The 90-minute moderated discussion was sponsored by Classic Exhibits.
In the Live Event industry, in all its forms, partnerships have historically been both fluid and cozy, meaning we mostly talk to those adjacent to our businesses. For example, at Classic Exhibits we chat with our distributors, a few exhibitors, various suppliers, and some service providers. However, we rarely talk to show organizers, GSCs, or venue operators. Not because we don’t want to but because those opportunities are rare and outside the scope of our normal business. As a result, we don’t always hear their perspective or experience their pain. That lack of communication extends to the general public and to our state and federal legislators as well.
So, how do
we change that post-pandemic? How do we build a more transparent and inclusive live
event community? There’s a general consensus that the pandemic represents an
opportunity to reinvent and rebuild our industry but what does that mean?
your perspective on the Live Event Industry, meaning what’s your role, what
that meant pre-COVID, and what that could mean post-COVID?
this is a BIG “AND,” is it possible to create an industry where all
participants have a voice, where their concerns are being addressed, and where
everyone is excited about the long-term viability of trade shows, concerts, and
If price was the only criteria for a trade show exhibit, then most exhibitors with a full show schedule would probably buy their display. Or would they?
Let’s explore this topic with three examples showing both rental and purchase prices from Classic Exhibits and Classic Rental Solutions.
The RE-1081 (rental) and VK-1356 (purchase) are identical backlit displays with a charging station, locking storage, and an iPad swivel mount.
Rental: $6316 (booth) + $2693 (graphics) = $9009
Purchase: $14,997 (booth and graphics)
By the second rental, the exhibitor would have exceeded the purchase price. However, what if the exhibitor decided to remove the charging station and replace it with a reception counter at the second show? Or some other modification. Rental exhibitors often make those changes because the price remains roughly the same (in most situations). The purchase exhibitor now has an additional component, along with extra or modified packaging. And they may decide not to use the charging table again, which means they’ll need to dispose of it.
All too often, an exhibitor who purchases a display will not make a change, even if the change would benefit their trade show marketing, because they feel locked into their original decision. A rental exhibitor has far fewer qualms about making changes, including even an entirely different design.
The RE-1082 (rental) and GK-1011 (purchase) are non-backlit displays with a workstation and locking storage.
Rental: $5816 (booth) + $2297 (graphics) = $8113
Purchase: $14,900 (booth and graphics)
In this design, the first and second rentals are less expensive than the original purchase price. By the third rental, the rental would be $4845 more. However, many exhibitors don’t factor in the monthly storage, assuming your exhibit provider stores it for you. Plus any “turnkey services” like inspection, packing, and staging charges. With a rental, those are included in the price.
Many exhibitors would rather not commit to a long-term investment or reoccurring maintenance fees on a permanent asset. And disposal charges at some point in the future. For them, a rental while more expensive over several years, may be less expensive right now and offer greater marketing flexibility.
The RE-1079 (rental) and VK-1977 (purchase) are backlit displays with a large monitor mount option.
Rental: $2483 (booth) + $1525 (graphics) = $4008
Purchase: $7600 (booth and graphics)
At this price, most exhibitors would purchase this design if it’s intended for multiple shows. However, this design is often an element in a larger island display with double-sided graphics. Other times, exhibitors with conflicting shows or those “testing” trade show marketing need an exhibit but don’t want to commit to a purchase. In those cases, a rental makes far more sense, even for small displays.
All too often, newer exhibitors will purchase a cheap, somewhat disposable display only to discover that it doesn’t reflect their branding or audience. An upscale rental allows them to showcase their products and/or services at a price comparable to a budget purchase.
When deciding whether to rent or buy a trade show exhibit, consider all your options, both short and long-term. There are benefits to both and in some situations, a combination makes the most sense. Talk to your exhibit professional to review your options.
First held in 1970, Earth Day challenged and mobilize Americans to bring awareness to the issues caused by air and water pollution as well as the amount of trash going into landfills. Rivers on fire, dead fish floating on the surface of lakes, and smog blanketing major US cities were common news items back then. Does anyone remember when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was on fire in 1969?
