With the U.S. economy still sluggish, American companies are looking overseas for new business opportunities and considering entering European and Asian markets via trade show events. To better serve its clients, The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group recently expanded its international exhibit services through a business relationship with Messebau Keck in Germany, part of the Global Exhibit Alliance, to provide seamless services in North America and abroad.
What to Know Before You Go
Entering international markets can be daunting for new exhibitors. According to Chris Roberts, president of The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group, standard trade show procedures are very different in Europe, so clients need to be prepared for a whole new set of expectations. “In Germany, exhibitors are expected to provide food and beverages for everyone who visits, so exhibitors often need a full kitchen for complete catering services with more seating and hospitality areas since the visitors stay much longer in the ‘stand’,” he notes. Some trade shows draw as many as 100,000 people, including days when the show is open to the public, so it’s important to be prepared.
When considering costs in Europe, American exhibitors need to factor in the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 19 percent and the less-than-stellar exchange rate. For the past several years, the value of the U.S. dollar has hovered around 30 percent below the value of the Euro, which inflates costs for American exhibitors. On the flip side, American exports are that much cheaper for European buyers, making them more accessible and affordable.
The labor situation in Europe also differs. With different labor rules involved in exhibit halls, costs for installations are significantly less. An added benefit is the ability to control the quality of the entire project including rigging, food service, electrical, material handling and virtually all operating costs, which helps to insure that the exhibitor is completely satisfied. In fact, most exhibits are built on the trade show floor, which allows for more flexibility in configurations. Because electricians are not required, European exhibits tend to have more lighting options than U.S. shows.
The Tradeshow Network recently helped one U.S. client make the move to the huge Medica show in Germany, a country that holds nearly three-fourths of the major international trade shows in Europe. The client originally wanted to ship its brand new booth overseas to ensure consistency in its brand identity. Because shipping costs were prohibitive and labor costs in Germany were low, The Tradeshow Network helped them determine what parts of the exhibit should be shipped and what parts should be rented on site. “We provided a turnkey solution with sophisticated graphics, while taking advantage of the low exhibit rental and labor rates in Germany,” Roberts said. The Tradeshow Network helped them reconfigure their 10 meter x 9 meter exhibit to include a private conference room and plenty of seating for visitors, using existing graphics and rental display structures.
“We see tremendous opportunities for U.S. companies to gain market share overseas, so we are pleased to offer the international trade show services that can make it much easier for them to expand into a new global market” Roberts said.