We’ve all been there – the hotel you have is great for the conference sessions, but the exhibit space is less than perfect – it’s all too common in London where 90% of the best hotels have not been built with exhibits in mind! You knew it’s wasn’t perfect, you’d issued guidelines, photos and specs to your exhibitors and you’d called them numerous times on a myriad of details, but it’s not till they arrive on site till the reality sinks in.
Stress levels can shoot through the roof when an exhibitor realises that they really should have heeded your guidelines and it takes all of your energy to ensure the smiling, calm and ever helpful exterior as you try to magic up solutions in double quick time before the event opens in 5 hours!
At a recent event we encountered 3 challenges beyond the run of the mill “my shipping is stuck in customs” or “I’m sure I asked you to order me potted trees” or “but I’ve promised my boss we can have a team of 10 on our stand” which I’m sure sound very familiar.
The first was our shock discovery of a 10mm step on the exhibit floor that we had not seen during our site visit (it was hidden under a hotel catering set up at the time) which cut right through two stands – arghhh!
Solution – we got a carpenter to build a false floor up to the height of step in super quick time, then carpeted the 2 exhibit spaces et voila, a level floor for two of our biggest sponsors!
The second was the fear on the face of one of our sponsors who had insisted that their new booth would fit the space, despite multiple discussions about height restrictions and photos being sent of the space which featured a glass walkway that crossed the atrium bordering their stand location. Their stand was ambitious, obviously expensive and our contact had her new boss arriving within hours.
Solution – move a catering station and reconfigure the stand orientation to make it fit and improve its impression on the show floor; add an additional plasma to make it look like the exhibit had been designed with this orientation in mind all along; email the exhibitor’s logo to our superfast printer and get a cost effective, but impressive cling printed to position on the glass walkway above the stand. Result – it looked great and the new boss was super impressed, making our client look good.
The third one made us smile! One section of the space had a pretty low ceiling – 2.3m. The 3 exhibitors in that area were aware and had planned their stands accordingly, but one had not thought it through with their staffing! A handsome ex-pro-basketball player at over 2m (6’7) arrived to man the stand and felt uncomfortable and cramped in.
Solution – add a couple of stools and a high round to his space so he could invite people to sit and talk to him. He felt better!
Every event has its unique challenges – our job is never dull. We’ve now added “double check for any hidden uneven floors” to our site inspection list!
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