First live trade show of 2021 was a success!

Surf Expo jumped right into 2021 with a live, in-person trade show last week.

The live trade show was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida. There were over 2500 exhibitors and from what we understand somewhere around 25,000 attendees. In most every way it felt like a typical Orlando trade show with freight handling, POV marshaling, electrical and hardworking exhibitors getting their booths show ready.

From all we could see, the move-in was smooth and orderly. For us, Shepard Exposition and Surf Expo were both refreshingly approachable and helpful. Clearly everyone wanted this show to be a success.


A few health and safety additions that caught our eye:

    • Temperature checks at all entrances. Once your temperature was checked, you received a wrist band that showing you passed with normal temperature. Each day had a different color band and each day you had to get your temperature checked with a simple scan of the forehead. Quick and easy! We personally didn’t see anyone turned away with high temperature either before, during or after the show.


    • As expected, there were many signs to wear your mask. We witnessed very little resistance to mask wearing as most people by this stage seem to be used to wearing one in public. I particularly liked how the show had a number of people simply walking the show floor holding a small round sign reminding people to wear their mask. They simply walked by without saying a word. Kudos to whoever came up with that approach. It’s what stood out to me the most.


    • There were no shortages of hand sanitizing stations at the entrances and throughout the hall.


  • There we’re a few very wide main aisles. These made it easy to avoid others if you were headed to the front entrance or the back of the show hall to the food concession area. Tables were far apart with people dedicated to keeping them clean and sanitized.

As an Exhibit House we were curious to see how other Exhibit Houses adapted to wearing masks and providing sanitizing. For our client, we included a small automatic hand sanitizing dispenser for the corner of the reception counter at no extra charge. We also brought disinfectant spray and dedicated microfiber towels that we used at the end of install and the end of each show day, and again in the morning before the show opened.

Our client didn’t ask about these practices and we didn’t make a big deal about it. We just did it. These were all simply minor modifications of what we normally do. Our client didn’t make a big deal about it either way and we didn’t see other exhibitors hyper focused on sanitizing their booths.

Keep in mind that the majority of exhibitors at the show would fall in the category of DIY bringing in and installing their own booth. My guess is that labor companies and exhibit houses would be the ones heavily focusing on these practices and we look forward to seeing if that’s the case as shows continue in 2021. Also it could be that each exhibitor sanitized like we did and simply didn’t make a big deal about having a sanitized booth.

I was also curious to see if exhibitors used plexiglass dividers in the booth spaces, there were a few but not many. I didn’t expect anything different as I feel plexiglass dividers are fairly ineffective as I’ve notice everywhere I go people simply talk around them instead of trying to talk through them.

This show made the decision to not have aisle carpet. We’re not sure if that decision was health and safety related. We could understand that foregoing aisle carpet allows less workers to be in the show hall before and after the event and therefore the event can move in quicker and move out quicker. But Surf Expo, with its many DIY exhibitors, I would guess it’s quite common to not have booth carpet. Seems to work for this show. So eliminating aisle carpet likely was no big deal.

I really don’t know if the attendee account met Surf Expos expectations or the exhibitors expectations, but there was a steady flow of attendees on all three days of the event. For sure, everyone seemed glad to be there to support the event and get back to business. I worried that maybe our own client was having low attendance, but they told us that they actually had a number of solid conversations on each day of the event! They were very happy with the shows results.

Surf Expo was a very good first live event for 2021. It was the right kind of show, in the right kind of exhibit hall and in the right show city. More than anything, this show demonstrates that trade shows can be safe for exhibitors and attendees with a little effort and common sense. For our team, it was really good to be back to work!

Surf Expo has two Orlando trade shows each year, The next one is in September. We suspect that their September show will be an even bigger success for them and for their exhibitors and attendees, as it comes after everyone will have access to a vaccine.

Thank you Surf Expo for forging ahead to restart live events safely and successfully!

It’s a good start to 2021.

Here’s Something To Be Excited About: Changes To Freeman’s Material Handling Fees!

