Trade Show Display Marketing Tips and Advice

Let our Experts Manage Your Trade Show Booth

Posted on Thu, May 02, 2019

Managing your trade show exhibit can be time-consuming. It includes making sure the right booth properties arrive on time and show ready. What's more, good trade show exhibit management requires extensive attention to detail and balancing multiple deadlines and stakeholders.  If you are worried that details might fall through the cracks, we provide a on-line management  cloud-based project & inventory management system, providing our exhibit management clients with 24/7 portal access to exhibit & show material inventory, event details & show service orders.   Recently we have received several RFP requests for storage, inventory management, and show services.   So I am republishing our Online Management System tour and tutorial.  Take a look!

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Topics: chicago trade show services, show services, trade show services, trade show services in chicago, chicago exhibit setup services, tradeshow services, trade show storage

The truth about trade show labor

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2015

If you are like us - you want your trade show booth setup without any surprises.  We think a trade show should be a great experience for your attendees, your exhibitors and for you, too. So, we work hard to bring you complete show services solutions that can simplify the process and new ideas that can help you deliver better value.  But even more than that, we bring you a team of dedicated people who are at your service, helping you anywhere you need it and anyway they can.  We never forget what brought you to the trade show business in the first place. It may sound cliché to some, but we think trade shows are all about people. And the trade show experience we most want to deliver is that emotional rush you get when you know your show is right the first time, and every time.

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Topics: show services, trade show services, tradeshow success

What came first…the drayage or the shipping?

Posted on Tue, Aug 19, 2014

So, what came first…the drayage or the shipping? It has been my experience in the Trade Show Industry that one of the most confusing services for exhibitors revolves around the handling of your materials. Let me start by explaining the difference between the two. Drayage (a.k.a. Material Handling Services) is the unloading of your exhibit materials at the dock, storage for up to 30+ days in advance of the show at an off-site warehouse, the transport of your materials to show site, the delivery of your materials to your exhibit space, the handling of your empty containers to and from storage, and removal of the materials from your booth to the dock for reloading onto an outbound carrierWith that said, the obvious answer would be that shipping gets the ball rolling, right? After all, you need to ship your materials first in order for the drayage services to kick in.

  • Shipping starts at Point A (i.e. your office, warehouse, display house, etc.). Shipping fees start here.
  • Then it’s transported to Point B (the advance warehouse or directly to show site). This is where drayage fees begin.
  • You will eventually return to Point A after the close of the event. Outbound shipping fees start here.

You will always incur two separate fees: one for shipping (to and from) and one for drayage (round trip). These are two totally different services and charges vary between the two. You may already have an in-house carrier that you have negotiated rates with and use on a regular basis. Most GSC’s (General Service Contractors) utilize a preferred carrier and can extend discounts to you for using their services. Obtaining an estimate to include in your event budget will assist you in allocating costs for the various services that you may need.

The following table is an example of how shipments are invoiced for drayage services:

Drayage charges can quickly escalate above what you budgeted for if you  don’t pay attention to how your materials are being sent. Just because your items leave your location in one piece doesn’t mean that they arrive that way. As the above illustration shows, shipment #1 left a location in ten pieces; however, they didn’t all arrive on the same day. Each individual shipment received is invoiced separately and this is where charges can really start to add up.

There can be a lot of “hidden charges” located within the fine print of these order forms. The drayage rate is typically published as a S/T fee; however, if the move-in/out occurs on O/T, you can expect a 25% surcharge for each occurrence   I decided years ago to assist exhibitors with this and make it easier: I published an all-inclusive rate to eliminate the guesswork and the slew of post-show  inquiries once they received their final invoice.