Here’s Walter Cronkite reporting on the first Earth Day in 1970.
New Laws and Agencies
These environmental disasters and health issues caused by
pollution led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
OSHA, The Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act among others. These
laws have protected millions of men, women, and children from disease and death
and protected hundreds of species from extinction.
Recycled and Green Materials
Environmental issues also led to the practice of recycling
which became mainstream in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that
states began mandating the recycling of paper, plastics, and metal. Recycling decreased the amount of waste going
into landfills and created a new industry dedicated to producing recycled raw
materials and products with the same look, feel, and quality of products made
from virgin raw materials.
Aa a trade show veteran in the 80s and 90s, I remember the
staggering waste produced at a typical show or event that went into landfills.
Since then, recycling and sustainability have had a positive impact on North
American trade shows. We no longer see mountains of brochures, paper products,
give-a-ways, and carpeting thrown away.
However, building eco-friendly exhibits continued to be a
challenge. Green materials either weren’t available or were expensive. Plus,
there was a misconception that sustainable meant designing a building a display
that was either structurally unsound or aesthetically unattractive.
Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits
In 2006, Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits was founded to give exhibitors eco-friendly trade show booths that didn’t compromise on design or quality. Eco-Systems utilized eco-friendly materials similar to Sintra, fabric made from recycled plastics, aluminum extrusions produced using new and recycle aluminum, FSC certified wood, Green Guard laminates and water-based adhesives and inks. As technology has evolved, so has the quality of the material we use today in the construction of Eco-Systems displays. But one thing has never changed: the innovative designs that made Eco-Systems appealing.
Over the past 15 years, sustainability has been a major
initiative for most corporations, a trend we’re seeing again as companies
revisit their trade show program. Unfortunately, many exhibitors don’t realize
they have sustainable options.
Offering your clients an eco-friendly exhibit is not only is
the right thing to do for the environment but also gives your clients the
ability to tie their corporate sustainability initiatives into their trade show
program. And the best thing is they can do this without compromising the design
or the quality of the materials used to build the exhibit. Plus, purchasing or
renting an Eco-Systems display never costs more than a non-sustainable exhibit.
We encourage you to visit the Eco-System’s Galleries in Exhibit Design Search with over 200 contemporary designs.
DID YOU KNOW? EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2021 Find It ~ TOP 40 includes 29 Classic Exhibits Distributors. Actually “30” if you include Classic Exhibits. But who’s counting? 😉 Now that’s impressive!
Portable Modular Awards and Find It — Top 40
For the fifth straight year, Classic Exhibits was named a 2021 Find It — TOP 40 Exhibit Producer in North America. In addition, Classic won honors in the Portable Modular Awards for Best 10 x 10, Best 10 x 20, and People’s Choice Award (voted by EXHIBITOR Magazine readers).
Best 10 x 10 Exhibit
This stunning little stand for Verity Global Solutions LLC is the perfect case in point. Designed by Exhibits NW Inc. and constructed by Classic Exhibits Inc., this 10-by-10 was born out of Verity Solution’s straightforward demands: Create a booth that’s clinically clean, highly technical, and representative of the health-care field. The company, which provides software and services for administration of the U.S. federal 340B drug-pricing program, also hoped its new 10-by-10 could be paired with existing pieces to expand to 10-by-20-foot and larger spaces.
Hailed by judges
as “clean and inviting” and “both visually and technologically effective,” the booth
debuted at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear
Conference. Here, attendees discovered a back wall comprising a SuperNova LED
lightbox, which was made from Classic Exhibits extrusion and featured backlit
interchangeable graphics, allowing messaging to be tailored to individual shows
Designers also positioned a large flatscreen monitor in front of the lightbox, permitting Verity Solutions to offer videos and messaging in a high-tech and dynamic format. Meanwhile, the lightbox’s clean-white frame spoke to the high-end, clinical nature of the product and the health-care industry. A divider wall along one side and reception desk on the front corner of the footprint, which were also internally lit, further delineated the space. Married with the exhibitor’s existing inventory, the components also have been used to craft everything from a modular 10-by-20-foot stand to a continuous in-line ensemble spanning 40 feet.
