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
Its 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 offices, hotels, convention hall business centers at 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

Leveraging Technology in Your Trade Show Marketing

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It's no secret that everyone in the trade show world is buzzing about new technologies and how to apply them to their trade show and event marketing programs. Marketers have a high tech future full of new gadgets, apps, and interactivity devices to help them engage potential buyers before, during and after the show. Exhibitors want to learn more about them so they won't be left behind.

Events are bursting with exhibitors using large monitors, touch screens and projection systems integrated into their trade show display. Touch screens are being embedded into counters like the one below by Nomadic Partner Hamilton Exhibits. RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are microchips with an antenna that can be attached to any object a pre-show mailing, a show badge or a token for an in-booth game. When the tag comes within range of an RFID receiver it can trigger lighting, sound or video in your display. These devices are expanding how exhibitors can attract, stop and engage visitors on the show floor.

trade show displays

(Photo courtesy of Exhibitor Magazine) 

Some experts are predicting that tablet sales will exceed PC sales this year. Tablets are being used for everything from controlling presentations to theatre groups to facilitating one-on-one conversations. And they are probably one of the most popular giveaways in prize draws too!

Smartphones are getting smarter at being able to deliver all kinds of content. QR (quick response) codes grew out of bar coding technology. You've seen those black and white squares printed on everything from ads to display graphics. The next generation is digital watermarks which can be associated with any image but are only seen by smart phones. Both require downloading a reader App to the smartphone in order to connect to images, websites, even videos. NFC (near field communication) establishes radio communication between smartphones by touching them together another new way for visitors to share your content socially.

In short, 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year for technology that will benefit both trade show exhibitors and visitors. All in all this is very good news for those who take advantage of these changes and do their best to be on top of the tech game 


2013 by by Nomadic Display