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Transportation and Logistics Tips for Trade Show Managers

People on trade show floor walking among trade show booths and convention displays

It’s that time of year again, convention and trade show season. If you’re in charge of your organization’s next trade show appearance, you know those extra duties take up even more time in your busy schedule. Organizing, packing and shipping all the gear your team will need at the event can be challenging. But, if you take charge early and manage the logistics well, your event will go off as planned.

Trade show logistics is a great opportunity for you and your team to shine. It’s a lot of hard work and sometimes making crazy catches in the end zone (you forgot what?), but the payoff can be worth the effort in increased visibility for your organization, meeting turn out, marketing and sales goals for the event.

So what if you could make trade show logistics easier? You can, with a some advance prep tips from pros like Move 4 Less. In addition to our relocation services for businesses, we provide logistics support for groups and organizations coming and going to trade shows in Las Vegas. Here are some of the things we’ve learned about preparing for a successful trade show.

Get Your Trade Show Logistics Plan in Place Early

At a convention or trade show, there are many companies vying for the attendees’ attention. Your booth, whether you want it to be serious and serene, or bold and flashy, will be a representation of your brand and your product at the show, so you want to get it just right. Well ahead of time, if you haven’t used the planned booth layout before, or if you plan to introduce changes to an old booth design, prepare a detailed, scaled drawing of where everything will go for the event. Floorspace assignments and configurations vary from show to show and year to year. Factoring in your assigned space shape and size, measure everything carefully and, if necessary, make decisions on what goes and what stays for this show. There’s no point in paying to ship extra items only to find that they can’t be used. Don’t assume that something that fit last year will fit well this year when there may be a slightly tighter corner or narrower walkway.

If you haven’t used this booth setup before, do a mock construction of the booth exhibit so you can verify that everything fits into the booth and that the exhibit is both attractive to passersby and allows your visitor flow to move along comfortably from station to station to get the most from the exhibit. Try to include at least mockups of signage and banners so the whole experience is on display. Ask a few random employees to do a walk through and give their feedback. Now, having set it up once and worked out the bugs, your team will be experienced with the layout and able to execute it correctly and quickly on arrival.

Preparing and Packing your Trade Show Materials

Now it’s time to pack up for your upcoming trade show. Common items to take will include:

  • Trade booth furniture, including graphics, lighting, tables, chairs, flooring, etc.
  • Electronics, display and computer equipment, along with cables, power and extension cords
  • Printed materials – brochures, flyers, books, etc.
  • Swag with company logo – ink pens, T-shirts, magnets, etc.
  • Giveaway items other than swag – drawing prizes, product samples, snacks, etc.
  • Don’t forget things like employee business cards as well as cellphone and laptop chargers. Have bottled water or light energy drinks handy for thirsty presenters.

Critical spare parts can be a lifesaver. Be sure to bring along or have reliably available on short notice, spare electronics parts for critical items that are vital to your display. If necessary, get a quick IT checkup for critical equipment before leaving town to clean out bugs that can slow things down and make sure that critical apps and presentations are loaded and working.

Three Move 4 Less movers assembling cubicle at a Las Vegas convention venue

Inventory your Trade Show Shipment

Of course, these items are just the basics. You’ll likely have plenty of specifics to incorporate into this list. As you decide what you need to bring, keep an updated inventory on a spreadsheet with the following information:

  • Item name
  • Function
  • Size
  • Quantity, if more than one
  • Serial numbers or other identifiers, if you will be pulling from existing supplies, storage or inventory
  • Special packing or handling instructions
  • Installation instructions (special tools needed, special cables or adapters, etc.)
  • Special equipment needed to transport the item onto the trade show floor (dollie, flatbed handcart, etc.)
  • Delivery or tradeshow floor location (if your booth is complicated, include a drawing if needed where the item will go)
  • Responsible employee if this is a team effort

Don’t skimp on packing your items properly. Even minor damage to an inexpensive item can set your trade show plans back and ruin your show. Finally, mark each crate, pallet, case, or loose box with what is inside to save time with unpacking.

Choose a reliable, licensed and experienced transportation partner to be sure your items are packed up, picked up and delivered on time. Many logistics partners can affordably help with booth set up and take down, meaning you can save the high cost of bringing extra employees to the trade show for the job. Choosing a trade show transportation expert like Move 4 Less will ensure your booth materials are handled with care and are ready when and where you need them.

Four movers transporting a large fixture in a casino move

Scheduling your Trade Show Transportation for On Time Success

When you are working on a trade show schedule, accuracy and timing are critical. You need to have the following information checked and double-checked for all the vendors and employees who will be taking part. This is used for making critical travel and delivery plans for the event:

  • Official name of the trade show, especially if an acronym is used
  • Trade show address for delivering booth materials, including routes for trucking carriers if applicable
  • Trade show dates
  • Time of the trade show (times may differ for deliveries, booth set up, and opening to attendees)
  • Time and date(s) allotted for you to deliver and set up your booth, as well as for when to move your booth off the floor after the show
  • Your booth number
  • Contact information for a representative at the trade show

This information is vital to anyone involved in the setup and delivery for your trade show booth. That includes any logistics and transportation providers, so have all of this info on hand when you arrange for these professional services.

Choosing a Trade Show Logistics Transportation Company

Hiring the right transportation partner to ship and deliver your trade show items is an important factor in the successful execution of your trade show program. It’s important to remember that trade show transportation is not the same as regular package delivery transportation. With this type of transport, you want to hire trade show experts who know what to do upon delivery. This includes understanding everything from where and when delivery can take place to how the trade show floor setup functions in regard to logistics and timing. Everything has to be carried out in a certain way, and there are strict limits in terms of hauling and unpacking for a trade show. For example, your transportation provider cannot simply drop everything off outside of the trade show door. The company should be able to provide last-mile services where they hand deliver your goods to the exact location of your trade show booth.

Las Vegas Trade Show Logistics Help

At Move 4 Less in Las Vegas, Nevada we offer professional and reliable logistics handling services for trade shows, conventions and just about any situation where goods need to get somewhere on time and in excellent condition. We work with lots of out-of-town firms to meet their goods at the airport or other entry point and get them safely to their convention hall, warehouse or other destination. We provide shipping and receiving for less-than-truckload (LTL) deliveries to save you money on your smaller deliveries. And, once at your venue, our experienced assemblers can help you safely unpack, arrange and set up your trade show booth. Let us handle those oversized items like flooring, display screens, signs and panel walls. We are experts at booth assembly, and we can be there to disassemble, pack and ship your items after the show. We also have a temperature-controlled warehouse in Las Vegas with 24-hour security in case you are coming from out of town and want to store your trade show material, short or long term, before and after the big event.

Contact Move 4 Less today to get a quote on your trade show logistics needs or for more information on how we can help you carry off a fun and successful trade show experience in Las Vegas.

Moti Perez
As a cofounder and business owner of Move 4 Less, my passion is to deliver the highest quality of moving services in the industry. My varied background has thought me the value of seeking new challenges, working hard, keeping customers happy and focus on success. In 2002, I got my first taste in the moving industry, working for Nationwide Moving&Storage. For a little over two years I worked in a number of frontline and management positions, learning the ins and outs of the moving industry. The business is now one of the largest moving companies in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. I also had some time in between to open, manage and sell few restaurants and retail business. I continue to invest in Realestate and any other interesting business opportunity.
Read more by Moti Perez


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