Lectrosonics trade show booth by mackenzie EXHIBIT

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 4: Show Time

Drumroll please . . . it’s show time! The moment you’ve been waiting for: the time has come for your new trade show booth design to be introduced to the public. This is probably the most anxious yet most exciting part of the entire exhibit booth process. On the one hand, you’re nervous about whether all of the final details will come together once they’re on the trade show floor, but on the other hand, you’re thrilled that it’s finally time for the big reveal. To help calm some of your pre-show jitters, let’s walk through the experience of having a trade show booth at an exhibit.

Shipping

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at shipping your booth and supplies to the show. This is a crucial stage and a chance for you to save some serious time, money, and headache later on. Your booth will be loaded into crates, which are then in turn loaded onto trucks to be transported to the show. Now is the time to rack your brain for anything else you’ll need during the show and get it to the booth company in time to get it on the truck. We can’t stress this enough — catalogs, giveaway items, any non-sensitive products that can travel separately from your employees, even pallets of water bottles to help keep your team hydrated during the show — all of that should be given to the booth company in advance in order to ship it down with the booth.

Why should you do this? First, it saves you time. If you ship it to the exhibit hall separately, that means you and your show team will also have to cart it up from the on-site shipping center to your booth. If you have boxes and boxes of materials for the show, this can take up valuable pre-show time that your team could be devoting to other efforts.

Next, it saves you a lot of money. If you’ve ever had to overnight a 30-pound box of catalogs to an on-site FedEx location, you know what we’re talking about. Those little onesy-twosy shipments add up very fast and cost multiple times more than it would to add a bit of weight to your freight shipment with the booth. Many times, you won’t be charged extra at all for shipping those extra items with the booth. Make your Finance team happy and send as much as possible with the booth.

Finally, it saves you a huge headache. When the day comes for you to fly or drive down to the trade show, the last thing you want is to be stressing over whether you remembered X or forgot Y. Plan ahead, make a list of all of the items that are going to ship with the booth, and then trust your booth design company to get everything there on time. If you work with a full-service company such as mackenzie EXHIBIT, we’ll even put all of your supplies into the storage sections of your booth so that everything is squared away before you arrive on the show floor.

Trade Show Booth Set Up

There are two ways to go about handling the set up of your trade show booth: do it yourself, or let the professionals handle it.

We’ve seen companies go the DIY route in an attempt to save some money, but what they don’t take into consideration is the fact that all of those employees who are being sent down to the show early to handle set up need hotel rooms, per diem budgets, rental cars, and more. It might seem like you’re saving a few bucks by having your own team set up the booth rather than letting the booth company handle it, but in the long run, the added expense of an advance crew plus the dangers of fatiguing your crew before the show even starts end up outweighing any potential benefits. We only recommend going the DIY set up route if your booth is small, maybe around a 10′ x 10′.

The other option is essentially set-it-and-forget-it: let the booth design company handle the set up of your booth. This brings a level of peace of mind to the trade show experience that is priceless. Before the show, you’re already stressed with thinking about the upcoming meetings, interviews, demonstrations, and more — don’t add the stress of having to assemble a booth to your plate.

If you choose to have your booth design company handle set up, they will send a crew down a couple days in advance of the exhibit and have the majority of the booth complete before you even arrive. This way, when you arrive you’ll be able to walk in, make any last-minute tweaks that you’d like, arrange the items you freight shipped with the booth in a way that’s most convenient for you and your team, and you’re ready for the show.

Pre-Show Final Prep

The night before the show, if you had your booth design company handle set up, they will also likely take the time to run a vacuum through the booth and make sure everything is polished up and ready for the public the next day. Take the time to walk through your booth at the very end of the day before the show so that there aren’t any last-minute surprises and you can have confidence that everything will be squared away when you walk in the next morning.

Something to consider having done on the first morning prior to the show opening to the attendees is to have professional pictures taken. Reputable booth companies, such as mackenzie EXHIBIT, will be able to schedule this for you. Having professional images taken of your booth will give you great material for social media posts, blog posts, subscriber email blasts recapping the show, and in-office decoration to proudly display your booth design.

As a final prep before the show opens, make sure your catalogs, giveaways, etc. are stored in a logical method and that you’ve segmented everything out for what day they should be used on, that way you don’t run through your entire stash on the first day of the show. Take the time to pick up water, snacks, and anything else that will help your team make it through the long days ahead on the show floor.

Tear Down Time

You survived! At this point, the show floor has closed to attendees and you’re left with a sense of accomplishment because you actually made it through the trade show.

As with set up, there are two ways to handle tear down: do it yourself, or let the pros take over.

