Planning a trade show can take a lot of time and money to put a successful show together. Legal IT companies and legal software vendors want to get the most out of their booth space for a minimal price, but expenses can quickly rise soon after making the first expensive purchase - the actual booth space on the exhibit floor! However, your show doesn’t have to bankrupt you. Here are 7 helpful money saving tips for planning a trade show event.
Regardless of your booth size, whether it is a standard 10x10 booth space, an island space or simply a tabletop display exhibit, you can minimize your investment and maximize your gain from the upcoming legal and technology tradeshows, such as LegalTech, ACEDS, ILTA, ARMA, Carmel Valley E-Discovery Retreat and others.
1. Read the show manual!
If you are getting a booth at a trade show, you will undoubtedly get a big manual from the show organizers. Sometimes it's called a show guide, an exhibitor’s manual, or a show kit. Read it cover to cover. There are important dates, deadlines, forms and rates in there, and penalties may apply if you don’t know about them. Create an outline of all the important forms you will need to complete and deadlines you need to follow, so you don’t miss any.
2. Shipping and Storage
Missing a shipping deadline can end up costing you more money than you expect, so after you have created an outline of important dates - stick to getting all of your shipping items sent out on time. If you miss a shipping deadline to store your items, it will cost more to ship after that deadline date.
3. Material and Handling
Did you know you will be charged a fee for someone to transfer your shipped booth from the loading dock to your booth location? The Material and Handling or Drayage charge is based on weight and can quickly add up. Simply eliminating small things can save a fortune at the end. If you have items that you can bring to the show site on your own, such as marketing material, promo items, small boxes, etc. consider that a way to save money on the Material and Handling cost. Also, having smaller items in your own possession reduces the risk of things being lost in shipment.
4. Union Rules
Know the hotel’s union rules and labor jurisdictions ahead of time – they should be in the exhibitor manual (see tip#1 above). This will dictate what you can and cannot do during set up and breakdown. Knowing what those rules are can help you save time during set up and breakdown. You may need to pre-order labor services depending on your booth needs and should have all forms and information beforehand rather than trying to figure it out when you are on-site.
5. Create a Checklist
I cannot stress enough how important creating a checklist is! If you are a small company or big company. doing a small show or big event - make a list and check it twice! Larger companies will need to work with their different internal departments that are involved for the show and each department should have its own list. For example, IT will be handing off computers, cables, monitors and the Marketing department will hand off all of their material for handouts and promo items. You want to make sure you have a checklist for each department (even if it's just you and no departments) you do not want to be at the show site missing items. If any show items are missing, you will have to expedite the shipment of those missing items to the show, which can be very expensive, not to mention stressful.
6. Timing is Everything
Know set up and break down times - especially if you are working with outside contractors to put together your booth. Overtime rates usually occur before 9 am and after 5pm and always on weekends. Know the rates and times and plan to work fast.
7. Hire a Trade Show Planner
Hiring a trade show planner from an event management company will help you save time and money. A trade show planner will handle details such as booth set-up, contracts, budgeting, scheduling, promo item distribution and production, shipping requirements, checklists, outlines, and more. Working with a trade show planner allows an exhibiting company to focus on the needs of the attendees, their clients and future clients that are at the show. Hiring one can help save clients at least 10% of their total planning budget
These are the top 7 most important tips that an exhibitor can follow to save costs immediately. Planning for a trade show takes a lot of time and attention to detail and it can easily take time out from your regular day to prepare for it. When an exhibitor works with a trade show planner at an event management company, planning experts will always help you save time and money and will make sure you are able to focus on the event, while they handle all of the details.
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