This past week I was in the midst of one of the largest trade shows of the year, the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show in Las Vegas. We have 5 clients here, setting up 6 exhibits including a double decker exhibit that is outside in the Gold Lot.
This show is huge in scale, where every major construction industry is represented with over 2,500 exhibitors in over 2,500,000 square feet, and since it only takes place every 3 years, the exhibitors spend a lot more creative energy on their displays. It’s important to make a good first impression at a show of this scope, and it’s apparent as I walk around observing the activity.
One of the first things I notice as I approach the convention center from a distance is the large number of cranes and heavy equipment clustered together outside in the parking lots. It’s really mind-boggling the number of large exhibits and I’m not even in the convention center yet.
Moving inside the halls, I see there are many huge hanging fabric structures, large, bright video screens and tall hard panel walls forming the various exhibit spaces. The size and scope of the booths is amazing. They are filled with very large pieces of construction equipment and bristling with activity, with workers and attendees mingling together on the show floor.
When we get started on projects that are part of shows of this scale, pre-planning and coordination are extremely important. What follows are a few ideas for you as you prepare for your next big show.
- Carefully review the Exhibit Manual when it becomes available, and review the rules and regulations, find important contact names and look for due dates deadlines. You can save up to 30% on your show services when you order them in advance.
- Find your Targeted Move-in and Move-out dates. At a recent show we were the booth closest to the loading docks, which meant we were the last to set up and the first to receive our empty crates to tear down first.
- Get all your payments and paperwork in to the show management company on time.
- Arrange for your labor crew. I like to go with an outside labor contractor, they are usually more reliable and professional.
- Make sure your exhibit is show-ready, with as much work done as possible before you pack and ship the exhibit components. Applying vinyl graphics in the shop rather than on the show site is a good example.
- Make sure you bring along all your contract paperwork, layout and set up drawings.
When you arrive at the show city, here’s a few more tips.
- Arrive early to the show site to get a feel for the show and your surroundings. Find the services desk, and contact the show management’s floor supervisor.
- First item on your list to is make sure your electrical is laid down correctly. I remember one time when I had to call the electricians back because they had put down the power cables opposite of what was on the plan.
- Connect with your labor contractor to review the set up.
- And one last bit of advice. Expect the unexpected. There are a lot of things that must fall into place, in the correct order, for your set up to go smoothly. Allow enough time to get the job done. You may have a situation that is out of your control that affects your timing. Illness, bad weather, who knows. One time I had my carpet and electrical uprooted because they had to move a large tractor through my booth. We had to basically start over because all the work done on day one had to be done again.
Large shows come with large challenges, but planning in advance, following through on the details and keeping your eye on the prize will make the project run smooth.
The experienced on-site supervisors at Exhibit Systems can help to take some of the load off your shoulders, give us a call or contact us for more information.