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
It’s 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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Top Five Trade Show Planning Pitfalls

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Face-to-face events enable your company to grow sales by retaining current, and attracting new customers. ​Your company invests significant staff time and money to participate in trade shows and events each year. So we created a list of the top five most common pitfalls to avoid so your company plans to get the most out of their trade show investment.

1. Time: There’s never enough is there? Marketers wear multiple hats today and trade show preparation deadlines can sneak up on you. So plan now to take control by building a calendar or project timeline for your show. Consult your exhibit partner for turnaround times for design and production. Overlay the form deadlines contained within the show manual. Include a factor in your plan for internal meetings, decision making and management approvals. Circulate the calendar or project plan to team members to make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be done, and by when. Establish a schedule of regular meetings with the team to review progress and make adjustments to the plan. Build your plan to deliver to the advanced warehouse to save money and time. In the event you encounter any delays along the pipeline you have a fall back position and can re-schedule delivery direct to the show site.

2. Budget: Track the breakdown of expenses for your events to refer to when you forecast your show budget. Then collect accurate estimates for new graphics and display properties as well as line items that may change based on show location such as freight, labor and hotels. Since companies cannot reduce fixed show expenses, they look to variable expenses to reduce costs. Beware of buying the cheapest graphics or trade show display you can find. Why invest all the money to participate in a show – space, show services, staff travel - only cut corners on the trade show exhibit that will represent your brand? You want the best presentation possible to generate new sales opportunities. Short term solutions may be “penny wise” but can end up “pound foolish” when you have to purchase replacements. Instead, invest in a trade show display guaranteed to last; one that will accept future accessory upgrades and adapts to different sizes so it may be used at multiple events. Or consider a trade show display rental.

3. Promotion: Many companies make the mistake of thinking they can just show up. While it is the show organizer’s job to bring attendees to the show, it is your job to bring the attendees to your booth. Studies show that attendees maximize their time on the show floor by preparing a target list of exhibitors to meet in advance. Pre-show promotion is essential —without it, your potential customers may not know to look for you. Aggressively market your presence at the show to increase traffic to your booth which will also increase your leads for new sales. -

4. Staff: Your booth staff creates the first impression with visitors so choose the employees that will best represent your company. You need people who want to be there and will follow direction. Trade shows require staff to be comfortable approaching attendees in aisles, not just waiting for them to enter your booth. Trade show selling requires listening, responding to and recording information in a conversation that lasts just a few minutes. You need people that can explain how your products solve potential client’s problems better than the competition. Prepare your booth staff by providing proper training and clear communication about show goals and performance expectations to prevent disappointment on the show floor.

5. Follow Up
: C suite execs no longer tolerate interdepartmental finger pointing; they want to know the result of their investment in trade shows and events. You can’t afford to fumble at the end zone mishandling your trade show leads after the show. By the time you figure out what to do, the leads have long since grown cold. So before you go to the show, sales and marketing need to agree on who will collect, count, record, fulfill, distribute, contact, and report on show leads. Remember, you can never follow up too quickly with the people who showed interest in your product!

 

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