Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

Tradeshow Exhibit

Is Rented Furniture Your Best Choice?

Many clients I work with struggle with many of the bits and pieces of their tradeshow exhibit, including furniture Some clients prefer to own a handful of stackable chairs that stay in their exhibit shipping crates when not in use. Others like the idea of having a fresh new look and budget for furniture rentals every show.

There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just whatever works best for you.

Certainly, there are pros and cons to renting an exhibit, which is a bit part of any exhibit house’s overall business. Same with furniture. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.

Pros – Advantages of Renting:

Selection: Furniture rental companies are vying your business just like any other supplier. And to remain competitive, their selection has to be deep and wide. Which brings us to the next thing:

Shiny new: Renting furniture means you’ll get a piece that has only been used a few times, if at all. There’s a lot of turnover in the furniture rental industry and to stay on top, companies have to offer high quality. Which means that they are offering their best. If you get a piece of furniture that is scuffed or damaged, chances are you won’t use that company again.

Ease of use: This is one of the biggest drawing cards. Most furniture rental companies have warehouses near the major metro areas. When you rent chairs, tables, sofas, loveseats or whatever, it shows up at your booth space. At the end of the show, you just leave it there and the furniture company picks it up. And most bigger shows will have a local rep on site to deal with any issues that come up.

Damage: your furniture will get tossed, bounced, dropped and damaged eight ways from Sunday. It’s the nature of the tradeshow world. And after a while, it gets old and worn out.

Storage: when you rent furniture, you don’t have to pay to store it.

Shipping: when you rent furniture, you don’t pay to ship it. It just shows up. The price is all-inclusive.

Cons – Advantages of Owning:

Less Cost: not necessarily a negative, but weigh the cost of renting furniture a half dozen times over a year vs owning and storing a set of furniture, and undoubtedly the cost to rent that many times will be higher than purchasing something and using it six times.

Storage: If you have sufficient storage space and the chairs fit in your shipping crates, you don’t have to worry about them.

No Surprises: When you own furniture, you don’t worry about renting something turns out to be different than what you expected.

Less Hassle: Don’t have to deal with yet another vendor.

Is renting furniture the right thing for you? Talk to your exhibit house. No doubt they work with at least one good furniture rental vendor that can answer your questions.


Check out our selection of rental furniture at TradeshowBuy.com.

What’s New in the New Year?

It’s 2020. Seems like everyone wants something new. After all, this century is no longer a teenager! Hey, if the century were a human, it could almost drink!

So…what’s new in the tradeshow industry?

At TradeshowGuy Exhibits, we work with a handful of vendors: designers, manufacturers and other suppliers in the tradeshow industry.

Classic Exhibits

Our main partner since we started this business has been Classic Exhibits. If not for them, we wouldn’t be in business. Classic Exhibits is a ‘white label’ manufacturer that designs and sells products through a network of distributors. They’ve gone from kind of a kit designer and manufacturer to doing a lot of custom work. It’s where the industry is going, and Classic Exhibits is among the companies leading the way.

And when they introduce something new, it’s good. More than good. It’s groundbreaking. In the last couple of years, they introduced Gravitee, a tool-less exhibit system that sets up easily, breaks down quickly and ships flat. It’s made a difference to clients of ours at Classic Exhibits. In fact, the first time we set up a Gravitee wall with an installation and dismantle crew, they were impressed with how easy and quickly it went up.

Now Classic is introducing Tool-Less SuperNova Lightboxes. Check out their blog post here, and then look through the selection on Exhibit Design Search. Let me quote:

Our new Tool-less SuperNova Lightboxes achieves all of those goals. While there may be more “complicated” solutions, there are none stronger or easier. We estimate the new tool-less connectors reduce assembly by 70-80%. Plus, the splines and the corner connectors can stay on the extrusion reducing the possibility of lost parts. Even the translucent knobs are innovative since they eliminate shadows and reflections.

Can’t wait to see these in action.


Orbus

We also work with Orbus, which provides numerous – maybe countless – options for popups, banner stands, table throws and more. They have high quality combined with budget pricing – a good combination.

And they’re kicking off 2020 by introducing a variety of new products, including digital banners, outdoor tents, shaped signs, smaller (and larger) HopUp fabric stands, and more. Many of these are lightweight, easy to set up by just a person or two, and priced right. See the selection of new designs and products here.

