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Common mistakes of a rookie exhibitor and how to avoid them!

The motto ‘be prepared’ could never be more relevant than it is to the exhibition industry.  ‘Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail’ – there’s hundreds of sayings out there but you get our gist, get it right in the early stages and your exhibition stand set-up, can be a doddle!

Just imagine for a second if things went wrong – what if you’re exhibition stand wasn’t working, built or even booked! Not only would you have the embarrassment to you and your company but think of the waste of money, time and effort from everyone involved.

With a VERY immovable deadline (sorry – no matter how nicely you ask the organisers they won’t delay an exhibition opening) and a marketing/events team who are undoubtedly under a lot of pressure things can easily go wrong. But if you employ a good, professional stand contractor, they will not only guide you through the design and build process for the stand itself, but offer helpful tips on everything from electrics, health and safety and where to find the best hotels for staff.

Below are just a few examples of how things can go wrong – heed our warnings!

The exhibition stand space doesn’t match my exhibition stand!

Has your stand space been reserved (have you had confirmation from the organisers?). What size is it, and is it open on the front only, or open on all sides (island stand). The majority of exhibitions will have rules on whether or not you can ‘close off’ an open sided stand space. A general guide is that an ‘open’ side must be open for at least 2/3rds of the length. So if you have a stand space of 6m frontage x 6m depth – with one side open, then you can create walling on the open side, but to a maximum of 2m in width. That’s just a rough guide and regulations vary so check your exhibitor manual carefully or speak to the organisers if you’re not sure.

TIP: Don’t forget to check the orientation of the stand. If it is open on one side only – is it the left or right side of the stand as you look at it that has to be open? The vast majority of exhibition stands will have been lovingly designed and to turn up on build day and the orientation is different would cause not only a huge headache for your stand builders trying to reverse the build but may mean you run out of time and have no stand at all!

There’s no electricity for my fridge!

Make sure you know how much power you will need on your exhibition stand, where you need the power points placing and what type you need and make sure you actually order it! A big flashy product launch with feature lighting is great – if it’s actually working!

Electric can be ordered last minute at the venue (but your stand team and venue electricians will not thank you for it!) But if your order is received, paid for, planned out and approved long before you get on site for build up then it could all be ready and waiting for you on the first set-up day instead of chasing electricians to sort for you two days in before you can start your stand build!

You will need to make sure all your power is brought up on your stand space in the most convenient place. Venue electrics often run through channels in the venue flooring and mains boxes will need to be brought up for each ‘section’ of stands. Individual power is then run from this for each stand. It will be your responsibility to make sure power sockets are in the most convenient (and safest!) place and match where you want to have your powered equipment, including stand lighting, laptops, chargers and catering needs. You cannot have wires trailing across flooring causing a trip hazard to visitors so ensure your stand builders can either hide wiring within a platform floor (ideal solution) or sockets appear in store rooms or under counters, hidden from the public.

Don’t forget that your stand builders won’t be able to lay ANY flooring until the venue electrician has completed first fix on your space – don’t cause problems you don’t need – there’s enough to think about without having to chase electricians!

TIP: Venue electrical providers will often charge more for electrics ordered last minute so check your exhibitor manual for electricity ordering deadlines and order before this, this is usually 8 weeks or so before the event opens.

My Exhibition stand has been deemed unsafe!

If you’re incorporating anything a little more unusual on your stand, such as water features, working machinery or product displays, then you will need to submit risk assessments to the organisers for approval.

We provide all health and safety documentation for anything we build for our clients, as does any worthwhile stand contractor, but check that any equipment you may be bringing yourself is approved for use by the organisers prior to set-up. If it’s not, then your stand could be deemed unsafe and worst case scenario you may not be allowed to open your stand!

Did you know that any water used on your stand (for example in product displays) will need to be distilled and that fabric can also be an issue – it has to meet strict fire regulations or it won’t be permitted!

TIP: If you are planning any working displays or unusual features on your stand then ask the exhibition organisers what H&S paperwork will need to be submitted. Organisers want you to get the best from a show (It’s also in their best interest so you exhibit again!) so just give them a call as early as you can to discuss.

My exhibition stand is too tall!

Size really does matter in the exhibition world. Check what size space you have booked, are sizes given metric or imperial, what’s the stand width and depth and don’t forget height allowances either! Make sure your stand will fit comfortably and utilise the space to its maximum efficiency. If you’re bringing equipment or having hospitality then keep safety regulations in mind – you still need room for walk ways and door openings etc.

TIP: The best exhibition stand contractors provide a trial build service. A full trial build allows you to experience your stand – how it works, the flow, the look. This means you can iron out any potential problems or snags before build up. RDW Exhibitions offer a trial build service to all customers if required, a happy customer is a returning customer after all, and we’re more than happy to provide peace of mind before show time.

At RDW Exhibitions we understand the stresses and strains of exhibiting and offer friendly help, advice and guidance to all our customers, large or small, to ease them through the process and get the best results. If you’re looking for a professional stand building company then give our team a call on 01939 260350.

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