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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lies, Lies, Lies, Lies

More and more we are hearing exhibitors being misled by the general contractor for trade shows.  For new exhibitors or people new to an exhibit manager position it can be very confusing.    Here are a couple of misconceptions.

1.  You have to use the general contractor to install your booth.

You should always check each show's regulations carefully because rules are kind of wacky these days for installations.  This is specifically true with things like lightboxes lately.  Rules are also different for inlines vs. islands.
Image result for not trueBut one thing is certain, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE TO USE THE GENERAL CONTRACTOR.  Any exhibitor can appoint what is called an Exhibit Appointed Contractor (EAC).  I would recommend you choose that person/team carefully and have them become familiar with your exhibits to save money and be sure your exhibit is in 'tip-top' shape when you arrive to the event.

2.  Exhibitors must rent from the general contractor. 

ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.  You can rent from anyone that offers a rental program.  Most rentals from show services that I have seen are beat up and often not in the best of shape.  They are used many times with little refurbishment to the structure in between uses.  That is how they make their money and why they can often be less expensive than other rentals.  

Image result for lies lies liesThis is your brand.  If your booth is banged up and graphics don't look great your company doesn't look great.  Here are three things that drive me absolutely crazy when I see them on the show floor.

  • Loose or poor fitting graphics
  • Visible cords 
  • Banged up or damaged hardware
DETAILS MATTER PEOPLE!

3.  You must get flooring and furniture from show services.

Guess what?  ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE.   Many companies, like Total Displays, have furniture and flooring available for purchase or rental.  Flooring can pay for itself in 3-4 shows (depending on selection) and furniture can pay for itself in as little as 1-2 shows.  I don't mean this as a shameless plus (ok maybe I do), but look into this.  You can get what you want instead of the limited options available from show services and you can save money.  Who wants to pay $30 for a cardboard garbage can?

International Exhibitors Tips

International Exhibitors especially can benefit from renting a for US shows.  You can save money on things like customs etc.

Are you doing give away items?  Work with a US partner to get those items and have them shipped directly to the show to save on shipping and customs.

If you just want a reality or truth check, I am happy to chat with anyone that might have questions about this.  If you don't have a partner to consult with you on these issues we are here to help.


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Lori Hanken has been in sales and marketing for over 30 years. She is passionate about service and providing value to her vendors, prospects and clients. Lori is currently co-owner of Total Displays with her husband David. They help people look great at events, trade shows, in retail, museums and develop long partnerships with customers and suppliers. If you would like to learn more, email her at lori@totaldisplays.com. She is an open networker, connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Read other Total Displays Blog posts at http://totaldisplays.blogspot.com/

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