Having spent years in the trade show industry, I have seen exhibitors make costly mistakes time and time again. In today’s post, 5 Exhibitor Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, I will review some of the top areas that you can make immediate corrections to for your next event.
FAILING TO PLAN AHEAD
The Exhibitor Service Manual is typically published 60-90 days prior to the event. Instead of organizing the information immediately, so many will just put this information aside and ultimately forget about it. Waiting until the last minute to plan for your event will inevitably cause unneeded stress and increase your costs as you will have missed the advance order deadlines.
If you can’t deal with the information at the time you receive it, I suggest creating calendar entries with alerts so that you don’t forget about it. Allow yourself sufficient time to put everything that you will need together and take advantage of the discounts available to you.
Note: The Advance Order Deadline means that all of your orders, full payment, and/or freight are received on or before this date.
DISORGANIZED SHOW INFO
Although you may be the one organizing all of the services for an event, that doesn’t mean that you are necessarily going to attend. I recommend creating an event file with all pertinent show information that you can easily send with your Show Representative. I have assisted countless exhibitors at show site with questions that could have easily been answered if they had a copy of everything made available to them. This especially holds true regarding shipments in or out of the event.
To assist in this process, I have created ‘The Event Checklist‘ which is available as a free download. This is a PDF fill-in form and includes any and all information surrounding the event. Using this format makes it easily shareable with all of your team members.
EXCLUDING INFORMATION ON YOUR ORDER FORMS
Prior to submitting your order forms, you should obtain your Booth Number from Show Management so that you can include this information on all orders as well as your shipments. Not having this information can cause delays in processing your orders as well as taking additional time to receive and deliver your event materials.
Note: Most shows have ‘exclusive’ service providers (i.e. Electric, Rigging, etc.) with separate order forms. Read this information carefully as they sometimes have their own deadlines and make sure to send your paperwork to the appropriate vendor.
One thing that I have seen more than not is an understaffed booth. The last thing you want is for an attendee to have to stand around waiting to discuss your services and/or products. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you have at least two booth staffers per 100 square feet of open exhibit space. This means that for every 10’x10′ space, you should plan on having two people. Not having enough staff to take care of potential customers can easily result in the loss of a sale which would defeat your purpose of exhibiting.
Inevitably you will need to take a break from your booth to use the restroom and/or grab a bite to eat. The worst thing you can do is to have an empty booth during show hours, but I understand that sometimes this is unavoidable. This is another reason of the importance of having your booth properly staffed.
Although everyone needs a break during an event, I strongly urge you to NOT eat and/or talk on the phone during show hours. This makes you totally unapproachable and, again, can result in the loss of a sale or service. Most events will break for lunch which creates an almost empty hall. This becomes a prime time for you to take a quick break as well.
I hope that you find these tips helpful in getting yourself ready for your next exhibit!