The 2020 coronavirus shut down has had an unanticipated positive effect within the trade show industry. One such effect that was recently announced by Freeman, the world’s largest Show Organizer –   Freeman has significantly streamlined how Material Handling fees will be calculated moving forward.

Freeman announced a simplified fee structure to move away from the many contingencies that can catch less savvy exhibitors off-guard. Now, Freeman will simply charge one flat rate per 1 pound of freight shipped to your booth space, regardless of whether you choose to ship early to Advance Warehouse or later Direct to Show.

Prices seem to be in the same ballpark as they were previously, however, they have simplified them in a way that makes it much more possible for exhibitors to understand what they will be paying. This transparency will allow exhibitors and EAC’s to more accurately estimate and budget for an upcoming show.


So, what was the old Freeman situational policy?

In the past, there were numerous conditional situations that could add additional fees to your Freeman Material Handling bill. The larger your booth, the more significant difference this could make in the final amount you pay under these conditional situations.

One such situation pertained to how your freight was packed. In the past, if the dock workers somewhat subjectively concluded that your freight was not properly crated or shrink-wrapped, they could mark your incoming freight as special handling. Special handling would typically add 30% more to your material handling bill, which could amount to thousands of dollars.

Another such situation dealt with how your freight was delivered. In the past you might pay more per pound if you shipped your freight to advance warehouse. Now, the price will be the same either way. This change benefits Freeman too, as it is better to receive the majority of freight early, reducing congestion during your booth install. You pay less to ship to Advance Warehouse, and we all deal with less install congestion.

It’s understandable how exhibitors have felt tricked by small print, but these changes will help to facilitate trust and a more positive trade show experience. Many of us are watching to see if Freeman’s competitors will follow suit.


Influencing Other General Contractors

GES, the second largest Trade Show General Contractor, recently implemented a hugely confusing way of charging for overtime handling. This new Material Handling policy bases the rate at which you’re charged on the time they decide to move your freight from the warehouse to the show hall. So, if GES decided to move your freight from the advance warehouse to the show hall at midnight, then your entire material handling bill would be slapped with an overtime rate of charge. Regardless of what time of day you delivered it to them or what time of day you return to collect your freight after the show.


We hope to see GES follow Freeman’s lead on simplifying material handling charges. This transparency does a lot of good for our entire industry and removes some of the mystery and fear of exhibiting at US trade shows. Very often we find ourselves arguing with the general contractor, on our clients behalf, to remove many of these unplanned charges, with little success.

We are relieved to see Freeman making changes to how they will charge material handling. Changes that rightfully move us closer to how shows are done in other countries, as a huge percentage of exhibitors are coming from outside of the US. Now more than ever, it makes sense to recognize that we are competing for event dominance in a world market. Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, and Dubai would love to take our place.

It’s no secret that trade shows notoriously have a history of what seem to be extra fees and hidden charges that are not disputable. This material handling news from Freeman is one such example of how the exhibit industry is looking inward to improve and provide a more streamlined and straightforward trade show experience.

The US is the world’s leading destination for major international trade shows. Coronavirus has helped us remember this, and given us some downtime to develop and implement changes that keep the US the top business destination.

Trade Show Industry Growth Before COVID-19

Were Trade Shows growing before COVID-19? Are trade shows on the decline?


With vaccines in the final testing phases, and trade shows restarting just around the corner, this is probably a good time to explore the question of what direction the trade show industry was headed before coronavirus, and whether they’re still relevant in today’s post-COVID-19 business world.

It’s now been roughly 8 months since news of coronavirus first halted live events and the trade show industry. We can now reasonably look back and ask ourselves if trade shows had run their course COVID-19, and if coronavirus simply opened up the way for a better solution in the form of virtual meetings.


Virtual Events:

Will virtual shows replace live events?

Just months ago, this would’ve been a heated debate topic. Plenty of people hoped that virtual events could somehow create and retain the energy and focus of live events, while leveraging modern communication technology to give Exhibitors and Attendees a better experience at a much lower cost. This had not yet been put to the test… until recently.

