weight" = 100 pounds
Download at:
Show specials: gives buyers an incentive to purchase immediately
Certifications: tells buyers what’s important to you (e.g. organic, gluten free, etc.)
Trade Organization Memberships: if they are pertinent to your industry or important to your customers (e.g. Organic Trade Association, etc.)
If your empty boxes are too large to store in your booth, be sure to get "empty storage" labels from the Exhibitors Services desk and affix to your boxes.
Theme fits with company image
Catches the eye
Clearly communicates product
Gives buyers a special place to interact with the owners
Booth Inspiration #1
Booth Inspiration #2
Good use of open space
Full transcript