We’ve enjoyed working with other manufacturers and vendors through the years, but when it comes to something new, both Classic Exhibits and Orbus have taken the initiative to keep bringing the “NEW” to the New Year.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, November 18, 2019: Blind Spots

What are your blind spots? Well, sometimes it’s hard to identify blind spots because, well, frankly, you’re blind to them! Often you need help to learn your blind spots. Let’s take a look at blind spots on this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, along with a tradeshow tip of the week and this week’s One Good Thing:

Sources mentioned on this week’s show:

5 Ways to Find Your Blind Spots, from Ivy Exec.

The Top 10 Leadership Blind Spots, and 5 Ways to Turn Them Into Strengths, from Inc.com.

This week’s tradeshow tips for attendees, from Sestra.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING:

Scruffy the Rescue Dog (why did it take so long for him to be the ONE GOOD THING??)

5 Tips for Finding the Right Tradeshow Exhibitor Company

This is a guest post by Mark Yuska.

With well over 10,000 different tradeshows happening in the United States annually, it is no secret that it can be a daunting task to choose the right type of trade show for your company to sponsor. After all, no two tradeshows are alike when it comes to their audience, objectives, and theme.  All the research, preparation, and organization that go into designing and creating an exhibit can be especially daunting for small-business owners or first-time exhibitors. If that’s you, go with a full-service tradeshow company. They’ll take care of every aspect of your exhibit, from start to finish. And if they’re really good, they’ll show you the ropes along the way! Below are 5 tips for finding the right tradeshow exhibitor company. 

1. Referrals

You can begin your search for a display builder by asking for referrals from your industry associations, colleagues or searching an online query for trade show display companies.

Most reputable exhibit companies have their own websites where you can view their portfolios and learn more about the range of services they offer. You may also want to consider attending a tradeshow in an unrelated industry and see if the particular layout and styles are what you are looking for. Then ask the staff running the trade show for the name of the exhibiting company. Some tradeshow display companies only provide design and production of the booth, while others also assist with shipping, staffing, set up, take down, and the creation of promotional literature, among other services. All of these aspects are something to consider in your search.

2. Have A Goal in Mind

What is your reason for exhibiting? Are you attempting to grow brand awareness, generate leads or make face-to-face connections? This is important because it will play a role in determining the design requirements of your exhibit. When you find a company that you want to work with, it’s important to make them aware of your goals so they can use that information to help layout the exhibit floor to help you reach them. If you can have a conversation with an exhibitor company and they immediately start generating ideas based around your goals, then they may be a good fit!

3. Excellent Customer Service

Find a company that offers first-rate project management services to give you a relaxed trade show planning experience. A good customer service team that will go above and beyond to assist clients. At every phase of the design and fabrication process, this company will collaborate with you in order to ensure that your exhibit reflects your ideal brand image. A bonus would be if the company will stage all of our tradeshow booths in their facility before the event so you can experience your booth in person or via video.

Bring on the deck and a fake pool at Birch Benders

4. A Portfolio of Past Tradeshow Booths

When clients are seeking design services, they should pay careful attention to the portfolio provided by the exhibit design company. A portfolio gives potential customers insight into the company’s past work and tells the customer whether they can get the results needed from the designer. Find companies that have a vast portfolio. Again, not one tradeshow is the same. Yours shouldn’t be either. You want to gear it toward your goals and your potential audience. A great experience will keep visitors coming back in future years. 

5. Proven Track Record

If you’re searching for companies online, you’ll usually find this information on the “about us” and “testimonials” page of their websites. Look for information on how long they’ve been in business, as well as the earliest events for which they helped their clients and customers.

Generally, it’s best to look for established companies that have been in business or doing business for at least a decade, as they’re the most likely to understand your unique needs as a business and have a proven process for preparing for trade shows.

There you have it, these are five really important aspects to keep in mind when you are in the process of setting up a tradeshow and trying to find the right exhibitor company to partner with. Remember not to get too stressed out. Find a company that can be an extension of your team and that gives you the trade show you have been envisioning throughout your planning process.

Mark Yuska in the President of Alliance Exposition. Alliance Exposition is a General Service Contractor that focuses on setting up trade show exhibits for small to medium size events.

6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at the Tradeshow

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s true. But you can make a first impression in any number of ways. Let’s go over seven ways that might work for you.

