My Exhibit Booth Didn’t Show Up for the Show – What Should I Do?

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My Exhibit Booth Didn’t Show Up for the Show – What Should I Do?

Nothing is as stressful for an exhibitor as the experience of showing up at your trade show only to find that your display isn’t there!  Fortunately there are several things you can do to help solve this problem. First, it's important to stay calm and avoid panicking so you can analyze the best solutions from here. Next, it helps to understand how and why this happened and what you can do to correct this. Read on to learn more. 

Don't panic if your trade show exhibit didn't arrive


Causes and Reasons

First, understand the causes and reasons for the delay. Once you know this, it will be easier to figure out how to move forward and correct the issue. There are usually a few reasons this can happen:

1. Shipping Delay - The first and most common reason your display may be delayed is that the shipping carrier (UPS, FedEx, etc.) is delayed in delivering the shipment, they went to the wrong entrance of your exhibit hall, OR they delivered it to the wrong address. Contact the shipper (UPS or FedEx) directly to determine the reason for the delay and ask them which steps you need to take to locate your exhibit and schedule another delivery if possible. You will need to ask to speak to an agent for this step as their automated system won’t be able to provide all of this information.

2. Ordered Too Late – Your display may be late due to you or someone from your company not ordering the display on time, or perhaps some important steps to get the display delivered to your show weren’t followed (labels not provided or proof not approved for example). Find out if this is what happened and determine when the display will be completed and shipped.

3. Tradeshow Provider Mistake - Finally, it is possible that your trade show display provider didn't ship the display out on time. Make sure to give them a call and find out if this is the case and when the display can ship out.

Last Minute Solutions

Person calling on phone - last minute things you can doOnce you figure out where your display is and the reason for the delay, you can begin working on solutions! With a bit of resourcefulness, there is usually still time to have an attractive tradeshow display for your show. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for this part. Read on for some suggested solutions.

1. First, check with the tradeshow floor manager of the tradeshow hall you are exhibiting in. Explain your situation and see what type of exceptions they have for last minute issues. Ask them when they can last accept a package on the tradeshow floor for your specific show. Sometimes, they allow you to ship your display the morning of your show even though the traditional rules may prohibit this. If this is the case, make sure to get the exact address for the direct delivery or if they suggest you ship it to your hotel directly, take that information down. If you get this type of exception, remember to take down the trade show floor manager’s contact information in case you need to reach them again.

2. Once you know how much time you have, figure out if it is possible to receive your original display to the show by that time. If there is a specific address where the display needs to ship now that it is late, make sure you get the detailed information from the tradeshow manager. If your display is still in transit or if an attempted delivery was missed, call your shipper directly (UPS or FedEx) and see if they can hold the display at their local warehouse so you can pick it up same day. If they agree, make sure to get the facility’s hours and address, and make a note of any documentation they will need to release the package to you.

3. If you don’t have time to get your original display to your show, contact a local print shop near your show such as FedEx Print which can usually print your graphics for you in a matter of hours. Everything Displays also has same day ship displays available upon request depending on what you need and when you order. Local print shops often have pull up banners and signs available to hold you over for the first day of your show (until your actual display arrives). Make sure you have your graphics ready so that if you decide to go in this direction you can email the art to the local print shop and then quickly pick them up before your show.

4. You can also check with your tradeshow floor manager to see if they have a temporary display you can use. Make sure to get a quote upfront for any solutions you are offered at your show as sometimes the price can be higher than expected.

Think Ahead and Ship Ahead

Remember that unfortunately accidents or unforeseen circumstances can happen.  Trade shows and event marketing requires a tight adherence to deadlines and time frames around the show.  The ideal is always to order your trade show display and have it delivered to your company BEFORE a show takes place.  This is a little more costly in that later you will need to then ship it to the show yourself, however it ensures that any issues that occur - including uncontrollable problems with it's delivery by the carrier - are avoided or resolved before the setup day of the show.

Have other ideas for last minute tradeshow fixes? Comment below and share!

The Everything Displays Team

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  • Ashley Melidosian
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