Blog · Page 9 of 11 · Metro Exhibits
(973) 575-9100Contact Us

Blog

Trade Show 2014 Calendar

Check out all the upcoming 2014 trade show in Las Vegas, NJ, NY, and nationwide! Metro Exhibits is committed to not only providing the best in trade show display solutions, but also the knowledge to succeed.

Looking for new shows? Us this trade show calendar to find new shows and conduct research to expand your companies trade show program. Show names link to the show’s site for easy access. Find your next trade show here.

Continue Reading

Trade Show Attendance Statistics 2013-2015

Explore trade show attendance trends for the past few years from industry leading research organization. Get trending information on attendance, exhibiting companies, net exhibit space, and much more.

Trade Show Attendance Statistics 2013-2015

Arguably, the most important trend in the trade show industry is attendance. The number of people traveling and participating in conventions is paramount to the continued viability of events as a communication and marketing channel. Many have begun to wonder whether widespread technological advancement has made tradeshows obsolete: with the easy availability of information and communication, is there any need for face to face events. According to the CEIR, the Center for Exhibition Research, trade shows are still growing:

  • For 9 quarters in a row, trade shows have seen attendance growth ( as of Q4 2012)
  • Attendance is forecasted to continue to increase from 2013 to 2015
  • CEIR estimates that the government sequester on travel could impact attendance in certain industries
  • The sectors that saw the most convention growth last year were:
  • Finance/Legal/Real Estate
  • Transportation
  • Communication/Information Technology
  • Food

Trade Show Booth Rentals

Attendance Trending

Let’s break down some of the numbers. The chart below is CEIR’s index of several important factors metrics: exhibiting companies (EXH), attendance (ATT), gross revenue (REV), net square feet (NSF)

As the graph clearly displays, the 2008 economic downturn hit trade shows especially hard as travel and marketing expenses were dramatically reduced. This trend continued until 2010/2011, when all metrics started to see increases. Interestingly enough, it was attendance that recovered first and has outpaced the growth of net square feet and the number of exhibits.

In 2013/2014, all metrics are forecasted to grow at an increasingly large rate. The forecast model is based on historic trending along with estimates of general US GDP growth and economic recovery. It should be noted that the US government sequestration of 2012 will have an impact on trade show attendance, as government employees often attend conferences nationwide. The sequester has put stringent travel limitations that will most likely preclude attendance.

CEIR Chairman of the Board, Greg Ortale, states that “There is no question that the economy hit the exhibition industry hard, and the CEIR Index accurately identifies the specific impact on the 14 sectors. We have recognized this, and we know that there are economic cycles, and while some are longer than others, over time we will recover and so will the convention and exhibition market.”

Sector Growth

When comparing 2012 to the prior year, specific trending emerges for the various industry sectors. The sectors that saw the most growth were Finance/Legal/Real Estate, Transportation, Communication/Technology and Food. Conversely, Government, Education , and Building/Construction all saw decreases.

For 2013/2014 the expectation is that the sectors that saw growth in 2012 will continue to see net gains. For last year’s net decrease sectors, losses will continue for some while reversals will be seen for others: government should see a bigger loss moving forward, while Building/Construction should see positive movement (given the improving housing marketplace).

Continue Reading

How to Save Money at Trade Shows

Discover insider tips and hints on saving money at trade shows from an industry leading trade show supplier.

How to Save Money at Trade Shows

While tradeshows present an amazing opportunity to meet face to face with your target audience, costs can add up quick. Finding ways to stretch those precious marketing dollars is critical to success. Companies both large and small can use some of these money saving techniques in today’s economy.

Strategy, Space, & Needs

Review Strategy: A great place to start on your quest to save money at tradeshow is reviewing your overall strategy. One of the largest outlays for any exhibit program is the space itself, and ensuring you are attending the right conventions and at the right square footage is imperative. Some companies want to make a statement with a large space, while others may not need to. Sometimes a smaller space can work just as well to achieve goals. Companies that attend many large scale conventions a year may require vast storage solutions to keep their promotional materials, exhibit set pieces, and more safe and secure – something like steel shop buildings could be constructed to expand upon a business’s premises and used as a storage facility.

Sign Up Early: Many shows will have early bird discounts for signing up for booth space in advance. If it’s a show you go to every year, booking as early as possible for next year’s shows can not only save you money but allow you choice of superior locale near high traffic areas.
Determining Needs: Once the spatial logistics have been finalized, the next step is to determine what you are going to put in your new real estate. Most companies want to put more than just tables with pipe and drape. If you have a heavy old custom exhibit, perhaps it’s time to consider renting. Will a portable or pop-up display be sufficient or do you need something more to stand out? It’s a balance between image and cost.
Choosing a Vendor: When looking for the right vendor to fulfill your trade show needs, perform due diligence with some comparison shopping. Compare basic pricing at a few vendors to determine if your portable, rental, or custom exhibit is well priced. While it’s easiest to go with the cheapest price, ask for a few references, even if you don’t contact them to get a feel for the quality of service you are going to get. Many companies have flexible designs, so service becomes critical.

