Before the Pandemic brought the world to a standstill, one of the most important steps in planning a successful trade show was securing the best possible exhibit space on the trade show floor. Even the most compelling trade show booth designs and intriguing customer engagements won’t draw attendees if they are inconveniently located or off the beaten path.
Exhibitors and their trade show partners are excited that after some 20 months of closed exhibit hall doors, we are seeing the return of face-to-face marketing. All are aware of safety regulations and that these regulations are evolving as the profile of the pandemic changes the guidelines for person-to-person interactions. Exhibitors now know they must modify exhibit designs to accommodate these requirements aimed at keeping attendees safe.
However, a lesser-known impact of the current environment is the changes show organizers are making to show floor layouts. Uncertainty around attendance has caused some exhibitors to either not participate or sign-up for smaller exhibit spaces. Thus, show organizers have had to reconfigure the layout of their trade show floors in hopes of providing a more cohesive and manageable space.
If a floor layout has been reconfigured, it is possible that the orientation of a booth space might change, resulting in a custom trade show exhibit designed for a specific orientation not to fit in the newly assigned space. For example, if the main aisle has shifted from what was originally the front of the exhibit to either the back or a side, the entire exhibit might need to shift or a reception counter could need to be moved to a different location. Even a seemingly small change can have big implications for electrical drops, flooring and the like. It is imperative that an exhibitor and its exhibit partner review and understand the layout and make any necessary changes prior to the exhibit arriving at the loading docks.
At the moment, many exhibitors are electing to go to smaller, regional shows until the pandemic passes. It is possible that exhibit teams have not been inside these lesser-known exhibit halls. In one case, the floor plan that showed a metal pillar on the outside of the booth, represented as a simple square column. In actuality, the column base was properly represented, but what wasn’t outlined were the large angled support beams stretching outward and upward from that column base that extended towards the booth space, causing issues with the hanging sign’s placement in the design. If a member of the client’s team or the exhibit partner’s team had been familiar with or in this exhibit hall before the event, the obstacle would have been understood and the design could have been easily modified – long before set up began.
The other issues that a long absence from certain trade show floors might cause are consideration regarding the color of the show hall ceiling, as well as the aisle treatment. If the ceiling color is unknown or has changed in the past 20 months, a hanging sign that is the same color or similar saturation value as the ceiling can easily lose impact, or worse, totally disappear. Moreover, as many shows have opted to not have aisle carpeting, it is important that the carpet or flooring for your exhibit has a finished edge to ensure that the exhibit looks sharp with or without aisle carpet. These are easy oversights, but being informed to “think outside the booth space” will lead to better results!
When a company exhibits year after year at the same trade show, they typically know where the best spaces are for the money they have budgeted. With all of the changes and the continued uncertainty, exhibit teams are having to make their best guess as to what space to choose. It is important to have an exhibit partner that has been taking clients to shows as the lockdown eased. These teams have experienced most of the changes and can resolve issues quickly. It is also critical to work with a team that has the internal resources to make the show a success even if there are “surprises” to address. Many exhibit houses are working with very limited staff.
Exhibitus has kept its core team together throughout the pandemic and now stands ready to guide you with a team of designers, account managers, project managers and “on-the-floor” installers that know how to navigate these uncertain times. Contact us – let’s return to the trade show floor, no matter how it’s configured, together.