Hello friends, colleagues, and faithful customers. We’ve been receiving lots of calls and messages lately from customers who are back at their desks working on rapidly developing show schedules. They are telling us how happy they are that their ELITeXPO team is still available and working to assist them in getting back to work with ordering new exhibit properties, updating their warehouse inventory and scheduling their upcoming show shipments.

With the growing number of tasks now piling up, it’s comforting to know that your trade show support staff has been working this whole time and preparing for what we all have been waiting for. The return of live trade shows. No offence to virtual events, of which we assisted several of our customers with, but doesn’t getting back to face-to-face marketing make you happy? It’s like we are out of trade show jail and the return to normal.

Ok, so normal may not be such a good word. Everything will have changed somewhat for a least the short term and some forever. But when I was watching the Cubs game the other day after Chicago had lifted all attendance restrictions, it was SO nice to see all those smiling faces, sitting together in the stands, enjoying a game in a “large group gathering”. Sound familiar? Yes, just like trade shows. I just returned from a show in Vegas last week and it was exhilarating to be able to walk into restaurants and most places in the hotel without a mask because I was fully vaccinated.  I received mine early because I wanted no restrictions to getting back to whatever the new normal was going to be. I’ve encouraged people in our industry to receive the vaccine if its appropriate for you and your physical circumstances. We still will wear a mask on an airplane but that’s not too inconvenient. For us travel warriors, it may not be a bad thing when you consider the colds and sinus infections we always would get while traveling anyway.

So, pick up the phone and give us a call. I know that there are plenty of things to prepare for as shows come back. Postponements have moved shows into different time slots and times of the year. Your last show may have been in 2019 and your exhibit may need a facelift. You have been reading that the supply chains have been stretched and everything is in low quantity and delayed. Couple that with increased large demand and you may not be able to get what you need in time for your best event of the year. If you have the time, look at preparing to get your orders in NOW. Things will take longer, likely until everything catches back up in 2022 when show schedules get back into their normal slots. We also would appreciate getting your shipments for upcoming events booked now, so that we can move them efficiently, on time and reduce your costs.

Yes, we never left. We’re still here and working every day (and night). We greatly appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing you on the show floor and speaking with you very soon.

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 info@elitexpo.com.