Design Search / Trade Show and Event Tips / Fine-Tune Your Trade Show Knowledge /

30 Trade Show Exhibit Conspiracies

30 Things That Conspire to Destroy Your Beautiful Trade Show Exhibit

You’ve planned for months. It may even be your biggest company event of the year. You have worked with your trusted vendor partners, as well as your internal staff, to ensure that your company exhibit has been designed and built to perfectly fit your company’s needs and objectives.

But what you didn’t know is that the world conspires to destroy the beautiful thing you built, the minute it leaves your dock.

Here are 30 Things on the Show Floor that can derail that smooth and hassle-free experience you’re seeking during the move-in and move-out of your company’s next big trade show:

  1. Your inbound  freight arrives late to show.
  2. Dealing with lost or misplaced crates/ cases.
  3. There is no electrical laid in the booth.
  4. Electrical was not ordered for the booth.
  5. Too little electrical was ordered for the booth.
  6. No carpet order on file at desk.
  7. No carpet order was submitted to the General Contractor by you or your display house.
  8. Your shipment arrives to your booth space, and there is damage.
  9. You’ve shipped your 42” HDTV monitors cross country in their original cardboard boxes.
  10. There are critical parts are missing from your exhibit structure.
  11. The wrong graphics were sent to the show; the proper graphics will arrive tomorrow.
  12. The last exhibit repack was unbelievably sloppy (or got incredibly bounced around during shipping to the show).
  13. Your exhibit system structure is a brand new booth, shipping directly from the manufacturer.
  14. No instructions or CADs are in the cases with the display.
  15. Incorrect booth orientation was provided to the I&D team.
  16. There was no booth orientation provided to the I&D company.
  17. There is a hostile GC / labor force.
  18. There are trust and communication issues between exhibitor personnel and their trade show coordinator (or display house sales rep, or their boss, etc.).
  19. Exhibitor personnel badmouths their exhibit house repeatedly.
  20. Exhibitor wants to “reconfigure” the booth during set-up.
  21. The AV vendor you’ve selected doesn’t “hang” stuff (they only “deliver” stuff).
  22. The exhibitor has decided during install that you want to add 2 more ??? (you name it).
  23. You (the Exhibitor) have neglected to mention anything about the Internet service you require.
  24. The exhibit  “empties” are mis-delivered -- 4 aisles over from your booth space.
  25. One of your wood crates never makes it back from storage for the dismantle / repack.
  26. No pre-printed outbound labels were provided for your 51 piece shipment.
  27. No outbound freight carrier information of any kind has been provided to your I&D team.
  28. The extra “additional shipment” you put together at end of show (literature, unused giveaways, etc.) has not been communicated to your exhibit house or I&D contact.
  29. Tired of waiting for your empty cases to return, you decide to:  a) walk back on the docks and look for your crates, and b) bribe the closest forklift driver to “get them” for you.
  30. The General Contractor forces your freight. Ouch!!!!!

Written by Chris Griffin. Chris is a 25 year trade show executive who specialized in exhibition logistics and U.S. labor relations. He is the President of Trade Show Supply and TS CREW, a company that provides installation & dismantle labor service, and exhibit rental solutions in over 20 U.S. cities.

For more information about trade show or event marketing, give us a call or Contact Us. We welcome the opportunity to assist you with your next show.

Article Author:

Mel White
Classic Exhibits Inc.

Add designs and photos to your personal gallery simply by clicking on the +My Gallery links

Then email your "My Gallery" to colleagues, friends, or your favorite exhibit designer. There's no better way to begin designing a display that reflects your exhibit marketing goals.

Note: My Gallery uses a temporary browser cookie to store your gallery. We recommend that you send your gallery to your email address if you need to retain it for longer than 30 days.

  • Production lead times are based on business days and DO NOT include any shipping days.
  • Production-ready artwork (when applicable) must accompany the order confirmation. Delays in uploading artwork may lead to expedited charges or shipping changes.
  • No order will be released to Production without a signed order confirmation.
  • Shipping is based on the availability of materials and graphics. Additional charges may apply if materials or graphics must be expedited.
  • Shorter lead times may be available based on schedule openings in Customer Service and Production. Rush charges may apply.
  • Standard lead times do not apply to orders of multiple quantities.
  • Please check for product availability on ALL RENTAL exhibits.
Exhibit Weight varies depending on the packaging and the shipping method. Variables include but are not limited to:
  • Dimensional Weight vs. Actual Weight: Dimensional weight is defined as crate or case size. On most air shipments, the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight
  • Portable Cases vs. Wood Crates or Molded Tubs (where applicable): Exhibit designs that require one wood crate would require multiple portable cases. Selecting one vs. the other affects the total weight (dimensional or actual).
  • Freight Carrier: LTL carriers (Less than Truckload) quote freight based on space used. UPS, FedEx, and air freight carriers quote freight based on either the dimensional or the actual weight of the shipment.
  • Freight Service Level (number of days): Service levels range from Same Day Delivery to Two Week Delivery.
For more information about exhibit weights and freight options, please contact your local exhibit representative.
Electrical, Cord, and Wire Management varies depending on the display and each exhibitor's requirements. When ordering your trade show display, consider the following electrical/wire management issues and discuss your options with an exhibit professional:
  • Inline vs. Island Displays
  • Lead Retrieval Devices
  • Computer and Monitor Cables
  • Demo Equipment
  • Overhead Lighting
  • Grommets and Grommet Placement in Counters
  • Overhead vs. Floor Power Supply
  • Flooring and Electrical Wiring
  • Options for Hiding Cords and Cables
  • Flat vs. Round Electrical Cords
  • Multi-Plug Outlets and Extension Cords
By reviewing your wiring options BEFORE you order your display, you'll save TIME and MONEY and ensure your exhibit exceeds your expectations and your installation is trouble-free.