The cost benefit of trade shows has long been under scrutiny, much like most advertising expenses. We know trade shows are about networking, promoting new innovations, and making new contacts. Quite often though, sales follow indirectly, and it’s hard to pinpoint the return on that investment. It’s true that trade show investments generally make more sense when you truly have something impressive that attendees will respond to. You could say that trade shows are successful because impressive and impactful demonstrations are easier to achieve in person. However, in exchange for this live presence, trade shows can easily cost a company tens of thousands of dollars, and in many cases hundreds of thousands of dollars. By contrast, virtual shows offer more convenience at a lower cost to both Exhibitors and Attendees, translating to less risk on the investment.

If you happened to be a company that had developed a virtual event platform, the live event restrictions placed during the coronavirus pandemic were truthfully a lucky break for your new emerging tech business. Coronavirus gave the companies in this new platform an opportunity to show what they could do with almost no competition from the live marketing side of things. Many shows have gone virtual since around June, and will likely continue to be virtual through March 2021. CES, arguably the best known trade show in the world, plans to go virtual this January 2021.

To see where this new type of event is headed, you need to take a look at what exactly a virtual trade show is. How does it really differ from a collection of webinars and an expanded online exhibitor directory? The answer to that is very fuzzy for many of these so-called virtual shows. For the most part, the whole experience amounts to an expanded online exhibitor directory with a series of webinars and online hosted breakout meetings.

The feedback we are hearing is that these virtual events simply have a hard time creating the energy and excitement that live events create. Yes, you can find buyers and sellers and listen to industry experts, but you could do that online anyway without an organized virtual event. Live event excitement and energy seem to translate into more focus and better results.

In my opinion, the message between the lines is that virtual shows are an acceptable temporary solution until a coronavirus vaccine arrives. However, they are not a long-term solution capable of reviving the trade show industry as we knew it. It’s likely that most trade show associations will emerge from this producing live events that are enhanced with online support, keynote speakers breakout sessions and expanded searchable exhibitor directories.


Growth in Exhibition Space:

So, to the question of whether trade shows were on the decline before coronavirus, let’s look at one easy indicator: new trade show venue construction prior to COVID-19.

Unless you’re an Insider, you may not know that the Las Vegas Convention Center was due to host its largest ever show this January with the addition of more than 600,000 ft.² . The Las Vegas Convention Center took over an adjacent property which used to be the Riviera on the Las Vegas Strip. Now, what used to be a few blocks off the strip is now a much larger, prime location on Las Vegas Strip. Elon Musk and Boring Company’s new and exciting underground transport tunnels have been added, featuring futuristic Tesla vehicles whisking 4,000 people per hour from one expo hall to the other, with plans to expand all over the strip. If you haven’t seen any pictures of this new convention center, it’s worth a look. The beautifully impressive architecture is already attracting several associations that are excited to host a trade show in a facility with so much to offer.

As if that wasn’t enough, Caesars Entertainment has constructed a new 550,000 ft.² exhibition hall directly behind the popular Sands Expo Center. Both of these facilities are on the Las Vegas strip, with thousands of hotel rooms and restaurants lining the strip close by. The new Caesars Forum’s first show is scheduled to be the 2021 Shot Show mid-January, in just a few months.

To keep things in perspective for Las Vegas, let’s not forget Mandalay Bay added 350,000 ft.² to their convention center just two years ago.

Now, before you start thinking “OK all the shows are just condensing in Las Vegas,” let’s take a look at Orlando’s trade show presence. In 2019, Orlando was planning towards the largest convention center in the United States. That new building, now on hold due to COVID-19, would have added 930,000 ft.² of additional exhibition space.

Without looking too deeply, it’s easy to see that the exhibition industry was poised to evolve and emerge stronger than ever, prior to COVID-19. Some trade shows have become tremendously large, requiring tradeshow cities such as Las Vegas and Orlando to adapt in order to provide enough hotels, restaurants, taxis and other support services for a huge influx of business professionals. Taking a broad look at the industry, considering all of the convention space in what might be called primary and secondary tradeshow cities, adding in all the other smaller markets across the country like Denver, Dallas and Boston, and layering on the new added space in primary tradeshow cities, you can see a huge commitment to face-to-face marketing. Growth is trending toward handling even more future shows than in the past.

