Great event planners are naturals with the ‘details.’ It seems to be ingrained our DNA — the ability to plan every aspect of our lives and be keenly aware of the steps even before we take them. As successful planners, we have the ability to see all the “what ifs” or as we call it Murphy’s Law.
Having the skills to remain calm and prepare a plan B on the spot are essential on any trade show floor. Here are some examples of Murphy’s Law incidents and ways to overcome them:
Let’s face it, things happen. Perhaps your booth did not arrive on time or it arrived so severely damaged that you can’t use it. If there isn’t enough time or funds to rent a whole new set up, there is no need to stress out. Check out these back-up plans.
For small size booths (20×20 or less), have fun with it and just state the obvious!
- Create a sign on your computer and take it to the nearest fast turn-around sign shop. You could say something like… “Please excuse the lack of decoration and display. However, WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!” “Booth didn’t make it but WE did! Please come in.”
- Of course, you may need to rent a counter or two and some stools. You can easily order from the show’s general contractor.
- Be sure to request the standard 77” wide company name sign that comes with each booth if you can’t afford larger company logo signage.
If your booth is larger than 20×20, turn your booth into into a café with a purpose.
- The café concept should be social, have the internet, and serve coffee.
- Rent furniture and carpet/pad from the show’s general contractor.
- Create “Café” signs and remember to include your logo, tagline, any additional information.
- If budget allows, keep your guests hydrated. Order coffee and waters for your qualified contacts and WiFi for your booth guests.
More Trade Show Tips to Avoid Murphy’s Law
- Purchase an easel from the sign shop or nearby supply store for your signage.
- Make postcards, table tent signs, coupons, etc. promoting your products and/or services.
- Bring some pre-made RTA (ready-to-apply) vinyl logos in various sizes. This enables you to place them on a rental counter, wall or plain sign board. Be sure to hand carry or ship items to the hotel so they are separate from the booth shipment.
Your graphics show up not quite how you envisioned. They arrive damaged or in the wrong size, wrong color, wrong wording or with the wrong images.
First and foremost, ALWAYS carry a soft copy of your graphics. Keep the copy separate from your shipment as well as your computer.
Having a portable drive of all your graphics, allows you to work with the show’s general contractor or a local fast turn-around sign shop to create all new graphics. While, you may have to adjust sizes and materials, it’s better than nothing.
Cat Virca is an Alliance Partner of Parallel Interactive. As a partner of Panoptix Events, she has more than 20 years experience in the events and trade shows industry. She gained her expertise from being involved with the intricate details of the exhibit building process. In addition to exhibits and conferences, Cat has participated in planning and creating events of all sizes.