If you decide to handle tear down yourself, rather than be able to triumphantly leave the show floor at the end of the day, you’ll find yourself sitting in the middle of your booth waiting for the crates to be delivered so that you can pack up. The waiting on its own can literally take hours, and there’s no way to know exactly when the crates will arrive. After waiting for who-knows-how-long for the crates to show up, only then can your team begin packing everything away. If this isn’t done correctly, you risk damaging booth segments in transit. Trade show veterans will tell you the demeanor of do-it-yourselfers vs. those who let the trade show booth company handle tear down. The first group looks defeated when the show closes, because they know the work isn’t over yet. The second group gets to gather around for high fives and then march off to go grab dinner and celebrate the end of the show. Which group would you rather be?

Those who let the professionals handle tear down will be able to pull down whatever product needs to travel with company personnel, and the rest will be packed up by the booth company and carefully transported back to their warehouse where it will be waiting for you. Easy!

Post-Show Dust Settling

Chances are your employees stashed some of their personal items in the booth during the show and forgot them there. Or you left non-sensitive products in the booth because you didn’t feel like carting them back with you after the show. Or you have leftover catalogs. Whatever the case may be, you likely have a few things left over that need to be picked up from the booth company’s warehouse.

While your booth company will be patient as you unwind from the stress of the show, try not to leave your items there for weeks on end — this takes up precious space in their warehouse and leads to you forgetting what on earth it was that you left behind. Bite the bullet and try to take care of this step as quickly as possible after the show.


Ta-da — you did it! The show is done, your booth was a success, and you have great pictures to remember everything by. Aren’t you glad you decided to work with a company like mackenzie EXHIBIT? There’s a reason why once companies decide to work with a booth design company rather than handling things themselves, they rarely every go back to their old ways.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this four-part series about the trade show booth design process. If you’d like to read through the other parts, here they are:

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 1: Ideation

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 2: Mockup

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 3: 


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

Vivint Booth

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 3: Walkthrough

Congratulations! You’ve arrived at one of the most exciting stages of the trade show booth design process: the walkthrough. Now is when you’ll see your booth come to life, be able to walk through it (as the name would suggest), and imagine how attendees will experience the final result.

While the ship has likely sailed on making large structural changes at this point (hopefully Part 1 and Part 2 helped you sort out the big ticket items), most of the time you can still make small adjustments such as where certain products are displayed, lighting temperatures, and details like that. Let’s take a walk through the walkthrough and learn a bit more about this particular stage.

What to Expect

The walkthrough is where you really start to get an understanding of what your attendees will experience when they arrive at your booth space. This is also the time when you’ll be able to see just how transparent you’ve been with your trade show booth design company to enable them to create your dream booth. If there’s been cloudy communication, there might still be some things that need to be decided on at this point — but if you’ve been straightforward and detailed with your expectations, prepare yourself for an “oh wow” moment.

When you arrive at the booth design company’s offices, they will have cleared out a patch of warehouse space and literally built your booth. It’s a great feeling to round a corner and BAM, there it is! Enjoy this opportunity to see your vision brought to life for the first time. If some of the wall wrapping isn’t yet on or the lighting isn’t finished, don’t fret — there’s still plenty of time to finalize the details. Think of this as your chance to make sure the big picture is what you want.

Make the Most of It

This is your last chance to make any esthetic tweaks or rearrange an item or two, so make the most of it! Really take your time during the walkthrough — if you’re working with a seasoned trade show booth design company like mackenzie EXHIBIT, they know that this is a crucial stage and will let you take all the time you need.

This is a great time to bring some people along from your own company to act as guinea pigs. Choose people who haven’t been a part of the design process at all so that they have a completely fresh view and then listen to their feedback — there’s a good chance they’ll look at things in a new light and give you some invaluable thoughts to consider.

Once the walkthrough is complete, the booth company will make any final changes and then box everything up to be shipped to the trade show.

Tweaking the Trade Show Booth

Don’t give your trade show booth design company a heart attack by walking in and telling them that you want to move walls or change the entire flow of the booth — those are things that should have been addressed in Part 1 and Part 2.

What you CAN change at this point are esthetic details. If you want a picture moved from one wall to another or want to rearrange the shelves within a storage column, that can be done. A great detail to pay attention to at this point is the lighting: is it the temperature what you want? Is it pointing at what you want to showcase? Take some time to imagine the exhibit hall and space you’re in and think about the surrounding light that your booth is already bathed in and how you want your own lighting to interact.

Also stop to consider the add-ons that will need to go with your booth. Is there room behind the counter for a few stools for your employees to use? Or that corner over there — would a standing table fit well and give some room for sales people to review your catalog with potential clients? Really envision how your trade show staff will utilize this space and think about what will make their lives easier and your clients’ experience more memorable.