For our small company, building custom trade show rentals, 2020 started off looking like it would be our best year ever. We know this was also true with many competitors. There’s a bit of an intangible draw associated with a live event that we saw growing at an exponential rate. It has to do with stepping away from your daily routine, traveling to an exciting city, and rubbing elbows with competitors, vendors, suppliers and colleagues. We’ve done tradeshows for 30 years and we are quite convinced that much of what you accomplish at a trade show happens outside show hall hours, maybe during install, maybe the morning before show opens up, maybe late-night evenings out bonding with new colleagues and customers.

As I write this I’m sitting at an outdoor café in Las Vegas that, in my community, is by far the most popular and busy place on a Wednesday late-morning. All of us here in this café could have easily stayed home and had our coffee, so why are we here? Turns out, what humans really want is to be around other humans. The future of trade shows and the answers to our questions lie within that simple fact.

The Perfect Post-COVID-19 Trade Show

The perfect post-COVID-19 trade show may not happen, or could it?  I wonder… nothing so far has provided the opportunity for positive change more than the COVID-19 shutdown. Nothing has given the Exhibit Industry more opportunity to organize and execute the perfect face-to-face show, until now.

Here are some ideas:

Leveraging the power of the internet – The perfect trade show would leverage the power of the internet in a big way, huge! This would provide a richer show experience for exhibitors and attendees. Most hotels and coffee shops provide free internet to their guests. Today access to the internet is fairly widespread and low cost.

So, why let shows gouge Exhibitors for this basic service? Why not somehow provide this basic service at-cost, since having it helps all parties? If every Exhibitor had low cost, high speed internet they would come with more engaging content and more digitally effective booths. Maybe they would need even less staff, as they could stream meetings and demos from back at HQ, or even while working from home. As we speak, third party companies have started to offer the trade show industry an alternative, lower cost, high speed internet solution.

With the explosion of live meeting services like Zoom, Skype and teams of others, streaming video will remain a big part of post-COVID-19 trade shows. Many developments currently being refined for interim virtual trade shows will become common in post-COVID-19 events. For show organizers, a well-attended show is a successful show.

Leveraging new technology – The perfect show would leverage the power of modern technology, in particular security and safety technology. When I walked CES in recent years, it was obvious to see how the explosion of sensor technology has fueled many industries, most notably health, safety and security.

Today there are low-cost solutions for easily taking individual temperatures as people file through security check points. Likewise, today there are rapid antibody tests available for around $5 that can tell if you are sick with COVID-19 or other viruses. This COVID-19 scare may well be a blessing in disguise, allowing us the opportunity to get our act together for any future mass gathering of people. We can easily accomplish more than just 6 feet social distancing and mandatory masks.

Security is absolutely worth noting. As a builder for over 30 years I can say that most US shows are far too easy to slip into unnoticed. The reason for this is simply poor security. I’ve tried to employ my finely honed tricks at shows in other countries with no success. Why is it that their facilities are truly secure?

Outsourcing security from third-party companies can be expensive and you don’t always get staff that actually care about keeping the show secure. Security doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg, and it likely can’t be successful when outsourcing. There must be a sense of ownership, owning the responsibility of keeping the show secure. Failure to do so must have consequences that travel up the chain of command, and hold officers accountable. Security teams should be diligent in locating show access points and patrolling them. Even a simple penalty system, to enforce the consequences of a breach, that results in costs for the security provider would greatly increase the overall security of a trade show.

Leveraging exhibit house labor force – The perfect show would allow exhibit houses to install their own booths. Just like they do in every other country, where it’s assumed that the team who built, tested, packed and delivered the booth is also the best team to provide the install. I don’t mean from a supervisor level only, I’m talking hands-on labor as well.

Exhibit builders represent a large portion of the move-in and move-out activity, yet they often have little support for where to park, move in tools and equipment, and even cart loads of last minute items. These builders have a vested interest in the booth arriving to the space undamaged, the crates carefully unpacked and the booth assembled with care and caution. Show labor is a good thing but should be elective and not required. This would raise the bar, good workers would have plenty of work and bad workers would be ferreted out.

