The show floor is full of rules and terminology. We have already talked about height restrictions, line of sight rules, audio levels, moving lights, and demonstrations in the exhibit space; those are the most common. Let’s continue by throwing out a quick list of other terms and then we can go back and explain them.
Other show rules and terminology:
- No freight aisles
- Cubic space exhibits
- After hours access
- Exhibiting within your own space
- Suitcasing restrictions
- Storage behind the exhibit
- Preferred contractor – exclusive use rules
The first one, no freight aisles, is easy to understand. The show contractors needs to be able to move through the exhibit hall, providing exhibitor services, so they will designate certain aisles as “no freight aisles” by adhering tape and signs to the floor that say “NO FREIGHT AISLE.” Forklifts will not set freight in these aisles and neither should you. Simple enough, right?
The next item on our list, cubic space exhibits, is more common with public shows and International shows. The term basically means that you can go to full height for your exhibit type throughout your booth location. So if you have a 10 x 10 booth space you are allowed to go 8’ tall anywhere within your space. There are no line of sight restrictions.
With after hours access, there are two things to watch out for. Let’s start with the basics. The show will publish times for setup, dismantle and, of course, the show hours. After hours access would provide access on the show floor outside of these published times. During setup, there are two types of after hours access. The show may require you to obtain a floor pass to stay on the floor. This pass would have a time limit posted for when you have to leave. The other type, which is most likely to catch people by surprise, is when the show says that you can stay on the floor to keep working after hours, but if you leave the show floor then you cannot get back in. This is most troubling when clients and exhibitors try to arrive at the show too close to the end of the day, get caught in traffic or something, and unfortunately they can’t get in – even with an exhibitor badge.
So why do shows have this rule? Well, it’s mostly about security. This is most important on the last day of the show setup. There is a lot of product and equipment on display, and when the day is scheduled to end, two things happen: security staff is reduced, and entrance and exit points are reduced and locked so people can exit but not enter. So fellow exhibitors, bottom line for rule #3 ─ know what the access rules are before, during and after the show. Your exhibitor badge does not give you access all the time. I myself have needed to get onto a show floor early during show days. I arrive 2 hours before the show to service maybe three or four clients, only to find out that I am not allowed in until one hour before showtime.
On a side note, make sure to put stuff away in your exhibit each night, especially laptops and smaller pieces of display equipment. Security is not liable for any losses and there are people who have unrestricted access to the show floor, like the cleaning people, building staff, and the general contractor.
We will cover the other four terms and rules next week.