Anyone who has put together an exhibit for a tradeshow has put so much time and energy into it that it feels like an extension of him or herself. That’s why every tradeshow veteran is aware that things can and do go wrong at these things. It is painful when it happens. So if you’re planning your next exhibit, how can you protect your hard work from devastation when the inevitable happens?
Let’s start with what can feel like the biggest disaster: structural issues with your display. This is the focal point of your exhibit – the visual magnet that will bring people to check out what you’ve got. Most other things can be improvised, like business cards and scripts, but if your “bling” is broken, your visual presentation is shot. Unfortunately, there are many opportunities for your display to incur damage – from transit to setup to the show itself. For this, you want to arm yourself with varieties of tape.
You never think of tape as a lifesaver until you reeeaaallly need it. Thanks to ECHOtape’s “Taped” blog post “The Show Must Go On: Repairing Your Booth On The Fly,” we can tell you which tape will fix what.
- Duct Tape: (Of course.) This is strong stuff that, in a pinch, will fix structural damage like a broken strut, brace, or frame. The cool thing about duct tape’s popularity is that it comes in several colors now, so you can possibly conceal paint chips and other imperfections with it. (If there’s no tape color that matches your display, Sharpies are good for that, too!)
- Double Sided (regular) Tape: This comes in permanent and removable styles. If you have lighter pieces, like banners, that could come loose, this is your solution. The removable tape is perfect for fixing pieces on a rented fixture. You can also use double sided tape to fasten something over a hole or imperfection you need to hide.
- Double Sided Foam Tape: Using this tape is like pulling out the big guns. This holds up to ½ a pound per square inch and bonds to metal, plastic, and wood. So if you have a shelf or ledge come loose and can’t screw it back on, this tape to the rescue!
- All Purpose Repair Tape: Tape doesn’t need to be fancy to help you in a bind. If your banner or graphics rip, you’ll be glad you have this clear tape on hand.
Tape is an essential part of an emergency repair kit, and there are a few other things that will keep you prepared: sewing kit, scissors, permanent markers, hammer, screwdriver, and good ole’ glue.
The Various Other Uh-ohs
Outside of the display itself, there are a number of issues you and your staff can encounter that will make life difficult. To be prepared for just about everything, also pack the following:
- Tradeshow Contract: If you arrive and you don’t get the spot, outlets, or equipment you were promised, you’re going to want that contract to ensure they give you what they agreed on.
- Maps and Schedules: You want a map not only to get to the show but also to get around the show. You also want to send a staff schedule as well as a schedule of the tradeshow events.
- Care Items for Staff: Send water and breath fresheners along to keep your staff primed and ready to talk to attendees. Also include a first aid kit and hand sanitizer.
- Spare power supplies: If you need light and/or electricity at your booth, bring along extra extension cords, power strips, light bulbs, and anything else that needs replacing if your original malfunctions.
- Extra Cards and other Supplies: Little things feel like big things when you run out of them. Pack extra business cards, pens, paper, stapler/staples, tissues, calculator, and anything else you want present in your booth at all times.
While it’s impossible to prepare for every scenario, the lists above should at least keep you in the game when something goes wrong. No glitch should ever keep you from benefiting from your tradeshow presence.
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