So, again, COVID-19 may be giving us an opportunity to weed out ineffective, old go-to solutions and implement new ones. Solutions that utilize emerging technology and lend an eye to how all other countries organize and execute trade shows. Like it or not, the world will keep getting smaller, with a global economy taking precedence over local economies.

Free up show aisles – All shows currently have some form of booth restrictions. These restrictions are designed mainly to keep one exhibitor from unfairly blocking the visibility of another. Maybe there’s one more small restriction we need to add that benefits attendees.

Requiring a 2 foot, uncluttered booth perimeter would provide more space for booth staff to step out of the aisle while others walk by. Placing counters and product right on the aisle has become common but it encourages booth clutter with booth staff spilling out into the aisles. A 2 foot buffer could result in more approachable booth designs and better, more natural opportunity for social distancing.

SAP Sapphire Show

One impressive show is particularly worth mentioning in this discussion. The SAP Sapphire show, held at the Orange County Convention Center each year, comes to mind as a show that could implement everything mentioned to easily be a perfect show.

Orlando has a history of being the most relaxed city for Exhibit Houses to work in. There is ample parking with easy access to the show floor for all. Show labor is available but not required. Exhibit Houses can do most of install work, except work below the ground in the electrical floor plates and the work suspended from the ceiling. This makes sense and is why Orlando is most familiar and welcoming to exhibitors from other countries.

Good job Orlando and SAP Sapphire. Hopefully our examples can inspire others as we all look for ways to make trade shows great again!

Bob Priest-Heck View On Post-Covid-19 Trade Shows

This is a well written article of one industry persons well thought out view of how trade shows will look post Covid-19. We agree with its message and wanted to re-post to give it whatever additional exposure we can. Enjoy the read…

In case you were worried, trade shows are not going away, but they will forever change. And that’s an exciting thing.

We at Freeman extend our congratulations to Apple and its marketing teams. Apple’s Virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was impressive – excellent, even. After all, it was organized by a company with incredible technology and message discipline wrapped in one of the most potent brand narratives, all built around user-centered design.

For WWDC, Apple leveraged all the advantages of a virtual production, ticking every box on the proverbial virtual event best practices list, from drum-tight messaging and exclusive content to high production value and access to informative and relevant experts.

We know first-hand how difficult it is to do this right. You name it, Apple nailed it.
The power of face-to-face

There is something unique and inimitable about actually being there. It’s why our friends in tech continue to rave about the WWDC event’s virtual elements, while also speaking wistfully of missing the live, in-person event experience.

And rightly so.

The energy exchange created through human connection has the power to deepen the moment, inspire change and build enough trust to move mountains.

Even after creating the iPhone, Steve Jobs knew the connections, conversations, unexpected discoveries, and the irreplaceable sense of being there – the serendipity of the live event – would not be replaced by the digital experience.

This is where the business of “live” comes into play: face-to-face marketing, eyeball-to-eyeball, live interactions that differentiate and enhance the entire experience. We’ve evangelized and advocated for the attendee experience, strategic design and alignment. We’ve gathered leaders from non-traditional disciplines — storytellers and filmmakers, strategists and creatives, technologists and scientists, and more smart, innovative thinkers focused on a core belief that a great attendee experience makes a live event irreplaceable.

Freeman’s COVID-19 Attendee Pulse Research validates that point, with almost two-thirds (62 percent) saying they expect events to return as strong as they ever were before COVID-19.

Economic incubators for growth

For the millions of businesses that are the true life-blood of the economy, more than 80 percent of them small with many being women and minority-owned, it’s essential to recognize the critical role events play as a massive incubator for innovation and economic growth.

Without trade shows and the uncountable and unexpected connections and opportunities they create and nurture, hundreds of thousands of businesses risk losing a critical and accelerated path to success and scale.

It’s worth noting, for example, that in 1977, a little 10-employee company introduced their Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco and started a journey that would lead to them virtually hosting WWDC.

