As part of an exhibition-related segment produced for Meetings Podcast, VP of Communications, Dana Freker Doody has been invited to share her thoughts on the event industry on a monthly basis. To listen to the latest podcast in full, please visit http://grassshackroad.com/category/meetings-podcast.
To hear just Dana’s segment click here: Won’t You Be My Neighbor mp3
Here is the transcript of the segment:
I’m at showsite today — a medical-related association trade show, and Mr. Rogers would be appalled. It’s only the first day of movein, and already two exhibitors have had a little tiff about visual sight lines to their booths. Neither one is being a good neighbor to the other.
Neighbors at trade shows can help fellow exhibitors have a great show, but they also can make each other miserable. Trade show managers can improve the situation with some proactive parenting, if you will. Show managers should manage expectations and set guidelines if they are to avoid getting caught up in exhibitor tiffs like the one I witnessed here today.
First tip, set the rules! IAEE, the International Association for Exhibitions and Events, has booth regulations in place that can be adopted by any member. Often, trade show organizers state in their contracts that booth space purchases are beholden to those rules.
IAEE includes line-of-sight rules for small spaces, signs and more — as well as placement of tall booth materials within a certain perimeter. There are reasons for the rules, and if you agree with those reasons, use a rulebook. If you don’t agree with IAEE, make your own. And if you don’t want rules at all, be sure to set the expectation that anything goes.
Second, enforce the rules! Too many times, show managers are trying to be “the nice guy” so they just wait to see if someone complains. That’s a mistake in my mind. If you see one exhibitor who has too tall of an exhibit, or is encroaching on a neighbor’s space, remind them as soon as possible of the rules that committed to adhering too when they purchased their booth space.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of negotiating on the rules to make the offending exhibitor happy. As soon as you negotiate on the rules for one exhibitor, their neighbor will come along madder than you know what, citing the rules and demanding you defend THEIR point of view.
See what a sticky situation this can be? Turn conversations about the rules into opportunities for upselling exhibitors into larger spaces and sponsorships so they can better represent their brand. Actively enforce the rules on your trade show floor so expectations of a well-run event remain, and exhibitors don’t start to think they can get away with 12-foot-high trashpiles at the front of their space.
Unless you run the solid waste show, then that might be OK in your rulebook!
What would you like to hear more about on our blog? What other topics specific to the expo floor could be discussed for the Meetings Podcast audience?