Considering how regularly they get knocked, rocked and jostled, it’s little wonder that most trade show exhibits are in need of some TLC.
In her popular and long-running column for Exhibitor Magazine, tradeshow maven Candy Adams (aka the “Booth Mom”), offers these and other tips for treating, instead of tossing, your old road weary friend.
Refresh It: You or your tradeshow team can usually fix minor structural issues, providing you’ve properly stocked your “gang” box, so called because it can be accessed communally by people within your team (aka your gang).
The gang box is an indispensable tradeshow tool that helps prevent embarrassing cosmetic, cleaning and carpet-related mishaps that might reflect badly on you or your company. Must-have items include: touch up paint and brushes; cotton swabs; along with “goop” remover, no-scratch sponges, a fabric steamer, no-streak cleaners and a few lint-free rags. To keep carpets tidy, Adams suggests packing a little rug cleaner, terry cloth towels, and a sticky-surfaced lint roller, which she says the surly union types will usually ignore.
Refurb It: Sometimes aging properties only need minor modifications to return them to show time readiness. Instead of doing a major makeover, Adams suggests replacing older halogen lights with cooler, more energy efficient LEDs. Upgrading tables, chairs, corporate ID headers and other meeting or theater area furnishings can also help, along with updating booth/table signage and graphics.
Reconfigure It: This is what Booth Mom calls the “low-cost option, wherein, if the shell is sound and aesthetics are acceptable, you simply recreate the exhibit’s layout by adding or removing walls, seating, kiosks rollup banner material, or other elements. Renting components that enhance or accentuate the basic structure can be another effective part of your reconfiguration strategy.
Nip Problems in the Bud To keep small problems from becoming big ones, Adams recommends working closely with booth staffers and I&D (installation and dismantle) crews to monitor exhibit components–early and often, she says. For example, after a show, and before being returned to storage, schedule a visual inspection and look for areas that need cleaning, touch up or repairs. This will ensure the system is show-ready prior to your next event. Also, make sure to eyeball the graphics and shipping containers, too.
To make your event marketing dollars go even further, check out other tradeshow marketing tips from our archive, including How to Promote Events Without a Media Budget and posts on tradeshow networking and creating tradeshow surveys.