Trade Show Survival Guide: Set-Up Part 1

The AGSoest crew really, really wants your exhibitor experience to be as hassle-free as possible. Below are some frequently asked questions and problems that may come up and what to do about them.  If you have a problem not covered here, let us know; maybe we can find a solution just for you!


Try to have your exhibitor badges mailed to you ahead of time so you have them in hand.  If you must pick up your badges on-site, be sure to get them the day before show opening.  Frequently on opening morning, the exhibitor and attendee registration areas are so jammed, the waiting lines wrap around like those endlessly long queues at Disneyland.  Don’t believe that you can show up at 8 am on opening day and get your badge in time to make it to your booth by 10 am for show open.


If you pre-ordered a lead retrieval machine, pick it up at the Lead Retrieval Service Desk, usually located within the “Exhibitor Services” area of the convention hall.  If you did not pre-order­ but wish you had, they may have additional machines still available, so it’s worth asking at the Service Desk as soon as you arrive at the hall.  A cautionary note about lead retrieval machines: listen closely to the instructions so that you don’t wipe out three days of leads by pressing the wrong buttons!


If you are exhibiting at a particularly big tradeshow, expect that the Expo Services Contractor will be receiving tons of freight, much of it directly to showsite (instead of “advance to the warehouse”), and it’s very easy for freight to become “misplaced.” Make sure your staff has the expected arrival date of your shipment, carrier name and airbill/shipping numbers with them; if your set-up dates fall on a weekend, your colleagues can’t very well call the office for this information.  We stress this because missing freight is our biggest nightmare (shipping back out is our second biggest headache; be sure to review that section, too).

If you sent your shipment to the “advanced” receiving address within the time frame specified in the Exhibitor Manual, it should already be delivered to the booth and the AGSoest crew will move it around as necessary.

If you sent your shipment to the “direct-to-showsite” address, it can take a day (or two or three) to be brought to the booth.  Try to have your shipment arrive at least three days before show opening, so you still have time to track it down — or get a replacement shipped ASAP if necessary.  If you don’t have that three-day luxury, send the shipment to your hotel rather than the convention hall, if possible.  Once the show opens, the Expo Services Contractor will not usually deliver packages to the booth during show hours.  To find out the status of your shipment:

  1. Step One:get the carrier’s name (Fed Ex, UPS, etc.) and phone number, and the airbill/tracking number of your shipment.
  2. Step Two:call your carrier to determine if the package has been delivered and when; also ask for a “proof of delivery,” or delivery number or signature name of the person that signed for it.
  3. Step Three:armed with this information, go to the Expo Services Desk and ask them to locate your shipment.  If you go directly to Step Three, they will send you back to Steps One and Two before taking your missing freight seriously.

Frequently, direct-to-showsite shipments get detained at the marshalling yard, the shipping dock, or sometimes they’re just held in a single location in the hall and delivered to the booth … eventually.

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