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Trade Show Shipping

Ensuring a successful experience at your next tradeshow or exhibition can be as simple as getting everything you need to be delivered safely, professionally, and on time. That’s where effective trade show shipping services can help, ensuring that your exhibition booth, materials, and products are safely transported to the event venue.

To help you get there, we’ll cover eight useful tips for a stress-free and successful trade show exhibit shipping experience.

Trade Show Shipping: Essential Tips to Know

Trade Show Shipping Services Decoded
Prepping for a trade show can be quite a task. Between readying your booth design, finalizing marketing materials, and coordinating everything to arrive at the event venue together at just the right time, the stress adds up.

That's where effective trade show shipping services come in, helping you transport all exhibition materials from point A to point B. The key is to plan diligently, do your groundwork thoroughly, and find the right trade show shipping partner who can shoulder the burden alongside you. 

With the right shipper and solid prep work, you can ensure a smooth transition straight from your warehouse to the trade show floor.

Eight Tips for Stress-free Trade Show Shipping

Plan Ahead for Your Show
The secret sauce for trade show shipping success? Planning for it in advance! As soon as you've marked your next trade show on the calendar, create a detailed timeline. Consider any special requirements for pick-up and delivery, the allotted transportation time, the destination, and the packaging requirements.

Trade show shipping often requires longer timelines than traditional freight. You might need to send your materials weeks in advance. Figuring out these details early can give you more options, reduce costs, and let you explore different transportation choices.

Try to book a service between two weeks to a month out from your shipment date. The earlier the better, as trade show-specialized carriers can fill up quickly (especially closer to show dates). As an added bonus, giving carriers advanced notice helps them optimize your freight movement, potentially getting you some significant cost savings.

Partner with an Experienced Trade Show Shipping Company
Selecting the right trade show exhibit shipping company is absolutely essential. While many businesses across the US offer general freight services, we recommend a specialized trade show booth shipping provider who truly understands the ins and outs of event shipping. 

To ensure the best experience:

●    Check out reviews from previous clients
●    Look for extensive industry experience
●    Thoroughly read their website to understand their entire service record

Reading reviews from former customers can give you insights into a potential shipping partner’s service quality. Aim for reviews on independent platforms to ensure their authenticity.

Maintain Open Communication with Your Shipper
After choosing a trade show shipping company, you'll be assigned a representative to handle all aspects of shipping for your trade show materials. It's crucial to:

●    Build a strong relationship with your shipping partner
●    Keep in touch for updates and address any concerns as they arise

Your representative should be readily available whenever you need their expertise. By establishing a solid relationship with them, you can ensure a smooth and timely delivery to your show site. Not to mention, you can work together to troubleshoot any unexpected difficulties when they come up (and if you’ve done this before, you know they will!).

Review the Exhibitor's Manual (Online Ordering Website
Remember, every event is different. Most trade shows equip exhibitors with a manual, which can offer a treasure trove of critical show-related information. This guide may include:

●    Venue details
●    Fire safety regulations
●    Booth setup and dismantling dates
●    Shipping deadlines
●    Marshaling yard locations
●    On-site handling procedures
●    Electrical services
●    Health and safety guidelines

The manual also provides general shipping guidelines, including the recommended freight forwarder. You'll learn how to arrange pre-show storage and will be given a point of contact for shipping queries. 

Sharing this information with your carrier can simplify the process significantly. At GES, we're familiar with the average show organizer’s expectations and can work with your point of contact to ensure a seamless experience for you.

Maintain a Thorough Inventory
Keeping track of multiple documents and bits of information is crucial, and a detailed inventory list tops them all. To avoid last-minute worries, ship your display early and plan your inventory beforehand. 

Shipping to an advanced warehouse ensures your display moves in on schedule, reduces traffic flow issues, and provides some extra wiggle room in case something goes wrong. It also often secures you a better move-in time with the show organizer.

If you absolutely must send your shipment directly to the show site, ensure your carrier is aware of the show's move-in hours and the specific date. Also, keep the contact details of the show decorator, trade show shipping carrier's customer service center, general services contractor, and the on-site representative handy.

Understand Insurance Options
Insurance is another critical aspect of trade show shipping. Several options are available, including:

●    Extended liability coverage
●    Carrier insurance
●    Corporate insurance policies
●    Exhibition floater insurance

Most freight forwarding companies offer insurance against delays and loss. But it's best to check with the company. 

Skip the Extras
If you're looking to trim your freight forwarding costs, consider shipping only the items that are absolutely necessary. Although extra items may seem handy when you’re packing, they can add weight quickly, needlessly inflating your shipping costs. 

Not to mention, once you’re on-site you can always rent many items, including flooring, furniture, accessories, and AV equipment. If you don’t, you may be surprised by unwelcome storage costs as well.

Fill out All Documents Accurately
Correctly completed shipment documents and appropriate labeling are vital for a trade show organization. Make sure the delivery address, arrival date, number of pieces, email address, phone number, point of contact, company name, and booth number are clearly mentioned on the paperwork. 

Applying this information to all sides of your case, crate, or pallet can prevent misplacement. Color-coded labels may be provided depending on the show, helping event staff direct freight to appropriate locations. If you receive these labels, use them.

One key document is the Bill of Lading (BOL) or also called an Order Form for Material Handling, used at pickup. Ensure the BOL includes the delivery dock number, trade show decorator and phone number, on-site trade show contact details for your company, your trade show booth number and name, specific hall or event room, the complete show name (no acronyms), and the physical address of the show venue.

Trade Show Logistics: The GES Difference
Don't leave your trade show success to chance! Choose GES Logistics and leverage the experience and ease of a dedicated, professional, and supportive shipping partner. For domestic shipping quotes call 1-888-454-4437 today to learn why shipping is made easier with GES Logistics. For international shipping quotes click here. 

  • Multiple Shipping Options: We offer a variety of shipping options, giving you the flexibility to choose what works best for your business needs.
  • On-Site Representation: Our dedicated team will be there at the event, providing the support you need and ensuring your materials arrive safely and on time.
  • Advance Warehousing: We provide advanced warehousing options so you can ship your materials early, avoiding last-minute hiccups and ensuring a smooth setup.
  • Competitive Pricing: Our pricing model is competitive and transparent, ensuring you get the best value for your investment.
  • Worldwide Network of Agents: With a robust network of agents across the globe, we can handle your trade show shipping needs wherever you are, or wherever you're going.
  • GES Transportation+ Discounts: As a valued customer, you'll receive exclusive discounts through our GES Transportation+ program, making our top-quality services even more affordable.
  • 24/7 Tracking: Our state-of-the-art tracking system allows you to monitor your shipment around the clock, providing peace of mind and real-time updates.

Focused on Exhibitor Success 
Helping exhibitors have a successful show is our top priority.  If you’re looking for a partner to help with exhibit planning details, download the exhibitor budget worksheet and continue reading our next article in this exhibitor guidebook.

If you are exhibiting at a GES show, click here to find your show and look for GES Exhibit Flooring+, discount flooring packages, and GES Exhibit Furnishings+, discount furniture packages as well as Exhibit Systems+, trade show booth rentals with custom fabric graphics.