Trade Show Tips

Shipping Delays

Current Status of the Supply Chain

Dear ELITeXPO Customers;

Shipping delays continue to be a problem across the country. We are asking for your patience and understanding at this time as most of our shipping partners are currently experiencing temporary shipping delays. These delays have impacted the planned arrival of our current shipping orders. Current National Labor shortages have significantly impacted our normally predicable lane segments to the point where we are asking all customers to add much more additional advance planning, to allow for extra time for your shipment to arrive at its planned destination. Our account representatives are on standby to assist you with getting these plans implemented. Normally, shipping services for smaller shipments that could be relied upon in the recent past to deliver as scheduled, have also seen daily delays and shortages. Please know that we monitor these performance issues and adjust on the fly as necessary to assure our customers receive their shipments as planned.

Our team is working hard to minimize these disruptions. Please know that we are still receiving and planning and tracking all shipping orders promptly despite the national disruption to the supply chain. These delays have negatively impacted our normally reliable schedule of transit. It’s unfortunate that it seems these delays have affected virtually all areas of the country as well as all carriers, both local and national. There is also more freight being shipped than there are trucks and labor to load, transport and unload.

Along with these delays, the costs for shipping services have increased exponentially, even though we would think that with the problematic service issues, increasing rates at the current time would seem to be unreasonable. Such is the time we are living through. We all desperately want to get back to some sort of new normal, but we must deal with the reality of what’s happening in our country in the present day. We work to make sure that we can pass along the best rates, but our priority is to assure that your shipment gets to its destination on time and intact. These corrections and changes in routing may result in additional costs that we will work hard to minimize, but we cannot compromise the need to utilize the most reliable service to get the job done. We commit to track your shipments with frequency and stay in constant contact with you to keep you updated on your shipments status.

As the owner of ELITeXPO, I have never seen such a major disruption to the normally reliable and efficient transportation supply chain in the U.S., since we started this company back in 1987. The best strategy right now, is to plan and place your shipping requests as early as possible, so that we can use that extra time to get your shipment into the pipeline and moving to its destination.


David Mihalik


Why ELITeXPO Asks You for the Event’s Exhibitor Kit

One of the biggest differences between using a “fill in the webform” carrier to ship your exhibit and using an experienced tradeshow logistics provider like ELITeXPO, is that we verify the details to make sure that your exhibit materials arrive to each event on-time and without issue.

To be as detailed as we are, we need to have as much information about not only your shipment, but about the event itself. Therefore, we need to look at the information that is in the Exhibitor Kit/Manual that is provided to each exhibitor by Show Management or the hosting Association. In the past, these kits/manuals were easily accessible via the event’s website or the General Contractor’s website. Lately, they have been secured on these sites and access is only available via the exhibitor’s username and password. This means that your ELITeXPO representative may now ask you to send them the exhibitor kit/manual or provide them with the login information to view it for themselves.

What details are we looking for?

  • Addresses – Advanced Receiving Warehouse & Show Venue
  • Hall / Room Details – Which hall or room is the event in? Will our driver have to go inside to a ballroom or is there a dock?
  • Dates/Times – Advanced Receiving dates/times, Shipment Move-In & Move-Out dates/times, Freight Carrier Check-In /dates/times, Event dates/times, Force dates/times.
  • Is the Move-In or Move-Out Targeted? If so, what date/time applies for your booth number and/or size?
  • Additional Shipping Instructions – Special requirements. Is freight pickup and delivery allowed directly at the venue itself or are all deliveries and/or recoveries being handled at the Advanced Warehouse?
  • EAC Form – If ELITeXPO is doing the exhibit Installation and/or Dismantle

What else will we ask you for?

  • On-Site Exhibitor Contact Information
  • Hotel Shows – Do you have contact information for whom you have been speaking with at the hotel?

What are things an exhibitor might not think to look for in an Exhibitor Kit/Manual?

  • General Contractor’s Labor Costs – Completing and Submitting the Labor Payment Form
  • Other forms that must be completed and submitted before the show. – Electrical Requirements, Audio/Visual, Furniture, Floral, etc.
  • Exhibitor Self-Install – Is the client able to setup/takedown the display themselves, including electric, and/or any other “labor” required. There are new safety and security protocols in place due to Covid-19. Some venues now require all labor to be performed by OSHA certified laborers. Additional insurance riders may also be required.
  • Covid Safety Procedures – Booth distancing requirements, cleaning requirements, etc.
  • What Comes With the Booth Space?  Table, chair, wastebasket are often provided to each exhibitor.
  • Exhibit Display Restrictions – Height restrictions, how far forward in an inline booth space the display components can be placed. Side wall restrictions. Can a wall be against an aisle if the booth is an island? Lighting safety requirements.
  • Early Deadlines for Ordering Show Services – This allows for discounts and assuring your required AV & labor are available.
  • General Contractor’s Drayage Costs / Material Handling at Show Site (They are NOT the same as shipping. See the explanation below.) – Completing and Submitting their Drayage Payment Form

What IS Drayage?

