Guide to Trade Show Planning – Trade Show Budget Pt 12

12/31/15 by Brandon

So last week I mentioned that we would look at a few ways that we were able to maximize our trade show budget with some direct cost savings associated with the ExhibitorLive show.

Of course there are some things you can’t do anything about. For us it was only the booth space fee. Now, in a previous blog, I did talk about co-opting your booth, which means sharing your booth space with another company, but you need to follow show rules to make sure that is ok.

So here are some of the ways we saved on show costs:

  1. Drayage – Everything was boxed in-house and consolidated on two skids that were very square and forklift-able (if that is a word). Two scoops and done. So no special handling fees which can add 30% to the cost of drayage. We also brought the shipment in on Friday morning to get ST drayage.  We also shipped using a padded van so there was no waiting time or dimensional weight charges.
  2. Hotel costs – The show hotel rates were much higher than the hotel next door. By staying at the Luxor hotel we were able to cut the hotel costs in half. Now, of course, we know from experience that there is an inside walkway from the Luxor to the Mandalay Bay hotel where the show is located, so it is only a 15 minute walk to the show floor. Hey, a little exercise saved $1,000 in hotel costs. We also needed only one hotel room for the booth staff since the two people working the exhibit happened to be married.
  3. Electrical costs were greatly reduced by just ordering one 20 amp outlet behind the exhibit. We were able to run the electrical up the sides on the exhibit, over the carpets so no additional labor was required saving about $400.
  4. Giveaway shipping – We shipped all the shot glass giveaways directly to the Luxor hotel and did not add them to the shipping pallets. This one is a little tricky so let’s go into some detail. The shot glasses came from a manufacturer in Florida so we had to incur a shipping cost to get them to our place in Virginia. The cost was literally the same to have them shipped to Las Vegas so we sent them directly to the hotel to save an extra shipping cost from Virginia to the showsite. Granted, by using a padded van, the cost to ship to the showsite from Virginia would have been insignificant, but the drayage cost for an extra 360 lbs. would have added 400 lbs. of extra drayage, which translates into about $380 of additional costs. Yes, we had to pay a hotel receiving fee of about $100 and we had to ship a hand truck and wheel them to the show each day so that did require some effort. Saving $300 and delivering only what we needed each day to the show floor was fair compensation to us.
  5. Installation and dismantle – This was our biggest savings. Basically, knowing the show rules and being full time employees of the exhibiting company, we were able to setup and dismantle our own exhibit. Granted, we do this for a living. We shipped supplies, including tapes, stretch wrap, and all the return labels out with the shipment to manage the return. This alone saved over $2,500.

All in all we figured that we saved about $5,000 in costs for our 10 x 10 exhibit. Las Vegas is a great city to exhibit in. Not all cities are as exhibitor friendly. It is important to follow the show manual rules and city regulation. Bottom line: By adding a few supplies like stretch wrap and electrical cords and doing a little research in shipping costs and hotel arrangements you can save a lot of costs.

Oh yeah – I forgot to mention that we also did “red eye” flights back which kept our ticket prices about half of other daytime flights. We had a great experience since Bev, the owner of Exhibit Edge, carries an American Express Platinum card. We were able to try out, for the first time, the new American Express Centurion Lounge at the Las Vegas Airport. We spent 9 hours there in total lounge comfort with real hot food and free drinks and great service. It is amazing if you ever get the chance to try one. Two guests can get in for free with a card holder.