Make a great first impression at the tradeshow.
  1. Show your visitors an impressive tradeshow exhibit. Certainly, having a 3D visual representation of your brand is going to make an impression. The challenge is to make sure it’s not a negative impression. A new exhibit will go a long way, but you don’t have to buy something new to make a positive impression. You can dress it up with new graphics, has all of the functional needs required, and make sure it’s spotless. And keep it as clean as possible throughout the day.
  2. Greet people with a smile. Smiles translate good will in every culture and language.
  3. Ask a good question as you’re using that smile. Knowing what to ask and how to ask it will go a long way to demonstrate the seriousness of your marketing attempt.
  4. Don’t be distracted. You know the usual distractions: phones, food and lack of energy. The phones thing is easy: don’t pull it out of your pocket unless you have a specific work-related reason to use it at that moment. No Facebook, Twitter or Instagram unless you’re doing work. Food is easy, too: don’t eat in the booth. Gotta eat? Go elsewhere. Lack of energy is also very distracting. That is more challenging: get better sleep (not always possible), don’t eat food that puts you on a sugar or caffeine high, which leads to an energy crash. Which leads to distraction from having a lack of energy.
  5. Have something engaging for your visitors to do. A challenging proposition, but if done correctly, your visitors will be impressed when they can DO something in your booth that is: 1) fun, 2) engaging/interesting and 3) allows them to learn something about your product or service.
  6. Don’t be negative. While a first impression can be formed in an instant, don’t forget that you’re also forming that first impression while you’re in that first conversation. You may be talking about products and services and the topic of a competitor’s products and services come up. You may be tempted to diss the competitor’s stuff, but I think the better move is to take the high road: “yeah, they do good work, but it depends on what you’re looking for.” And then ask questions that uncover the prospect’s needs, giving you a chance to play up the elements of your products or services that can address that need better than your competitor can.

First impressions count for a lot. What other ways can you think of to make a great first impression at your next tradeshow?

A Clean Booth is a Mean Booth

Wait a minute, how do you mean “mean”? As in average? As in angry?

Nope, as in “very skillful or effective” in a more informal sense: “she’s a mean bowler!”

But when it comes to having a clean and mean booth at a tradeshow, how might that work? Let’s explore.

Skillful and effective can certainly come in to play with your tradeshow presence. Your booth staff should be well-trained and know how to ask the right questions and collect valid and helpful answers.

Your exhibit itself should be clean. Having a small carpet sweeper or dust buster can help keep the floors clean. Garbage cans should be emptied regularly, especially if you’re at a show where a lot of samples are handed out, leaving behind a trail of debris.

Hiding things: most exhibits have counters or closets where personal items and extraneous items are kept. Often brochures or other needed items can be stored under a skirted table. In any event, keeping those extras out of sight helps to keep your booth mean and clean.

No food or beverages in the booth space. Yes, if you’re sampling foods, then it’s okay. But your staff shouldn’t be eating or drinking in the booth space. Psychology shows that often visitors will turn and go the other way if they encounter a staffer eating in the booth. It’s not inviting at all.

Have enough staff for the show. It’s a fine line: having too few or having too many staffers. Knowing the right amount and being able to effectively schedule the staff so that there’s always the right amount of staff comes from experience.

Knowing who the staff are: does this mean they all have readily identifiable badges or color-coded clothing? I’ve been in booths where it was impossible to know who part of the team was. In other booths, all of the staffers were wearing the same color shirt or wearing a shirt that was plainly branded with the company name.

Keep your exhibit and booth presence clean and mean for an edge over your competitors.


TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, October 7, 2019: Francis Friedman

The digital world has enveloped tradeshows as much as it has any other part of the marketing world. And who better to discuss that than author and marketing expert Francis Friedman, who gets into his recent book, The Modern Digital Tradeshow. Check out the show here:

Download a free copy of the Modern Digital Tradeshow here.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING: Soundcloud.

ExhibitDay Launches Free Tradeshow Exhibit Management Tool

One of the big challenges for exhibitors is keeping track of everything: records, travel, budgets, exhibit pieces and more. Now there’s a new tool that looks to address many if not all of those issues.

ExhibitDay launches this week with three models: lite, professional and premium. Lite is free; the others are available on a monthly fee basis depending on the optimum number of users you would want to have access to the tool.

According to the press release, “ExhibitDay has been in Beta since January, 2019. During the Beta period, ExhibitDay worked closely with nearly 1,000 Beta testers across a diverse group of event teams consisting of Trade Show Coordinators, Event Managers, and Exhibitors in order to develop and test its service.”

The release details the various tools:

  1. Tracking and management of information about trade shows and exhibits.
  2. Tracking event attendees and their travel reservations.
  3. Management of booth reservations, booth services, and shipments.
  4. Tracking of event sponsorships, costs, and expenses.
  5. Event team collaboration via tasks and to-do lists.
  6. Coordination of event team schedules before, during, and after each trade show.
  7. Synchronization of events, tasks, and schedules with third-party calendaring apps such as Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Outlook.
  8. Event-specific and annual budgeting, fund allocation, ROI measurement, and engagement analytics.
  9. Customizations to the fields and data points tracked for each event.
  10. Granular access-control and robust user management tools.