The Exhibit & Showtime

The Exhibit: Whether you are buying or renting, important factors to consider is the weight and installation/dismantle time for the exhibit. These are two critical factors in trade show costs. Weight is important because union labor charges by the pound to bring crates from the loading dock to your space, known in the industry as Drayage, so the more weight the higher the charges. Setup and dismantle time is charged by the hour, so the more complicated the exhibit is the higher the setup costs can be.
Fabric is a Friend: Fabric usage in exhibit construction is a great way to create a phenomenal look using lightweight (remember we just talked about the importance of weight) and impactful. Lighting is another way to change the looks of space that is efficient, cheap, and light weight.
Deadlines are Key: Follow all show deadlines to the letter, which means submitting all show forms and other information on time and complete. This can help you save hassle and most importantly money by avoiding late fees.
Shipping: Whenever possible, arrange shipping to the advanced warehouse. This includes booth material as well any product or giveaways that will be needed for the show. Crates shipped to the advanced warehouse avoid costly shipping carrier wait times that always occur when shipping direct to the show while having a truck sit and wait to be unloaded.
Show Extras: Internet, plasma TVs, booth cleaning, electric, and carpeting are some of the items on a la carte menu supplied by any show contractor. However, often they come with a price tag that can raise an eyebrow or two. It’s important to understand which services your company can get alternate pricing or solutions for. Examples:
Internet, A/V Rentals: The show contractor isn’t the only game in town. There are often other approved AV vendors that offer the same product for cheaper. Internet is a little trickier, since there are no other options. If your internet needs are limited, bring a wireless card and connect via your existing service.
Carpeting: Check with your exhibit company on options and have them ship carpeting to the show. In many cases this will be a cheaper option than the show contractor.
Booth Cleaning: Try limiting booth and carpet cleaning to a single pre show cleaning to keep costs down. Metro would recommend shipping some extra cleaning supply and a dust buster for your staff to clean during the show. Electricity is necessary for every exhibit and you are at the mercy of the show contractor or venue. To be cost conscience ensure that you are ordering only what you need for electric drops and wattage.

Post Show

Review, Review, Review: After the show ends, collect all the bills that from every service for each show. Review all line items costing and compare to ordering records for accuracy. From our long experience we’ve seen countless errors that lead to overcharging. Once a mistake is spotted, contact the show contractor immediately and correct the error. If you are using a trade show vendor, ensure that the vendor has these practices in place to protect your company.
This article has been created by the trade show professionals at Metro Exhibits, with years of experience providing amazing solutions for any event. Metro Exhibits uses the techniques described in this article every day to save our client’s money when we provide custom, rental, and portable display solutions

Continue Reading

Renting vs Buying a Trade Show Display

Is it more cost effective to buy or rent a trade show display? We do a quick analysis to help your company decide which makes the most sense.

Key takeaways:

  • During the recession, there was a large shift by corporations to rent rather than purchase exhibits
  • Even though the economy has improved, a move back to buying has not occurred to the extent expected
  • Innovations in modular exhibits allow companies to get a custom look without having to outlay a large amount of capital
  • An internal study indicates the break even point for buying vs renting a display is a company’s 3rd tradeshow
  • Our guidance to clients is to rent an exhibit if attending two or less shows per year

For many companies, both large and small, the decision on whether to rent or buy a trade show exhibit hinged more-so on financial factors including total cost of ownership, cash flow and even the stage of a company’s product life cycle. This was particularly evident during the recent financial crisis as many organizations, even those that have historically owned their exhibit, made the conscious decision to leap into this type of renting scheme. As the economy continues its slow crawl from the financial doldrums that began in 2007, the anticipated switch from lease to buy has happened but to a much lesser extent. In retrospect, what is taking place is a paradigm shift in the way companies are purchasing these services.

In our opinion, a large part of this shift is due to the increasing innovations in modular exhibit systems which allows for custom-looking designs using leased modular components that can integrated for any size exhibit desired. In addition but to a lesser extent, ambiguity and lack of direction from the IRS regarding Sec. 179, which allows for 100% write-offs for these type of purchases, has forced companies to delay these large purchases and subsequently led them to rent their exhibits in the interim. Post Script, the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill of 2013 has since offered clear direction on the dollar limitation for 2013.

