Welcome to the Wonderful World of Trade Shows

From the Desk of Bridget Bethel

ELITeXPO Freight Operations

As a new employee to ELITeXPO, the work has been challenging, yet rewarding. I don’t have prior experience in the freight forwarding or trade show industries, so I am looking forward to both personal and professional growth in both areas.  

My first week of training was overwhelming, to say the least. There is so much to learn! At the end of the day, I wondered if I could perform the job duties that were assigned to me. I told myself that with a new job, comes new challenges, and that I would do my best to be the best that I could be. I have a willingness to learn and a strong work ethic and I knew that I will do great things here.

As I have now put the first few weeks of work behind me, I am excited to find that things are starting to make sense. My co-workers have been great with showing me the ins and outs of moving freight. I can even have an actual conversation and know what it means to say that the shipment will need a two-man, inside, liftgate delivery. I’m learning more about the trade show side of things just by listening to everyone talking about the various shipments going into each event and all of the various issues that we run into. Everything changes with a show, all the time. You can schedule a driver at a certain time but the show’s move-out times can change and everything has to be re-scheduled and drivers notified and systems updated.

It’s also been fun getting to know my co-workers. There’s a monthly celebration where everyone in the office gets together and the company treats us to lunch. Working for a company where they play Bingo through an instant messaging app is definitely unique. I’m looking forward to my future with ELITeXPO and the opportunities to come.

ELITeXPO Show Site Desk

Tips for Getting Your Exhibit Shipped Back to You After a Trade Show

While most of us are veterans handling outbound shipping from an event, some are quite new to the procedures.  Both yourself and ELITeXPO want to be sure your booth items are recovered from show floor on schedule, as required.

So, I’d like to take a moment and quickly explain what your onsite rep and/or the dismantling crew should do after an event closes.  Follow these steps and move-out will run very smoothly for all parties involved (Onsite Rep, Dismantling Crew, General Contractor, and finally, the Driver recovering the exhibit).

These items are very important to be sure the General Contractor (GC) loads your total pieces left in your booth on OUR truck.

  • Prior to show break – be sure you have OUR Outbound shipping docs (Bill of Lading/BOL & Labels) which are located in a Pink Envelope.

If not located, contact your Rep so they can Email immediately, or if enough time, send out another packet to Rep’s Hotel.  Last resort, you can use GCs labels on site.

  • Obtain a GC’s BOL/MHA from their Service Desk on show floor.  This document is VITAL to the GC as it tells them which carrier to load your shipment on.
  • Once GC’s BOL/MHA is obtained.  Notate ELITeXPO as your Carrier and be sure the “Back to Warehouse” option is checked.

This allows us to regain possession of your shipment if something happens during move-out, whether our doing or GC’s.  Remember, we have a “No Force” Guarantee.

  • Pack up all items and be sure each container/case/crate is closed and secured.
  • Label EACH piece, even if items are going to be skidded.  If items are palletized, please place (4) labels on the outside shrink-wrap so they are visible from all sides.
  • GC’s BOL/MHA MUST be returned to their Service Desk once you are done packing.  This document should notate number of pieces left in the booth area on show floor.

i.e.  2 Black Cases, 3 Cartons, 1 Wood Crate, 1 Carpet, 1 Pad.  If items are palletized, please note 1 Skid containing (10 Cartons – 2 Black Cases).

  • Finally, please call your Rep to advise GC’s BOL/MHA# and number of pieces.  If you can Scan/Text GC’s BOL/MHA to you Rep, this is very helpful. Takes a few seconds.

Hi John, I’m at the ABC show in Chicago.  Freeman’s MHA#123-456789 and there are 10 pieces in booth.  7 Cases and 3 Cartons non-palletized.

Our Rep will then contact/forward the GC’s BOL/MHA to our dispatcher and the driver recovering your exhibit materials so they can match everything up with the GC’s Freight Supervisor.

We hope these tips will assist in providing smooth move-outs !!!