Without face-to-face marketing, the trust and access it brings, and the commerce it drives, are we condemning an Apple of the future to a much steeper, more protracted, more expensive and far riskier path to success?
Focusing on the right attendee

Historically, the live events industry has focused on size and scale versus quality of attendee. Through benchmark work at Freeman, we know that not all attendees are created equal. In a post-pandemic world, companies can focus on getting the right people to the event – the key decisions makers, influencers, and brand loyalists that drive revenue pipelines for businesses.

An integrated approach is necessary. In a post-COVID world, it’s easy to think we must shift away from in-person meetings and events. However, that’s not what anyone wants. We have asked exhibitors, attendees and brand marketers. They want to have face-to-face events. The bar will be higher.

Those of us in the live events space have a clear-eyed perspective on the industry’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and liabilities. We have known change was necessary. We have invested in virtual platforms, understanding their value and long-assuming that hybrid events would become a critical part of enhancing any size event portfolio.

Our industry is poised to move to a new, more relevant and valuable reality. Moving forward, trade shows will thrive by focusing on the live experience, making it easier for the right people to connect in person, while expanding to virtual audiences.

We know we’re all going down a track at high speed as we approach a very tight and slippery turn. It will take skill, discipline, planning, and nerve to make the turn. We’re ready for it. Are you?

Trade Shows, Post-Covid-19

Post Covid-19 Recovery

It’s amazing to consider there are over 250 Convention Centers across the US with more than 75 million square feet of meeting space.  How will the events industry go forward along with Trade Shows post Covid-19?

Well, it certainly helps that 250 local economies rely on trade show dollars to fuel local hotels and restaurants and other businesses, that are in turn creating ideal conditions for thousand companies to network, innovate and grow the US economy as a whole. Trade is the backbone of our modern economy and trade shows are the incubator for future economic growth.


What we Know

  • We know exhibitors want exposure to new buyers. They risk a sizable investment on the promise that the show organizer can and will bring qualified buyers to the show and past their booths. Exhibitors can choose to exhibit passively hoping to connect with a few buyers, or Exhibitors can be proactive and invest a bit more with sponsorships and pre-show and post-show marketing to exponentially increase their exposure at the show.
  • We know Exhibitors worry about losing ground to the competition. Often companies exhibit primarily to reassert their market dominance and renew their bond with existing clients.
  • We know exhibitors want to size up the competition. Trade shows fuel and regulates competition. Innovators want to know how they are stacking up against their competitors in terms of people, products, and marketing. Trade shows give managers direct feedback and incentive. Trade shows also play a part in ensuring fair play. More than one company has been shut down on the show floor due to patent or copyright infringement. Trade shows being competitors face to face where the ego meets honor.
  • We know buyers want to kick the tires. Buyers know brochures and videos can show the benefits without the shortcomings. If you looking for a handheld camera stabilizer, you can find great YouTube videos that show you all DJI’s stabilizer will do, but that cannot compare to walking into the booth, talking with prep, and demoing that stabilizer for yourself. You can then walk to 4 other booths and talk with their representatives and demo their stabilizers.
  • For buyers, stepping away from the daily grind has benefits. This same stabilizer buyer in our example likely has her days full of emails managing existing products. We know stepping away from your daily workload allows you to be more open to something new and different. Trade shows are filled with an energy of innovation and the innovators that can really dive deep in discussion. Planning to attend an event and booking airfare locks that time away from your busy schedule where otherwise you might not.
  • Let’s keep in mind that trade shows are simply the main event for industry associations. CES is the main event for the Consumer Technology Association ( CTA). CTA is the Event Organizer that puts on the world’s largest show (CES) each January but that’s not all they do for their 2200 members. CTA works to influence public policy, hold CES Events in Las Vegas, and China as well as conducts market research, and helps implement technical standards.
  • Industry associations are also event organizers. They have the most influence over show floor change. They are the customer that rents the venue space for the show. They are the customer that hires the General Contractor. The Event Organizer determines where to be strict and relaxed in the areas of show floor access and booth regulations and in right to work states, this includes union jurisdiction. Why else does Orlando have a much more relaxed union atmosphere than Chicago?