Typically, our guidance to our clients is to rent an exhibit if attending two or less shows per year. Alternatively, as depicted in Table 1 below, we recommend an outright exhibit purchase as total cost of ownership in a purchase scenario (depicted as ‘Running Cost’ below), exceeds the running cost under a leasing scheme at Tradeshow 3. In this example, Tradeshow 3 becomes the so-called break-even point where the cost to lease exceeds the cost to purchase.

Continue Reading

Trade Show Considerations

Discover key considerations for exhibiting including lease/purchase, ROI, and more.

Trade Show Considerations for Exhibiting Companies

Today’s Considerations to the Age-Old Question – Lease vs Purchase

For many companies, both large and small, the decision on whether to lease or purchase a trade show exhibit hinged more-so on financial factors including total cost of ownership, cash flow and even the stage of a company’s product life cycle. This was particularly evident during the recent financial crisis as many organizations, even those that have historically owned their exhibit, made the conscious decision to leap into this type of renting scheme. As the economy continues its slow crawl from the financial doldrums that began in 2007, the anticipated switch from lease to buy has happened but to a much lesser extent. In retrospect, what is taking place is a paradigm shift in the way companies are purchasing these services. In our opinion, a large part of this shift is due to the increasing innovations in modular exhibit systems which allows for custom-looking designs using leased modular components that can integrated for any size exhibit desired. In addition but to a lesser extent, ambiguity and lack of direction from the IRS regarding Sec. 179, which allows for 100% write-offs for these type of purchases, has forced companies to delay these large purchases and subsequently led them to rent their exhibits in the interim. Post Script, the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill of 2013 has since offered clear direction on the dollar limitation for 2013.

Typically, our guidance to our clients is to lease an exhibit if attending two or less shows per year. Alternatively, as depicted in Table 1 below, we recommend an outright exhibit purchase as total cost of ownership in a purchase scenario (depicted as ‘Running Cost’ below), exceeds the running cost under a leasing scheme at Tradeshow 3. In this example, Tradeshow 3 becomes the so-called break-even point where the cost to lease exceeds the cost to purchase.

Enhancing Your Exhibit, Digitally Speaking:

The tradeshow industry has come a long way over the past 10 years in developing new and innovative durable yet lightweight materials. From extruded metal components to matrix panel systems that bring unheralded design flexibility and modularity, these light-weight yet sturdy substrates have allowed exhibiting companies to sacrifice nothing from a design perspective yet has significantly lowered overall tradeshow costs by minimizing shipping, material handling or drayage, and installment & dismantle labor. With all these innovations, we feel the next opportunity for innovation is to incorporate more digital elements to create longer engagement (see figure 1) and drive analytics. Specifically, we see two huge areas of opportunity that fall into separate yet complimentary areas that we feel needs to be part of any company’s overall tradeshow strategy (see figure 2):
1. Digitize your company or brand message / content by using more digital elements. This type of elements goes far beyond looping a company or brand video onto a monitor. Specifically, we refer to utilization of iPads, touchscreen monitors, 360° TVs, interactive floors and tables, etc. Utilizing these assets allows your visitors a better interactive customer relationship experience through their activity with the touch screens of the booth and with every touch comes analytical data that can be interpreted to allow for the sales representative to do specific follow up after the event.
2. Capturing the plethora of data that will be generated by attendees engaging in your digital content. By digitally tagging, tracking, and connecting your digital content to back-end systems (such as sales force CRM), your data now comes alive allowing your organization to measure key performance indicators such as responses to questions and surveys, time spent on each brand and valid email addresses captured.

How do you measure Return-On-Investment?

This is a difficult yet important question that most exhibitors either simply avoid or fail to understand how to answer. For many smaller companies, a large portion of their customer interaction and sales take place at conventions. The reason is that for many companies, especially foreign-based, conventions represent one of the limited opportunities to showcase their products and meet their customers face-to-face. For these scenarios, convention revenues are a straight-forward indicator of ROI.

For a majority of companies that don’t have this convenience, they have to define and prioritize the qualitative measures required to have a meaningful ROI analysis. This process involves dialogue with key decision makers within the organization, typically those in the marketing, sales, and operations functional areas. The questions should include:

  • What is the impact to our organization should we decide not to exhibit? How would our competitors take advantage of our absence? How would our customers react?
  • Which of our key competitors are expected to attend?
  • What is the audience we should expect to reach? Is this audience similar to the customers we are targeting through other marketing channels?
  • Can we alternatively reach our customers through other, more cost-effective channels? While this process is meant to provide your organization with a sensible cost vs benefit decision model, it is important to add that visceral, or gut feelings need to be considered where hard numbers, or empirical data, are unknown.