-TheEventDoctor – Rich Ryczek 
ELITeXPO Senior Account Executive & Project Coordinator

We Continue To Stand The Test Of Time!

Chuck Michel is ELITeXPO’s VP of Trade Show Services, Musician, and St. Louis Cardinals Fan

After my band finished a late-night gig the other night at a local St. Louis establishment there were a few folks that joined me for an after-show beverage. While we were hanging out and chatting the inevitable question was posed where someone asked what business I happened to be in. At first, I wondered ‘Is this because they figured that I had better not quit my day job after they heard me playing guitar, or is this just the typical ice breaker question that inevitably always comes up in many conversations’? I trusted my instincts and decided to go with the latter of the two!  After my brief elevator speech where I made mention that I was involved in the trade show industry, one individual commented, “Boy, those have gotten to be really popular these days, there seems to be so many more of them now and for every industry.”  I smiled and said yes, fortunately for those in our business it’s true, there are many of them!  But what I realized is her comment indicated to me that she (along with many others) probably didn’t realize that trade shows have been around for centuries, actually dating back to beginning of time.  So, I thought why not share a little history on the industry that keeps ELITeXPO ticking every day.

Trade shows, in various forms and venues, have been around since the beginning of time. In medieval times in Europe, produce and craft producers visited towns for trading fairs, to sell and showcase their products and services.  They took time to talk one-on-one with potential buyers and explained why their offerings were better than others that were available. Then, sellers negotiated a purchase price (or bartered goods or services) until a mutual agreement was met with buyers.

At one time, exhibiting per se was one of the only ways to market or sell goods. And perhaps served as a necessary survival tactic to provide for families. The exhibit industry can trace its roots to the ancient bazaars of the Middle East. During the 1700’s these exhibitions became somewhat commonplace in Europe and North America.

Fast forward a few centuries and trade shows, as we know them today at ELITeXPO, became very popular in the 1960s. Since then sellers and buyers come together in events of all sizes and types – from simple to sophisticated.  From small street fairs to multi-million dollar shows in huge exhibition venues to virtual trade shows on the web, trade shows remain key to facilitating the exchange of goods and services. No doubt, the concept of exhibiting and face to face marketing will stand the test of time.

While the general format of trade shows has remained consistent over the last 20 or more years, the increasing cost to exhibit has led to changes in the exhibit product industry. Just a little over 10 + years ago, right about the time that we started our Tradeshow Services division at ELITeXPO, trade show exhibits were often custom designed and fabricated from plywood or similar substrates and a variety of laminates. Then there was a quick evolution to Pop-Up or quick set up ‘toolless’ portable exhibits that to this day are still popular for the 10’ wide spaces and I feel safe to say will continue to be so. Today trade show exhibits have evolved to the ever-popular manufactured exhibit ‘extrusion systems’ with large, high impact fabric Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG). This application, along with a myriad of custom accessories and elements can make for a very dynamic environment. For example, in addition to the vibrant large format fabric imaging (both backlit and front lit), interactive technology is becoming a very important medium in the booth environment. These interactive mechanisms (touch screens / interactive gaming / interactive live presentations) not only afford the opportunity to educate and reinforce a brand or product, but many times also offer a form of entertainment. We like to call this ‘edutainment’ because it’s the best of both worlds. Educate the attendee on your product, increase brand and product recognition, and at the same time make the experience both entertaining and fun.  

Today’s sellers and buyers come together in events of all sizes and types – from simple with small footprints to massive gatherings with Islands and double deck structures that can be very elaborate and sophisticated.

From small street fairs to multi-million dollar shows in huge exhibition venues like McCormick Center in Chicago or the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando (to name a few), trade shows/events/symposiums remain key to facilitating the exchange of goods and services across all industries. And in my humble opinion, nothing, I mean nothing, takes the place of face to face marketing. No doubt, the concept of exhibiting has and will stand the test of time…and that’s good news for all of us in this constantly evolving, ever changing and exciting industry!

Have A Good Show!

Cheers… Chuck