So the last main checklist category is Trade Show Logistics. Everything revolves around logistics. Logistics is the one constant that all the other planning is held accountable to. It is where one of my favorite sayings comes from: without a deadline nothing would get done.
One of the first things we always do when planning a show or building an exhibit is to create a milestone schedule to help everyone involved set deadlines for when things need to be done. I find it best to work backwards from the show date.
So how do you set up a milestone schedule? First you put in all critical dates:
These would be:
- Show dates: For the Exhibitor Live show, the dates were March 2 – 4th
- The shipping date: The exhibit needs to ship on February 18th to arrive at the show on time. This shipping date will be the key driver for all other work on this project.
- Show services order deadlines that are printed in the exhibitor manual.
- Production and order deadlines for the fabric sidewalls, new carpet and the shot glasses.
- Advertisement, announcement and pre-show mailer deadlines.
- Fabrication deadlines for backdrop risers, custom height sidewall frames, and stage shipping pallet.
For the ExhibitorLive event, Angela, our account manager, told us a few weeks ago that the exhibit would ship on February 18th. Just knowing that information set the wheels in motion as to when everything else needed to be done.
The 6 items I just mentioned are just a few of the deadlines that can go on a milestone schedule. The idea is to put these in order with a corresponding completion date so everyone knows when things need to be finished.
Here is a sample milestone schedule for our event:
- Set-up exhibit in-house in a 10 x 10 configuration
- Create sidewall panels and risers for backwall
- Approve designs and order shot glasses
- Order new carpet for stage and floor in front
- Order lights, Microphone and XLR cable
- Approve designs and order fabrics for sidewalls
- Order show services
- Send out Pre-show mailers
- Order sign up app, test all technology
- Approve final counter wraps and stage vinyl and apply
- Dismantle and pack exhibit
- Ship exhibit
- Setup on site
- Show dates and hours
- Dismantle onsite
- Ship back
- Reinstall in showroom
These are just 17 items that are important to give deadline dates too, but there could easily be more. The idea now is to put dates to all of these items, in calendar order, and you have created a milestone schedule that will keep everyone informed and on track.