Best Ways to Save on Exhibit Transportation

by Gwen Parsons 15. August 2013 17:38
Transportation accounts for about ten percent of the average trade show and event budget. Reducing the cost allows you to repurpose the savings and re-invest it in promoting your event to generate more traffic and more business. 

Use lighter weight display solutions
Itís no secret that weight dictates your freight and drayage costs. Display solutions that travel compactly and weigh less offer exhibitors BIG savings. Portable modular displays are designed to offer high style and built with fabric printed graphics and lightweight aluminum to lower transport costs.

Get accurate cost estimates
Nobody likes to return from an event to find invoices that are significantly higher than what was expected or budgeted. The best way to get accurate estimates up front is with the correct number of items and the weight for each of them (boxes, cases, carpet bags) in your shipment. With this information you can compare costs using different methods and service providers.

Airline Baggage
Check with your particular carrier on their policies and rates to take a portable modular display on the flight with you. For example, I called United Airlines about taking a display in two Rolluxe cases from DC to San Francisco as oversize bags and was quoted $200 per case.
 

UPS and FedEx
Exhibitors with smaller spaces love the convenience of collecting their display at their destination. These widely known and available services deliver anywhere Ė offices, hotels, convention hall business centers Ėat competitive rates for shipments weighing under 150 pounds. Built-in wheels on shipping containers make it easy for exhibitors to maneuver cases onto elevators and around the event floor. 

Be sure to ask what surcharges may apply to your shipment. For example, shipping display cases without an exterior carton or oversize cartons may incur additional fees.

Freight forwarders
When your shipment weighs over 150 pounds your best option is a freight forwarder. Freight forwarders manage a chain of suppliers and may use multiple carriers to deliver your display to its destination - by ground, air and water. Some are referred to as LTL which is light truck load meaning your shipment may be combined with others on the same truck.

Ask your estimator to quote different options. If you have multiple items to ship, compare the cost to ship them as individual items and together on a pallet or skid. Trucks delivering direct to the show or advanced warehouse have to get in line to unload. Check whether, and what, waiting fees may apply. Deliveries to locations without access to a loading dock will require trucks with a lift gate which may incur additional fees, too.

is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nomadic Display. She is a regular contributor to the Nomadic Display Blog and can be found at Google + and LinkedIn.

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Gwen Parsons' Articles


Five Tips for International Exhibiting


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International exhibitions can present new and different challenges. Aside from the logistics there are also cultural differences to consider. To put your best foot forward at trade shows, itís important to be informed before you travel abroad.

1. T
hink Global, Act Local


While English may be considered a universal language, you may benefit from having a translator present in your trade show exhibit or exhibition stand.

Although many business men and women converse in English, itís important to provide trade show attendees with print or digital information in their native language. Potential prospects need to fully comprehend the benefits of your products and services. Many cultures seek technical details, so provide metric measurements and weights. 

Bring plenty of business cards. Unless you have arranged for your toll free telephone number to be accessible from other countries, be sure to include a direct dial telephone number
.

trade show display


2. Donít Assume, Ask.


While regions may share similarities, every country can be different. 

The US uses 120v electricity and Japan uses 110v. Many European countries, Russia and China use 220v. Brazil uses 110v and 220v. So youíll need to have adaptors and transformers for
American lights or purchase or rent substitutes.

Drayage, delivering exhibit shipments from the loading dock to your booth space, is a common expense in US trade shows. That expense may be combined with other fees, or require no charge, in other countries.

Avoid surprises by inquiring about what materials and services are subject to VAT (value added tax) or GST (goods and services tax) - at what rate, and whether or how you may file for reimbursement.

3. Get help from experts


Consider working with an experienced exhibit company that has their own international offices. Customs can be a complex and lengthy process. Paperwork errors can cause delays that impact your budget. Exhibit plans often need to be submitted along with documentation to show management to verify it meets local electrical and fire safety regulations.

Ask your display company if they have multiple offices in key trade show cities.  This will enable them to coordinate display design, production, rentals, graphics and logistical support from the locations closest to client your events to save you time, money and headaches.

trade show display


4. Basic Business Etiquette


Before you leave, learn as much as you can about the culture of your trade show audience. When in doubt, err on the side of formality.

In general, conservative business attire is recommended. Keep your hands out of your pockets and hand gestures to a minimum as it can be off putting. 

Greet visitors using their last name until you are asked to address someone by their first name. Donít rush through introductions. Age demands a higher level of respect in Asia, so address older people first. European business people often greet one another with a firm handshake, whereas Asian countries tend to avoid body contact. Asking personal questions of any kind may be viewed as inappropriate.

5
. Take Your Time

You want to build new relationships through face-to-face contact. Many cultures attitude toward time is more relaxed and conversation more casual. Take time to get to know visitors before diving into a sales pitch. Refreshments encourage casual conversation so in-booth hospitality is often incorporated into the display design. Offer visitors comfortable seating, a hot or cold drink and light snacks. 

In general, American trade show hours are shorter than in other countries. Adapt your booth schedule accordingly to incorporate frequent breaks for your staff. Jet lag combined with longer hours on your feet is a recipe for fatigue.

American exhibitors often hold brief conversations with many visitors and collect their information to contact them after the show. Exhibitions are used for in-depth discussions or to close business deals in some cultures.  Lastly, donít let a lengthy evaluation process frustrate you; some cultures donít make decisions at a rapid pace.

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