Tradeshow Top 10′s – Part 2
If you have participated in a tradeshow event before, then you probably already know that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. Even with plenty of planning and preparation, things just do not always go as exactly as planned. One of the biggest obstacles is that the tradeshow is typically miles, or oceans, away from your headquarters and you are stuck with limited resources to find a solution. To help you get an idea of problems that may occur before and during a tradeshow, here are the 10 most common things that can go wrong.
1. You Miss Your Flight
You have been running late all morning and you finally get to the airport to find out that your flight just took off. Even if just one member of the team misses their flight, it is going to put you hours behind schedule. To avoid this problem, have your staff meet at the airport extra early to make sure everyone is there on time. Also, purchase tickets that can be changed or refunded without extra fees.
2. A Staff Member Gets Sick
One common complication is that a staff member gets sick right before the tradeshow event. Being down one person can throw your whole booth scheduling off track. The best solution to this problem is to make sure that all booth staff members are adequately trained on everything that is happening within the booth, and all of the products being showcased.
3. You Forgot to Pack Some of Your Supplies
So, you get to the tradeshow and start opening you packages, only to realize that you forgot to pack some of your supplies. Creating a checklist to ensure all necessary materials were packed may have avoided this situation, but that won’t help when you are stuck without your supplies. Some venues will have an office supply store on the premises. Your next best option is to hit the town and find an office supply store that will have what you’re looking for or what you can make work. If the local store doesn’t have what you need, consider overnight delivery from our office to the show venue. Flexibility is the name of the game.
4. You Broke One of the Tradeshow’s Rules
If you are not careful and don’t read the tradeshow contract thoroughly, you risk creating a show plan that goes against the tradeshow’s policies. For example, your team decides to hand out bottled water with the company logo on it, only to discover at the event that no food or drink can be distributed by the exhibitors. Not only is this an added expense, but you now have no promotional material to hand out. If there’s ever a question that’s not clear, check with the tradeshow personnel before the event. This will save you time, money and frustration.
5. Your Booth is Overstaffed or Understaffed
Over- and understaffing at your booth is bound to be a problem during the event because it is hard to judge when the event will be busy. Send the staff out to network with other vendors during slow periods, and call them back to the booth if it suddenly gets busy. We have found that the best way to keep track of both staff is to keep a “Check-Out/In” List, along with a list of cell phone numbers. That way you know who is where and how to reach them, if your booth gets busy.
6. Your Display Is Damaged
Even with careful planning and preparation, accidents happen and technology may fail you. Always have a backup plan for your display and bring along an emergency kit with items like duct tape, scissors, glue, extra rolls of paper, markers, a calculator, and an extra laptop or tablet. Most importantly, stay calm; there’s always someone willing to rent what you need.
7. Your Supplies Are Shipped to the Wrong Location
Nothing may be worse than showing up to the tradeshow venue to find out that your supplies have not yet arrived. This can certainly send anyone into panic mode. But remain calm. Immediately start making calls: to the person who shipped the items, to the shipping company, to the tradeshow warehouse (if applicable). Locate the on-site folks at the Receiving dock to have them help locate your shipment. Be prepared to pay extra shipping for faster delivery services.
8. There Is a Typo in Your Promotional Material
You are all set up for your event and someone notices a major typo on your display or marketing materials. You need to determine if it’s critical. If it is, try a one-hour printing store to see if you can fix the mistake before the event starts.
9. No Wi-Fi Connection
In today’s age of technology, no Wi-Fi services or even a slow internet connection at your event can affect your display and the ability to sell products. Always have a backup plan in place and never assume that internet service will be available throughout the entire event. This is crucial. And remember, testing internet access the day before the show starts may not always give you a clear measurement of internet speed. As traffic from the show increases, internet speed may decrease.
10. Your Smartphone Battery Dies
There is no doubt that your smartphone is your lifeline in the workplace. It allows you to quickly pull up information, stay in touch with your team, and instantly collect contact information. Be sure to take an extra phone charger to the event and bring a backup battery source. As a last resort, check the on-site business services store. Some hotel lobby stores have battery chargers available for purchase.
The best way to prepare for these time-consuming interruptions is to always expect the unexpected. The first step when something goes wrong is to take a deep breath and not to panic. Pull your team together to come up with quick and effective solutions to your problems.
Kennametal is an international manufacturing company that has participated in thousands of tradeshows across the globe. We understand the demanding environment of tradeshows, and we have spent years training our booth staff and perfecting our technique. Check out our tradeshow schedule and plan to stop by and see us at one of our upcoming events to see how we put it all together.