Trade Show Industry Spotlight
What’s happening in the trade show industry?
2020 was a challenging year for every company, but those in the trade show industry were uniquely impacted by the restrictions placed on large gatherings. While many shows were cancelled, several shifted from in-person events to virtual conferences. This meant attendees could still gain valuable knowledge about their specialties, but exhibitors had fewer opportunities to get their products and services in front of their target market.
Fortunately, in-person trade shows are up and running once again and all signs are pointing to a busy end of 2021. Read what Timothy Allison, ArcBest senior director of trade show, has to say on the topic and what advice he has for trade show shippers.
Q&A with Timothy Allison
Q. What do exhibitors need to know about live events this year?
A. Things will be busy. With several shows getting cancelled or changed last year, a lot of organizations have budget they’re looking to spend. This will likely mean capacity at convention centers will be in high demand, and shows may relocate to lesser-used facilities in order to have them take place this year. Many also may get scheduled for later in the year than we typically see. All of this just means that exhibitors will need to be prepared to ship at different times to different places. But your carrier should be able to help you navigate any of these situations.
Q. Are there any COVID-19 considerations at the events?
A. Many of the shows that are going on right now are operating business as usual, but several are requiring proof of vaccination or are having people wear masks. Some event venues are spacing the booths out a little farther, but this isn’t always the case. Just make sure you know what the policies are at the shows you’re attending and be prepared to follow them.
Q. What is your number one piece of advice for trade show shippers?
A. Communicate with your internal teams. A lot of times the logistics team is making the plans and booking the inbound and outbound shipments, but the people at the show are from marketing or sales. This can cause issues like missed appointment times, which can lead to unforeseen costs.
Q. Any advice for ArcBest customers?
A. Most decorators have a logistics offering (the house carrier), but if you have pricing in place with ArcBest, it’s best to book your inbound and outbound shipments with us. Using the house carrier's pricing rather than your ArcBest pricing is essentially the equivalent of shopping at a convenience store vs a big box retailer — a little bit of planning can wind up saving you a lot of money.
The other big thing is to utilize the 30 days of free storage we offer for trade show shipments. Many times, you can ship the main structure of your booth from show to show (using the free storage where appropriate) and simply send in the graphics you need for each event. This way you don’t have to pay to ship your booth back and forth several times during trade show season.
Q. Any tips for navigating tight capacity?
A. Plan ahead and be strategic. The earlier you can book your shipment, the better your chances of securing capacity.
Ready to ship your trade show booth?
When you ship with ArcBest, you can rest assured that your booth will be handled with precision and care. We work directly with general service contractors and trade show associations to make sure everything goes as planned — and if we’re the house carrier, we’ll have someone on site to help with day-of questions. No matter what event you’re attending, our experienced team will guide you through the shipping process from start to finish. Learn more about ArcBest trade show services.