Best 10 x 20 Exhibit
Crafting an authentic-looking outdoor environment in the middle of a trade show floor is no small feat. But NuNaturals Inc. made it look effortless with its 10-by-20-foot in-line that debuted at Natural Products Expo West.
Going into the
show, the provider of plant-based sweeteners and baking ingredients wanted to
grow its existing 10-by-10 stand into a 10-by-20-foot booth, creating a
cohesive environment that offered a reception zone, a casual meeting space, and
ample product displays and storage. However, NuNaturals also sought to foster
an outdoor feel that would serve as a logical backdrop for its logo, which includes
a silhouette of a woman riding a bicycle.
The resulting booth from Classic Exhibits Inc. married the previous structure — a 10-foot-long ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusion with SuperNova LED lighting — with a new, equally sized lightbox comprising the same materials and similar graphics. Together, the two structures presented a dynamic backdrop depicting a brilliant field of dandelions beneath an azure-blue sky. In front of the backwall, designers positioned staggered-height product counters on the right of the footprint and an L-shaped seating area on the left, the latter of which included storage space accessible via hinged seat-top panels.
Front and center
in the design, designers added a reception desk comprising Euro Lt Modular
Panels. Here, a 3-D logo and edge-lit countertop garnered additional attendee
interest. And rather than traditional booth carpet,
designers opted for artificial turf, which seemed to capture attendees’ eyes
and lead them straight into the NuNaturals world.
Throughout the exhibit natural elements and clever features, such as wood finishes, floral silhouettes on the display cabinets, and planters atop the seating ensemble, furthered the outdoor vibe — and delighted jurors. “All of the details were on point,” one juror remarked. “Designers managed to create a functional yet aesthetically pleasing environment that became a breath of fresh air on the show floor. Brilliant!”
People’s Choice Award
To accomplish its goals for the 2019 Nationwide Marketing Group PrimeTime show, GE Appliances, a Haier company, needed nothing short of a Jedi mind trick. For the event, GE wanted to draw attention to an out-of-this-world sponsorship. Its Profile Series line of appliances would be an official sponsor for the then soon-to-be-released “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” In fact, it had set aside a 16-by-30-foot space within its 80-by-100-foot booth for this endeavor. However, The Walt Disney Co., which owns the franchise, forbid GE from referencing past characters and key parts of the upcoming film. Thus, designers at Classic Exhibits Inc. and Deckel & Moneypenny Exhibits needed to craft an experience attendees would immediately connect to Star Wars but that didn’t cross sabers with Disney’s demands.
After rejecting a
host of options, the team finally identified an element that was a constant
through the movies but that Disney also deemed safe for public consumption: the
Millennium Falcon. Thus, the team devised a unique show-floor experience
devoted entirely to promotion of this upcoming Star Wars sponsorship that wowed
not only attendees but also visitors to ExhibitorOnline.com, the latter of
whose votes ultimately identified this project as the People’s Choice Award
encounter comprised a tunnel-shaped structure that mirrored the interior of the
Millennium Falcon. Designers employed curved, black-powder-coated ClassicModul
Aluminum Extrusions and meticulously crafted graphic infills that replicated
the spaceship’s walls. To simulate the Falcon’s panels, fabricators employed high-density
foam, which was cut via computer numeric control (CNC), sanded, shaped, and
painted. Custom SuperNova LED lightboxes along the floor and in the walls
highlighted the custom graphics.
To round out the attendee experience, GE also incorporated several movie-theater elements. For example, staff distributed passes for attendees to view the encounter. Costumed ushers collected these tickets at the spaceship entrance and distributed bags of fresh popcorn.
Most portable displays look portable. That’s always been unfortunate fact. But… what if you could have all the benefits of a portable system, like UPSable roto-molded cases and tool-less assembly, with all the design impact of a modular or custom exhibit? It’s possible with Symphony Portable Displays.
Choose from 54 kits or configure the design to meet your unique trade show marketing requirements. With Symphony, there are no compromises, no tradeoffs. Simply a beautiful, upscale display at a price that’s thousands less than most custom modular exhibits.