Think of this as Hotel Butler Service you cannot avoid. You may be physically able to bring your own bags to your room, but because of the union rules at most convention facilities, both you or your carrier are not allowed to touch your freight on the show floor. Whether your items ship to the advanced warehouse or the show floor, you will have to pay for drayage to have your shipment moved to your booth space and back to the dock at the end of the show.

The fees for drayage are often much the same whether you ship to the advanced warehouse or direct to show. The benefit of shipping to the advanced warehouse is it can save on shipping costs by avoiding show site related surcharges, and it puts your shipment in the booth space early, so it’s waiting for you vs you waiting for your shipment to be received and brought to you.

Show Kit Services – ELITeXPO does offer Show Kit Completion Services. We can fill out your order forms and coordinate all services for you. Our fees for this service vary based on exhibit size and requirements. Contact ELITeXPO for more information at 800.543.5484 or

ELITeXPO Asset Management

Treatment, Vaccine, Trade Shows Restarting – Are We Ready?

From: David Mihalik

President – ELITeXPO

Everyone has heard enough of all the bad news and conflicting information from station to station. Me, I’m looking for the good news. You already know the background news and noise. You don’t need more of it from me. What’s accurate anyway? You stand a better chance of figuring out the National algorithm for Drayage. The stuff hit the proverbial trade show fan in early March. It’s only been 4 months, 16 weeks, but it feels like that feeling when you’ve been waiting on empties from the bone yard well past happy hour and dinner plans. That long!

You’ll be hard pressed to find an industry that’s been as negatively affected as those who work to provide products and services for events with large gatherings of people. Some have alternatives and options, but our business relies on the operation of live face to face events. You remember that, right? We’re the anti-Zoom crowd. To borrow the buzz words of the day, we will change the narrative and pivot to alternative means of opportunity and revenue. We here at ELITeXPO are familiar with the concept. After the Great Recession in 08/09 we made the decision that our best opportunities would come from our existing customers.  We decided to offer full scale trade show property asset management as a means to offer customers and prospective customers a turnkey one stop source for all of their live event planning annually. We invested in software to allow remote ordering and management of inventory. We purchased a 2nd warehouse to manage our growing inventory. We hired a skilled manager and added experienced warehouse personnel. As a result of that expansion our customers asked us to become involved with set up and tear down labor, graphics, flooring, exhibit rentals and sales and design. Full service now meant so much more.

Recall that back during 9/11, everyone’s trade show properties came back for storage while shows shut down for that short period of time. Today, we have much the same except that everything is back into storage and it will be for a longer period of time. Normally a percentage of inventory is always in motion, but with most shows cancelled or postponed, the warehouse is bursting at the seams. Fortunately, our Asset Management program continues to provide some work and revenue, but it also largely relies on subsequent services such as freight, pick and pulls, refurbishments, updates, etc. We greatly miss that residual work which makes the asset management successful. While we are getting closer to seeing shows operating soon, we simply don’t have an exact time frame.

As we approach the 4th quarter, there is a growing concern that there will be a big rush to pull exhibit properties to prepare for the next event, or to create new experiential events for that first big trade show when face to face marketing returns. Being proactive in preparing for your next event when it does operate will allow you ample time to assure that you will be able to be ready once the timelines for that show are finalized. It assures time to get necessary parts, or needed graphics ordered for new products or markets you wish to serve. Imagine that most all exhibitors’ properties are sitting in storage somewhere now and many of them will be coming out when shows resume. Suppliers will be stressed with handling the rush of needed parts and orders for everyone who will be looking to get back into the game. Also, this much needed and appreciated work is something that we are asking our valued customers to consider doing now, while we are slower and have ample time to prepare your requests. As a primary trade show company, we are looking forward to the time when we can get back to work, full time. We would very much appreciate the opportunity to get to work for you now, during this down time while we all await the return of shows. If you have work that has been budgeted for in 2020 and is currently in your plans for upcoming events, we are asking that you consider, working with us now in these summer months to assist you. This is work that our company would greatly appreciate and would assist us in so many ways and your company will be ready and prepared to exhibit for those first shows that you will exhibit at. So, take a moment and ask yourself… Are You Ready? If not, don’t wait. Let’s keep working now and together we will be ready to exhibit soon!

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