Take a look at ExhibitDay here. And if you choose to use it, use the discount code TRADESHOWGUY and save a few bucks!


Tradeshow Exhibit Specials and Lightning Deals

Looking to save money on a tradeshow exhibit? Of course you are! And chances are, throughout the course of the next year, you’ll have a want or need for something that shows up on our regularly updated pages on our Exhibit Design Search. Whether it’s an Exhibit Special or a Lightning Deal, it might be just what you’re looking for.

These are no “close-out” specials that are collecting dust in the warehouse. Nope, these are regular items – either custom or “off the shelf” – that typically sell for full retail price. But on occasion, we grab some of the items and put them into one or of the categories and drop the price.

For example, you might see a custom hybrid 10×20 exhibit that sells for around $30,000. But if it lands in the Lightning Deal, the price might drop ten percent to around $27,000. A $3,000 savings to your bottom line, just like that. Lightning Deals generally last a couple of weeks, so if you see something that is a great fit, grab it fast!

The Exhibit Specials, on the other hand, are more general savings that span a category, such as a specific style (Gravitee or Segue), or a type (light boxes or EcoSmart inlines). On occasion there might be discounts on discontinued models as well.

Saying all of this, it behooves you to visit these categories and return. That means returning to the Lightning Deals every couple of weeks, and visiting the Exhibit Specials every month or so. Even if you’re not currently looking for a new exhibit, you might find great deals on accessories such as lights, counters, shipping cases and so on.

Here’s where to find ’em:

Exhibit Specials

Lightning Deals


6 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Custom Tradeshow Exhibit

Let’s face it, when you’re shopping for a custom tradeshow exhibit, the dollar signs can often start spinning so much your head soon follows. Things can get expensive in the tradeshow world, so it makes sense to figure out ways to save money along the way.

Start with the premise that the reason custom tradeshow exhibits can be expensive for any number of reasons. First, there are a lot of people involved: designers, account executives, fabricators, detailers, crate builders and so on. Things are usually hand-crafted in the exhibit world in the sense that each piece has human hands on it several times. Even if a CNC machine is programmed to cut metal or wood, a human still has to make it happen. Building an exhibit is not mass manufacturing. Its individually crafted items designed and built to look spectacular.

How to keep the costs down? Here are six ways:

  1. Consider starting with a kit. Many exhibit builders offer a number of kits to keep costs lower. With a kit, the design is generally pre-determined. But with a good kit, there are always opportunities to customize the kit. In a sense, you’re creating a hybrid between custom and ‘catalog’ designs. Shop the company’s website for kits that might give you a good starting point.
  2. Know exactly what you want and get nothing more. A custom exhibit is great in that, as part of the design process, you can identify what you need – exactly. If you need just three shelves for product display, don’t go for four or five or six. Those can usually be added later. Need a charging table? There are always low budget options that are not custom but can be custom-branded.
  3. Work with lightweight materials. While there still are many heavy wood-built exhibits that appear at shows – usually for a great reason because it’s part of the brand – more exhibits are moving to lightweight materials such as aluminum frames and fabric graphics. Not only are the materials lighter, which means they ship for less, but fabric graphics fold up and ship in a smaller space.
  4. Rent furniture. If you rent the same thing show after show, it’ll add up and eventually you’ll end up paying more for the furniture than it you owned it. But keep in mind, but owning it, you have to pay to ship it, pay to store it, and pay to replace it. And furniture that you own will get scuffed, nicked and damaged over time. With rental furniture, you get brand new or like-new items, you get to choose from the latest styles, and you don’t have to worry about shipping or storing.
  5. Don’t rush it. By planning ahead for a custom designed and fabricated exhibit, you’re avoiding rush fees, last minute glitches and a calendar that is rushing at you like a runaway train. Once you’ve decided on a new exhibit, sit down with your exhibit provider and work out a realistic timeline so that all parties know what’s expected of them and when.
  6. Preview the exhibit. It’s pretty common to do this, but I have seen occasions where it’s not done, and it’s led to having to make expensive fixes on the show floor or have revised graphics printed at a rush fee and shipped using an expensive overnight service. Previews are generally designed to make sure everything works like it’s supposed to, to make sure all the graphics fit, and nothing is left out. Even if you can’t be there, make sure you have lots of photos of the preview.

Whether you’re looking for a custom exhibit, a modular exhibit from a catalog or something in between, most exhibit houses are willing to discuss your budget and what you can realistically expect to get for your money.


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