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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Free Publicity for Your Trade Shows and Events

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Social media is a great way to boost the promotion of your participation in trade shows and events. It doesn't require any allocation from your promotion budget to use, aka FREE, and offers the added potential benefit to go viral, aka BONUS Distribution! However, social media does require time which equals manpower. So get your team together to review the overall marketing plan and brainstorm ways to make the most of social media to publicize your event. Go through each phase of the event - before, during and after. Define what messages you want to post to which site(s), the photos and videos you plan to use or need to capture, and when you want to release them.

Here are a few ideas that may help get you started.


LinkedIN, Facebook, and Twitter, are all great places to start promoting your event. Make sure to include the date, time, location and your booth number if its a trade show. Use this opportunity to give your audience a sneek peek of your plans - engagement activities including contests or drawings, sponsorships, new products, special offers and giveaways, even hospitality. Add your own hashtag or the official one for the event to any tweets you publish that reference the event or your presence there. Include the hashtag on your website and invitations to make people aware of it.  Ask your target audience to follow you and share the content you release, too.


There's really no limit to how creative you can get with social media interactions during the event. For example, with your hashtag or the event's hashtag, you can invite followers to gather for a Tweet Up at a specific time. Tell them why they should come and make it feel exclusive.  Ask them to join you to see a demo, meet a special guest, receive a surprise gift or just enjoy some refreshments and network. Create a Foursquare location for your booth, and offer specials to people who check in there, or use the tips function to create clues for a scavenger hunt. Upload photos taken during the event to Instagram so people can see what's happening in real time. When visitors arrive, encourage them to add you on Facebook, Twitter, or any of their favorite social network sites.


Don't overlook the potential for promotion after your trade show or event. Upload video clips from the event to YouTube, post photos on Facebook, or write a blog post. Send out your "thank you for visiting us" message with an invitation for recipients to post their photos and tag themselves. Remember to continue using your hashtags on tweets because people who attended the event like to check those threads after the event.

Social media can be part of an integrated campaign strategy to publicize your presence at trade shows and events. For more social media tips and ideas, download our free guide now!

2013 by by Nomadic Display