For this reason, organizations should create informal convention committees comprised of a diverse group of individuals that are knowledgeable of the company and their respective industry. In addition, we feel it is important to note that companies should also consider the motivation of the attendees in making these decisions. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the following behavioral statistics of convention attendees include:
1. 65% come back year after year to learn “What’s New”;
2. 76% arrive with an agenda;
3. 55% come to network;
4. 53% attend for continuing education and certifications;
5. 36% are fist-time attendees;
6. 35% will share their learnings with 4-6 other people;
7. 83% buy something; and
8. 94% compare competing products.

Other Important Ways to optimize your tradeshow spend:

An organization should always challenge and incentive its people and vendors to make the most efficient and productive use of its limited resources. The list below includes the usual costs and the optimal ways to manage these costs:

  • Material Handling or Drayage Costs – The most brazen and least value added of all tradeshow costs. These are fees imposed by the tradeshow contractor to literally bring your crates, convention marketing materials and merchandise from the shipping dock as it arrives at the convention location to your company’s booth area on the convention floor. This cost is based on the weight of the exhibit. Some ways to minimize these costs are:
  • Challenge your tradeshow exhibit company to use lightweight materials without sacrificing functionality, especially parts of your exhibit that the attendees do not see such as the inside of the storage closets for example. Utilize kiosks or other media that can email product or marketing brochures instead of distributing them at the convention. This should not only win an organization kudos for acting in a green and socially responsible manner but most of these brochures wind up in the garbage can before the attendee leaves the convention.
  • Shipping to Advanced Warehouse does guarantee that your crates will arrive at your space in-time for installation however this method will certainly increase your drayage costs (sometimes by 50% or more). In some instances, depending on the size of the exhibit space, the show contractor forces the exhibiting company to utilize this method however this is not always the case. Consult with your tradeshow exhibiting company for direction and other considerations as each convention has its own set of rules which will affect your decision.
  • If possible, avoid sending multiple small shipments to the convention as the show contractor will impose a minimum fee. Even if the package is only a few pounds, many will charge, for example, a 200 pound minimum
  • Understand all of the convention AND tradeshow exhibit company imposed deadlines to avoid rush fees. Read the convention manual as well as encourage open communication with all stakeholders to understand due dates for submitting booth design renderings as well as electrical, furniture and graphic requirements.
  • Utilize local employees to staff your booth at the convention to minimize travel expenses, or utilize remote convention destinations to reward high-performing employees. We suggest a company’s trade show coordinator conduct frequent conference calls to set expectations on proper communication with attendees, appropriate dress code, multimedia training, communicate booth staffing schedule and coordination of arrival and departure times.
    <br /><br />
  • Trade Show, or Convention Contractor – those companies designated by the organization sponsoring the convention to manage all of the logistical and operational activities of the convention include exhibitor and attendee registration and convention services including electric and food. Examples include GES and Freeman.
  • Tradeshow Exhibit / Marketing Company – those companies in the business of providing tradeshow services for exhibiting companies including custom and rental exhibits, shipping, graphics, and installation and dismantle labor services. Examples include Skyline and Metro Exhibits, LLC.

This paper was written by the employees of Metro Exhibits, LLC for the exclusive benefit of companies that currently exhibit at tradeshows, have recently begun to exhibit, or are in the process of determining whether they should be exhibiting. The considerations, guidance and tips we offer in this paper are no different than what we share with our very own clients. The purpose in sharing this article is to help all organizations understand what they need to know and consider in order to make informed and intelligent decisions about tradeshow spend. By sharing this information, we feel that the tradeshow industry, exhibiting companies, and all of its stakeholders will ultimately benefit.

About the Author: Metro Exhibits, LLC is a tradeshow marketing organization that provides turnkey tradeshow services including custom and rental exhibits, exhibit graphic design, digital media coordination, project management, graphics, shipping and installation and dismantle services. In addition, Metro Exhibits offers full warehousing and fulfillment services through its wholly-owned subsidiary Communications Resources Group, LLC. With facilities and redundant inventory in Northern New Jersey and Las Vegas, Metro Exhibits is positioned to offer these full capabilities with a high level of efficiency and customer service in all of the major convention areas throughout the United States. Our experienced staff of project managers, account managers, fabrication engineers, and management bring over 80 years of tradeshow experience. We strongly suggest to all exhibiting companies that they challenge their current tradeshow exhibiting vendor on innovative ways to increase the impact and ROI of resources they commit to conventions.

Continue Reading