During my extensive career in the hospitality industry, I spent a lot of time at travel and tourism trade shows. The experience taught me a multitude of things, including the benefits of portable exhibits. They were what I used when attending various size events on behalf of my employers and cohorts. With that said, here’s some of what I learned:
For new hospitality managers that may not be aware of portables, they come in several forms. Two of the most common are panel and pop-up. Over the course of my career, I have used both. Prices for the displays tend to start at $900 for a tabletop model and $2,400 for a floor model, which brings me to the first benefit of using them. The initial costs are often substantially cheaper than their custom and rental counterparts, which may cost you $3,000 or more for a one-time use. I have also found that because portables tend to be highly compact and light, you can save money on drayage, storage and shipping costs too.
Speaking of costs, I have an additional, little tip for you. If you want to make supplemental money with your display or cut costs further, consider co-op marketing opportunities. The companies that I worked for would rent out their portables to those that had vertical or horizontal co-op agreements with them. Furthermore, sometimes we would share booth space and travel costs with those same co-op partners. In those instances, the portable displays were split in half. For example, I would list my hotel properties on one panel and leave the display’s other two panels to my marketing partners.
Ease of Set-Up
Another aspect of portable displays that I found favorable was the ease of set-up and breakdown. For example, when I attended national trade shows, I often traveled with one other person. Between the two of us, we were able to set-up the display’s framework in less than 5 minutes. That typically gave us more time to focus on the finer aspects of the display as well as networking with other attendees. Of course it also meant that we were able to disassemble the display quickly. As a result, we frequently were able to shave time off of our trip home.
What I also liked about using portable exhibits to market my employers’ businesses was their flexibility. The size of the displays that I worked with could be increased or decreased at will. For me, that was an important feature because of all the trade shows that I attended on a regular basis had different size restrictions. Thus, having the flexibility to reconfigure my portables at will kept me from having to purchase different displays for each trade show. I’ll give you the perfect example. One of the tabletop displays that I used was a tri-fold panel model. I could position it into a triangle shape that took up to ¼ of a 6-foot banquet table. I could also unfold and position it in a way that took up the entire table.
Source: Personal Experience
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