How can your old booth make you money? Good question. Since most of the booths are made out of metal and the shipping cases are made out of plastic or wood your local recycling centers can help you with this. Or if you are “couponing” these days you can take your old exhibit and have it designed into you new exhibit to help lower the cost of having a fresh new look for your upcoming trade show season.
For those of us with the older wooden exhibits, there are local wooden pallet companies that pick up all sorts of wood products to help minimize the time and effort for you to recycle. For the metal and plastic, it might take a short trip to the recycler to get this done or based on your relationship with them they could come and pick it up for you. Now, not only did you save on your bottom line, you are also already to take on your new exhibit without the hassle of storing multiple exhibits.
The old booth, Bright Street as shown below was 8 years old, we took all of the truss hardware and incorporated those in the design of the new structure, Palo Alto Networks to modernize it. Added new tables and graphics by re-laminating the existing panels to give us tables that fit our current need. Now we have an exhibit that has better height visibility and tables that are more functional.
What has emerged in the past decade in the exhibit world is a paradigm shift from emphasis on custom builds to now a more modular/custom designs. This has been brought about by a couple major factors.
• Logistics of owning custom exhibits
The more traditional custom builds from the 90’s and the first half of the last decade were very heavy and burdensome from a logistical standpoint. This meant to the consumer a very hefty price tag after the sale of your exhibit. Custom houses strategies and business plans were built on this platform. They made smaller margins on the sale of an exhibit, but made large margins on the logistics of the exhibit. Storage, transportation, refurbishment, travel, and installation and dismantle were major profit centers for custom houses.
• Green initiative
Because of the heavy and cumbersome custom exhibits they just are not very green friendly. From the materials used in the exhibit to the transportation and logistical issues these type of exhibits just do not meet the requirements of a green build.
We have endured a very difficult decade. Small start up companies to major corporations have had to analyze all budgets within their organizations. And of course the marketing budget were slashed in many cases. Because of this a more light weight modular solution once not even considered has gained in popularity and has become a viable option for all ends of the business spectrum. Because the SMART companies understand that in down economic times the need to turn up the marketing message is critical! So by saving money on the back end of these exhibits your could stretch your marketing budget
Custom exhibits based off the number of shows have a shelf life of typically 3 years. You are then faced with a large refurbishment bill or a brand new build. The modular/custom exhibits products last for well over 10 years and beyond. And because the exhibits are modular by nature you can use these in many different configurations
• Reconfigured exhibit
Once again since these are “modular” exhibits your 30×30 island can also become a 20×20, 10×20, and 10 foot exhibit. And with the shows getting smaller and more targeted by nature you are not forced into a large exhibit space by the dimensions of your exhibit.
There is no question that the lighter weight modular solutions are here to stay and will continue to dominate in the future. The question to the consumer now is how do I take a pre-engineered system and stand out. The best comparison would be found from the housing industry. Custom builds allow you the full spectrum of options. Where pre-fabricated houses in a planned community may offer 4 different designs to choose from with various finishing options.
So the challenge in today’s exhibit designs is how to put those finishing options on those prefabricated pieces that this industry offers. So understanding your options under these new criteria becomes your biggest challenge.
The following are a few suggestions on how to look different in a prefabricated world of exhibit design.
• Look for exhibit houses that consistently upgrade and develop new prefabricated product lines. Skyline for example has released 3 major new product lines in the last year alone. By allowing you different modular product lines to choose from you can stand out architecturally by taking advantage of new systems. These products typically take 4-5 years to penetrate the marketplace so by getting them while they are new you can stand out. Click here to view the three new product lines that Skyline offers.
• Look at rental options. Great way to change your appearance year to year. And if you specifically ask to have your graphics designed to work for 2 or 3 different options you can keep your costs down in upcoming events.
• If you want to bring in a more sophisticate custom look you can design your work stations in the more traditional custom approach. There will be added weight but since 90% of your exhibit will still be modular this added cost may be acceptable.
• Bring more lighting options into your design. This can bring a visual element to give you that more custom look.
• Make your visual/audio presentations areas more creative. Many times this is an afterthought in design. Make it a requirement.
Most exhibit houses have accepted this paradigm shift and now call themselves “Custom/ Modular” exhibit houses. In reality a more apt description would be “Modular/Custom” exhibit house. It’s just does not sound as sexy. But bottom line the bulk of designs being done right not are 90% modular and 10% custom. Embrace that philosophy and make sure that you use all of the advantages of a lightweight “Modular/Custom” design in your next exhibit.
CEO, Skyline Northern California