Opportunities for Change

Create a safer show hall

Of course, it goes without saying that trade shows must be well organized and clean and safe environments pandemic or not. This has always been true and COVID 19 has simply reminded us of this. Venues, Event Organizers, General Contractors, and Exhibit Houses, Trade Shows Post COVID 19 can easily adopt disinfecting and sanitizing materials and requirements. Digital temperature checkers at entry points is also easy to refine and implement.

Trade shows also could quite easily implement targeted entry to a show for exhibitors during installation and for attendees during the show. Shows are already used to this in big shows as they publish targeted driver check-in dates and times to manage the activity on the freight dock.

Provide better digital tools

Even before Covid-19 many event organizers have embraced using the web and video technology to help exhibitors and attendees get the most from trade show participation. Exhibitors need the ability to drill down on exhibitors by category and product/service offering to arrive at a shortlist of attendees they want to target, and as luck would have it, attendees need the very same thing for their Trade Shows Post COVID 19. A tool like this that helps exhibitors and attendees pre-show plan and post-show follow up will be a truly helpful tool.

Limiting Floor Access

In many of today’s shows, the floor has many people walking around that are not registered, buyers. In addition, there are registered vendors calling on booths, and exhibit industry salespeople calling on booths. Event organizers could restrict entry on the first two days of an event. In a 3 day show, the first 2 days could be reserved for Exhibitors and buyers with limited access for the press and EAC’s. The third day can have general admission to give vendor access for cold calling on Exhibitors.

Event Organizers could also limit the number of Exhibitor Badges allowed for a given booth space based on booth size. For example, Exhibitors could be limited to staff 2 badges per 10×10 space. A 20×20 booth space would be allocated 8 exhibitor badges in this example. More than this could come at a high cost to deter companies from flooding their booth with more staff than it can safely hold.

Both EAC’s and Press should be allowed on the show floor but managed carefully thru one show entrance. With today’s more technically complex booths its important for exhibit builders to have uniformed staff that can rush in a restart a video wall or frees a stuck door or reattaches a loose graphic panel.

Union Restrictions

Union requirements could be much more relaxed. The Orange County Convention Center is the best example of reasonable union requirements. Union labor should be an option for everything other than electrical floor-work, Material Handling, and Rigging. Requiring union labor in many cases replaces skilled motivated workers with lower quality unmotivated workers.

EAC and Exhibitor workers with proper access badges could allow curbside unloading and an access door for tools and material drops.

Booth Design

Booth design could also have some new post-COVID-19 requirements. One easily enforced would be to require Exhibitors to keep 2 feet between any counter or pedestal and the edge of their booth space. This would reduce crowding in the aisles and promotes awareness of keeping a safe distance. Exhibit designers will likely adapt and restart promoting less cluttered open booth designs that give the opportunity to engage while keeping 6 feet distance.

To support this, show organizers could easily implement a sliding scale for Material Handing to encourage lighter less complex booths, especially during the recovery.



It’s encouraging to consider the cumulative effect changes like these could have in Trade Shows Post COVID 19. If we are able to provide cleaner, safer, less crowded show floors people will want to attend. If future trade shows are filled with lighter less complex booths built by fewer highly motivated workers, we would have trade shows that cost less and run more efficiently. This would be quite familiar and welcoming to exhibitors coming from other countries. Overall we could also have shows that are truly more appealing to exhibitors and attendees. Shows that would better be able to deliver the return on investment while safely perpetuating the age-old desire to travel and pursue fame and fortune.

Trade Show Booth Rentals in Las Vegas – New Advantages

Considering a new custom trade show booth? Well, renting your trade show booth for a trade show in Las Vegas or anywhere in the United States may emerge a stronger option this fall.

Like all show cities, Trade shows and events in Las Vegas took a hit in the past few months, however Las Vegas is poised to emerge and far and away the best place to host and attend a trade show or convention. Las Vegas has 3.2 million square foot of Exhibition space after the completion of the expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.

When trade shows resume this fall, exhibitors and show attendees will be looking for better exhibit design to minimize their trade show risks. Renting a trade show booth from a rental specialist in Las Vegas both can help reduce both financial and health risks.