Say This not That

As the previous parts in this series have said, be as detailed as possible when giving feedback to your trade show booth design company. Professionals like mackenzie EXHIBIT might have been doing this for a while, but that doesn’t make them mind readers — be honest and open with your first, second, and third impressions as you walk through your booth.

Finally, let’s take one last glance back at that list of three to five crucial things you wanted this booth to accomplish. Did all of those boxes get checked? Hopefully so! If not, speak up and your booth company can tell you what is still within the realm of possibilities.

What’s Next?

We hope you’ve enjoyed the walkthrough process! It is truly one of the most exciting stages of the entire trade show booth design experience.

What comes next is even more exciting: seeing your booth in the wild. Your trade show booth design company will now make any final adjustments that you requested during the walkthrough and will then break everything down, pack it safely into crates, and deliver it to the exhibit hall. If you choose a full-service company like mackenzie EXHIBIT, you’ll also be able to have them set up your booth in the exhibit hall so that the stress on your employees is minimal and you can walk in the day before the show to a beautiful, fully-assembled trade show booth.


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give us a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.


 

Rental-10-by-20-landing

Creating a Trade Show Booth Part 2: Mockup

It’s been a few weeks since your first meeting with the exhibit design company, and you’ve been anxiously waiting to hear that they’re ready for you to review their first mockup of your trade show booth. What should you expect? If you go into the mockup review with the right frame of mind, the right people present, and the right set of goals, you’ll have a productive and successful meeting that will get you a giant step closer to the booth you have in mind.

My Place or Yours?

First, choose whether you want to have the meeting at your own offices or at the exhibit design company’s location. If you’re working with a remote company, teleconference is likely your only option. If the company is local to you, however, there are pros to meeting at either location. If you have a large number of people involved in the trade show process for your company, then having the mockup review at your own offices is likely more efficient. If your event team is smaller and more mobile, then a meeting at the exhibit design company’s offices is a great way to see how their operations are run and get a feel for their workload and capabilities.


TIP: You’ll also need to decide who should be involved in the meeting. Too many people, and it’ll be a circus; too few, and you might miss out on valuable insights. It’s best to include at least one person from the management team for decisions, one person from the team that will be at the trade show itself for practical input, and one person from the design team if you have an in-house graphics department.


When you sit down for the mockup review, don’t expect the first draft to be a Michelangelo-worthy masterpiece. This is meant to act as a general guide to make sure that you and the booth design company are both on the same page — you’re likely to see a lot of black and white line drawings or basic shape renderings to show placement of different booth elements and further discuss the esthetics. You’ll be able to see the bones of your trade show booth, including wall, counter, storage, product display, and table locations. If you have any special features such as a projection wall or interactive display, this will be the time to nail down where you’d like that to be.

Help Them Help You

If you see something that you’d like changed, speak up! Now is the time to convey any alterations you’d like done to the booth design, because from this point forward the booth design company is likely to start placing orders and begin initial building operations for your trade show booth.

When giving input, refer back to the three-to-five-point list we recommended creating in Part 1: Ideation. This list will keep you focused on why you’re attending the trade show in the first place and what you hope to get out of it, which will be the ultimate input needed for your trade show booth design. It’s important to refer back to this list of priorities at each stage of the trade show booth design and execution process to make sure you’re accomplishing everything you’d like to achieve through this booth.

Trade Show Booth Layout

Think through the flow of your booth and how you want attendees to move through the space. Does the design showcase the products you want highlighted? Do you have enough storage for the catalogs, t-shirts, hats, stickers, and any other giveaways you’ll be bringing? What about refrigerators or lighting or even a place for your employees to charge their electronics — do you have enough outlets? These are just a few of the things you’ll want to double check while reviewing the trade show booth mockup.

Another thing to consider is security; does your booth contain sensitive or expensive items that need to be locked up at night? Or should your products be secured to the booth in such a way that attendees can’t potentially take them away as a souvenir? Trade shows are a prime time for products to “walk away” while your employees are distracted — make sure you’re not taking unnecessary risks with the way your products are displayed.

What Comes Next?

Based on how much feedback you gave and how much needs to be changed, you’ll likely have at least one or two more mockup reviews prior to actual construction beginning on your booth. This back-and-forth with the exhibit design company is a crucial time when you can make sure that your ideas and desires are understood so that the end result is the trade show booth you’ve been imagining.

After the mockup reviews comes one of the most exciting parts of the whole process: the walkthrough. We’ll cover that stage in our next blog entry — stay tuned!


Ready to get started or have some more detailed questions on the booth design process? Give mackenzie EXHIBIT a call at 801-621-7500 or email us here.