Trade Show ShippingIt is all too easy to overlook or not give enough thought to the shipping of your trade show display. In Part One of this article we discussed the trade show Exhibitor s Kit, dimensional weight, shipping to an advance warehouse, and shipping directly to the show site. In this part of the article, we will look at shipping to a hotel, shipping to your place of business, a note about international shipping, UPS/FedEx and ground shippers, and fees.

To begin, let s look at shipping to a hotel, or shipping to your place of business:

Shipping to a hotel:

  • Be sure to consult your exhibitor s kit/handbook to see if the trade show sponsor has already negotiated rates and more with a hotel or two
  • Many trade show experts will discourage their clients from shipping to a hotel for several reasons
  • Lots of hotels do not accept larger packages due to having no receiving department, whereas those hotels that do have receiving will generally employ many restrictions
  • Storage space for hotel guests is notoriously limited because the hotel simply cannot gain revenue for this space, or simply have no extra space available
  • Most hotels will have size and weight restrictions on shipments
  • Sometimes a hotel will reject a shipment if the case has wheels (strange but true)
  • The hotel might also reject a shipment if the labeling information does not have the correct guest name on it, or if the hotel cannot match the shipment with a guest s reservation or arrival date

Shipping to your place of business:

  • Whenever possible, if the display is new, it is a great idea to have your display shipped to your place of business
  • You can control the shipping process more easily
  • You can see how it is packed and unpack it yourself
  • You can assemble the booth display yourself to test it and be sure that it is not damaged
  • You can better coordinate deadline dates and pickup/delivery for shipping to the show

Please note: if you happen to be shipping internationally, it is essential that you are familiar with your customs broker and can contact them by phone.

Next is the actual shipper(s) you select to transport your display. UPS and FedEx have differing rates/fees, depending on shipping deadlines (rush charges) and dimensional weight (discussed in part one). Overnight shipping fees can double or even triple costs of transport, while two day shipping could double your costs. If your display is smaller, or in smaller pieces, FedEx or UPS might be the best method of shipping. On the receiving end, if there is nobody to sign for the shipment, or sign-in the shipment, UPS and FedEx might simply leave the shipment at the destination if no signature is required.

Larger shipments should likely be shipped by ground. Consolidate the shipment by placing on a pallet and shrink-wrapping it all together. Once again, be sure to know all deadlines for the show and/or advance warehouse rules, in order to coordinate accurately. Be sure to cover all fees and requirements with the ground shipper. As an example, there will probably be a difference in cost between gate-lift, forklift, or dock shipments.

Also, a signature will be required on the receiving end, so you must be sure that the shipment arrives during operating hours. One good way to ensure your shipment will be on time is to use a GPS tracking system through your shipper. Some GPS systems allow you to check the status of your shipment anywhere along its route via your smartphone or laptop.

In closing, whenever possible you should do your best to make use of professional, experienced shippers that transport trade show displays regularly. Double check all your shipping, delivery, early bird, and other deadlines to avoid incident. Also, follow up on your shipping arrangements throughout the shipment process to head off and solve problems promptly, and coordinate the delivery of the display.

And finally, your original trade show display provider should be happy to help you with advice and resources, without additional expense. If they do not, do not use them again and don t recommend them to anyone. Smash Hit Displays is one display provider that wants to earn your trust as a lifetime client, and is always there to assist you.


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