Here’s why:

Trade show booth rental for Expertise: Renting your custom rental trade show display booth with a local Las Vegas builder of custom trade show exhibits will give you a rental partner investing in every aspect of a smooth successful trade show start to finish.

It’s like having a full service onsite agent to insure everything comes together as planned. Your install supervisor knows how your rental booth was packed, and he knows how to utilize the exhibitor service desk to avoid delays and get things done efficiently and without damage.

Trade show booth rental for Flexibility: Renting your trade show booth gives you the flexibility to change your booth design on a dime, from show to show and even last minute before your shows opening hour.

Prefer a larger counter, no problem. Prefer more stools, no problem either. Forget your laptop adapter no problem we have many of them. Whether furniture or audio visual or booth structure your custom rental partner is prepared with the product and services to back it up.

Trade show exhibits rental for Convenience: Today many companies opt for a rental trade show booth for all the conveniences that come with them. Your rental partner is an expert on their rental inventory, and the final rental design is likely a combination of standard rental inventory with a few custom elements and custom graphics to tailor the final design to you.

Trade show rental inventory is more likely to be time tested with options and design ideas easily integrated. You’ll spend less time in the design process and less time on the show floor because your rental partner is there. He will have packed your booth. He will lead a crew in unpacking and assembling your booth before the show and dismantling and repacking after your show has ended.

Trade show booth rental to Save Money: The way you save money with a modern trade show rental exhibit is to reuse that design 3-4 times making minor changes in layout and graphics year to year. If your booth still looks competitive after 4 shows, then make minor changes to keep if fresh and reap the savings from a few more years.

Your custom printed graphics represent the biggest opportunity to reduce costs. Design them so that can be used year after year. Minimize the graphics that highlight this years message, innovation or 2.0 version.

Remember, when you rental your trade show exhibit, you don’t worry about scratches, chips, broken or last crates or stolen TV’s. These are for your rental partner to handle or absorb as part of the cost of running a rental business.

Two other areas worth mention are Labor and Shipping:
Good rental inventory is designed to disassemble and pack quickly and efficiently. In addition these elements are more durable well engineered solutions that install quicker.

Since labor and shipping are among the most costly part of any trade show budget, it can make a huge difference. The General Contractor is rewarded based on time, but your rental partner is highly motivated to have you come back and rent next year. Your rental partner ( hopefully Exhibit People ) will come prepared so avoid Electrical delays, they will have a plan for install and dismantle that will maximize the productivity from everyone that contributes to your rental booth install.

So, as things change post Covid-19 we invite your to investigate Las Vegas exhibit booth rentals a bit deeper. Especially how a rental booth can help you stay safe, sane and focused on the business at hand. While your at it you may like to browse our priced rental design ideas sorted to show you our most Popular design ideas.

Trade Show Money Saving Tips

Tips worth reposting from Exhibitor Magazine! Most of us know these basic tips but with all the distractions these basic tips may be especially helpful as you prepare for summer and fall shows:

Insider Tips:

Planning ahead – Planning ahead ALWAYS saves money at trade shows. Don’t forget, this includes your flights and hotel too. If you use Miles then you have more options if you need to change or cancel.

Beating Deadlines – Getting show orders likes electrical, internet, overhead lighting and rigging placed early will save you big money, many times to the tune of 30%-40%! With the popularity of LED video walls growing every day, and with the amount of power they require, your savings on electrical and rigging can be extremely significant.

Penalties hurt – Shipping your trade show booth to the advance warehouse and sticking to your target move-in dates when applicable, is another area where you can avoid 30% off Target move in mistakes.

Exhibit People Money Saving Tip – Renting your trade show booth vs purchasing saves you in up front booth costs, storage fees, hardware maintenance and repairs and allows you to reuse your graphics for additional savings on your 2nd, 3rd and beyond shows.

This a great opportunity to start planning for your Summer and Fall shows. They will be here before we know it!


2021 Trade Show News

With the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, 2021 trade show news will bring us a total of 8,000,000 square feet of convention space to the city!
Yes, you read that right…8 million!