How can you avoid “surprise” line items for drayage fees from happening in the future?  Consolidate! I understand the need to sometimes send a second (or even third) shipment for one event. For example, you might have your promotional items and/or printed marketing materials coming from different locations. What I suggest that you do is assess everything ahead of time to see what is going to be most cost-effective.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1.  Are all of my materials shipping from a single location?
  2.  What is the advance order deadline for materials shipping to the advance warehouse?
  3.  What is the target date/time for items shipping directly to show site?
  4.  How many pieces/pallets do I have?
  5.  Your shipping charges will be based on weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.
  6.  Do I have materials coming in from somewhere else (i.e. promo products, printed materials, etc.)?
  7.  Promotional items can be tricky and are often difficult to locate. I have witnessed countless times where the materials are often improperly labeled; therefore, making it difficult to deliver to the correct booth space. I suggest sending your provider a copy of the Advance Warehouse Shipping Label located within the Exhibitor Service Kit and have everything clearly marked for the exhibiting Company Name (not an individual) and your booth number.
  8. When is everything going to be ready for shipping?
  9. This will determine what destination you are shipping to (advance warehouse or show site) and what kind of service your materials need to be sent by (ground, 2nd day, overnight).
  10. Does the GSC offer a discount for utilizing their preferred carrier?
  11. What is the best shipping option?
  12. In my opinion, your best shipping option is to send your materials via ground and go directly to the advance warehouse. Your target ship date should be at least one week prior to the advance order cut-off date (unless shipping internationally, which requires additional time and clearance through Customs). If you have planned ahead of time and can consolidate all of your materials at your office, you can collectively send all of your materials as a whole. Some people think it’s best to ship directly to show site. Keep in mind that with this shipping service, the arrival time needs to happen within a specific window and that will affect the shipping rate.

Guest Blogger: Melissa Michel of The M Factor Inc. - based in Orlando, Florida, they offer comprehensive Trade Show and Event Management services nationwide.

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Topics: events in chicago, managing your trade show, show services, trade show booth planning, trade show services

Is your booth staff ready for an attitude adjustment?

Posted on Wed, Apr 02, 2014

Do the math. Assume the next trade show you participate in expects a total audience of 10,000 people over a period of 20 hours. The number of people you can expect to walk past your booth each hour on average is 500. Now divide that number by 60 which results in the possibility of having 8 + people walk by every minute. It’s a pretty daunting thought.  As a conscientious exhibit manager, you want to ensure that you are getting the biggest rate of return. To accomplish this you have always encouraged your booth staff to speak to as many people as possible. Maybe it’s time to look at rationale that has been used at trade shows for so many years and question whether it still makes sense.

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Topics: trade show business, planning for a trade show, trade show advice, show services

Trade Show Exhibit Best Practices for Logistics

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013

In the Exhibition Logistics Trends & Best Practices Study - the survey asked both show managers and exhibitors a number of questions on key trends and how to improve the logistics, freight shipping and material handling process. Below are some of the common themes based on verbatim answers grouped into suggestions and recommendations.

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Topics: show services, trade show investment, trade show services

Video: A Guide to the Trade Show Services OLM Site

Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013

Hello exhibitors! As promised, today’s video is a full Online Management System tour and tutorial. Here at The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group, we use the OLM site to manage trade show services for all of our customer’s graphics, trade show exhibits, upcoming shows, and rental booth equipment and furniture. It helps us keep track of incoming and outgoing shipments while making sure that the correct items are going to and from your shows. 

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Topics: show services, trade show tips, Trade Show Planning, trade show managers

Changes for Setting Up Trade Show Exhibits in Chicago

Posted on Wed, Feb 13, 2013

Basically, setting up your trade show booth in Chicago just got easier! This is a video courtesy of Christopher Price with GASC highlighting how trade show service regulations at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois have changed since BIO was last in Chicago in 2010. In 2013 BIO exhibitors will enjoy expanded exhibitor rights, expanded straight time hours, reduced crew sizes, and loading/unloading from their own personally operated vehicles. 

tradeshow services

We provide comprehensive trade show services, including exhibit design, exhibit installation and dismantle, trade show logistics, exhibit storage, exhibit management and trade show marketing services – all designed to help you make the most of your trade show schedule.

Trade Show Management Services

We provide all-inclusive trade show services or just the specific services you require. Our team manages hundreds of trade shows a year. No matter the size of your company, we treat you like our only account by assigning an account manager to you. Not only do you have direct contact with this person at the office, but also we provide cell phone numbers in case of emergency. After all, problems do come up after normal working hours and the show goes on!   

Online Inventory and Show Management

From communication to budgeting, every detail in the preparation of your events can be managed easily with our online resources for clients. You can order new products and services, review your show asset inventory, run budget reports, and track invoices – all accessible 24/7 and in real time. So whether you’re in the corporate office or on the road, our online management services give you greater control and help manage your expenses.


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Topics: events in chicago, show services, trade show services, trade show management

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