Trade shows are held all over the United States, all year long. There are 252 convention centers spread across the country, at least as of October 2016, with the largest numbers in California, Florida, and Nevada, all of which have 19 or more centers. When it comes to preparing for these events, trade show logistics is one of the biggest stressors. Critical transportation of all the possible equipment and supplies makes all the difference to a successful trade show. Trade show logistics are so crucial that they need to be organized early. In fact, a lot of your trade show decisions need to be started months out. Here are just a few of them.
- Get your trade show logistics quote early. You need to be thinking about your shipping budget well in advance, but that’s not enough. You have to know your dates and submit all your information as early as possible to get the best LTL freight rates or trade show logistics deals. Some expedited trucking transportation or LTL freight services can offer advance warehouse deals or early bird deals if you get your information to them far enough in advance.
- Select all your staff. If you’re two or even three months out and haven’t chosen who will be representing your brand, you’re already in trouble. Not only do you need good representatives, but you also need people who can stay in communication with trade show logistics and trade show staff so that there are no surprises. Picking the right people early also means that you can make arrangements that take advantage of travel deals and maybe even get bundled group packages that will mean substantially less cost.
- Make sure you’ve inventoried everything. What do you need to take? If you haven’t figured this out at least six weeks in advance, you’re running out of time to print or source more materials. You also won’t be able to arrange trade show logistics because your final numbers and shipping dimensions aren’t in. Get your campaign content in order and find out what you need, or you’ll be spending a lot more money on rush orders and last-minute logistics!
- Decide whether you are shipping direct or advance warehouse. Shipping to the show site directly means trade show logistics will drop off your items one to three days before the show begins. This means less handling, lower fees, less risk of damage, and gives more time for staff to get everything ready for the show. However, it also means more risk of a shipment arriving late, possible fees if your shipment arrives early or outside the time window, and possible extra charges by trade show logistics if there are long waits for unloading.
Sending to an advance warehouse can be done 45 to 60 days in advance and means no overtime handling charges, no carrier waiting time, no risk of items arriving late or having to replace items if they are broken, and the ability to arrange transport from the warehouse to the site so your booth is one of the first to go up and has plenty of time to do so. However, this can cost more, and many warehouses will only accept items that are in crates, on pallets, or in trunks and cases.
Preparing for a trade show can be tough, but getting things done early means easier coordination with trade show logistics as well as less stress all around. If you’ve got a trade show coming up, get started as soon as possible to make your trade show booth a success.