Exhibiting at a trade show isn’t cheap. You have the costs of the event itself, show logistics, your time spent at the event, and the marketing materials that you bring along with you. The first three in that list are an inevitable expense for every show, however, money does NOT need to be spent on your marketing materials for every show with proper handling and care.
If there ever was an expert on handling and caring for trade show displays, I would consider myself to be one. After years in the trade show industry and manufacturing these displays, I have seen first hand what can happen to these displays without proper care and the unnecessary costs that are occurred when handled incorrectly.
I decided to put together a list of tips and tricks that will not only save you money, but will also increase the longevity and life of your displays. Keeping them looking their best from show to show, until you are ready to update them.
Retractable Banner Stand Displays. While retractable banner stands are the easiest display to set-up, tear-down, and care for, it seems these tend to get beaten up and handled incorrectly the most often. All there is to caring for this display is one thing. Always, always, always, hold on to the retracting artwork when raising and lowering. DO NOT let go of artwork as it is retracting. This will cause the tension spring inside of the unit to malfunction and therefore not retract into the hardware; leaving you with a loose and floppy banner stand.
Stretch Fabric Displays. Stretch fabric displays have become more and more popular over the last few years. Thus, we have been seeing more and more issues when it comes to the care of these displays. While the stretch fabric displays are not recommended, because of the many issues they have. The first issue is keeping the fabric clean. While the fabric is machine washable, it is VERY important to wash with cold water and on a delicate cycle. This will prevent the ink from bleeding and the fabric from shrinking. These printed fabric displays CANNOT be machine dried. I recommend assembling the washed fabric back on to the display hardware and allowing to air dry before putting into storage. The second issue that customers face is when they want to change any part of the graphic, they have to purchase an entirely new print and cannot purchase one or two panels like on the pop-up panel booth displays. Thus rendering these not very cost effective.
Mural Pop-up Booth Displays. The mural pop-up display, while still being the tried and true, most popular trade show display, does face one issue if the customer isn’t informed about it. When handled correctly they will give you the most longevity and best look at your event. The issue I have seen customers face are their panels not staying attached to the frame. 99.9999% of the time these graphic panels are not being rolled the correct way. These graphic panels need to be rolled with the graphic side pointing outwards. The material these displays are printed on have what we call “memory” meaning the material will hold the shape of however it is packaged. If the display is rolled up with the graphics pointing in, the panels will want to pull-away from the frame. Rolling graphic side out will keep that graphic attached to the frame each set-up, making it much easier to set-up, and increase the life of the display ten-fold.
Overall, the #1 rule to caring for every display is to take your time when setting up and tearing down. Spend 10-15 minutes correctly assembling and disassembling your displays at each show. I know these shows can be long and the last thing you want to do at the end is spend time tearing down, but I promise you, spending a little extra time will keep your display working and looking great, and save you money. At your next show, take mental notes on which displays look the best, and I’ll bet those are the exhibitors who will be at the event 10 minutes longer handling and caring for their displays the right way.
~ Tyler, DoTradeshow.com