Okay! So you are now ready to have a killer exhibit next year. You are tired of watching your potential customers bypass your exhibit for the cool one down the aisle.
You want the cool exhibit. Next year, you will have a custom exhibit!
So, now what do you do? Let’s look at what is involved in the creation of an exhibit.
First there is the design. A good custom exhibit maker will spend a lot of time learning about you, your company, your products, your customers, and even your competition. The company will pay close attention to what your customers want, what excites them, what will draw them into your exhibit.
Then, the design team will go to work to create your exhibit on paper. Design is critical. Your exhibit must look exciting and fresh, and it must complement and enhance your product – show it off to the public. The design will have to accommodate your needs for technology, lighting, videos, etc. And the design will have to take into consideration the specifications of the exhibit venue.
Once design is agreed on, the specifications for fabrication must be drawn up. Then the exhibit is built. Many custom exhibit makers farm this part of the job to a fabricating shop. A full-service company will do this part in-house. There are three advantages to doing the fabrication in-house:
- You don’t have to worry about a third party delaying your job while doing other jobs.
- If there are any questions or issues during the fabrication process, the design team and fabricators can easily get together to figure out the best solution. Communication is easier when both parties are in the same building. The exhibit will not have to be sent back to the fabricating company if something doesn’t fit or operate perfectly.
- The exhibit company can control the quality of the job. It’s the exhibit company’s reputation that is hurt if the work is shoddy or deadlines are not met. The exhibit company cannot know about production or quality issues that a third party fabricator might be having until it is too late.
So, the exhibit is fabricated. Then it must be tested. It has to be built to make sure that everything fits and works properly. This must be done long before it is sent to the tradeshow. Anything that doesn’t work perfectly must be fixed.
Another part of the exhibit design process is adding in the portable products. Some exhibit companies only use one or two companies to provide all of your portable product needs (banners, displays, lighting, furniture, etc.). Others have great relationships with several different portable product companies, enabling you to select from a larger group of vendors, thus giving you more choice.
Once the exhibit is fully assembled, it must be packed in crates. These crates must be stored somewhere. A full-service exhibit house will have a storage facility you can use. If your exhibit company does not have storage facilities, storage of the crates becomes your responsibility.
When your trade show is about to happen, the exhibit must be shipped to the trade show venue, installed, and tested again. And when the show is over, it must be dismantled and shipped back.
Some exhibit companies contract that work out. The full-service house will handle all of that for you. The advantage to the full-service house is that they can use the same people who installed it at the shop to supervise and set it up at the show. These people are completely familiar with how your exhibit is to be set up. That can save time and money.
Some trade show venues require you to use local union labor to set up and dismantle exhibits. For those locations, the full-service exhibit house will have a good working relationship with the venue, will know exactly what is required, and will provide a knowledgeable supervisor to oversee everything to make sure that your exhibit is properly and efficiently set up and dismantled.
There is one more important factor to consider: trade show paperwork. The exhibitor application, material handling, electrical orders, and many other forms will need to be submitted on a timely basis. A good exhibit house will handle all of this paperwork for you.
So, now you know the scope of work that must be done for your next trade show. Use this information when you are interviewing exhibit houses about their services. Make sure you know exactly what the exhibit house will do for you and whether it is doing that work with its own people or is farming the work out to other vendors. And make sure you know what factors you will be responsible for. The choice of your next exhibit maker is in your hands. Now go get that killer exhibit!