Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for July, 2023

Introducing Backlit Symphony Portable Displays

July 31st, 2023 COMMENTS
LED Lattice Lights for the Backlit Symphony Portable Display

You made the Symphony the gold standard for portable modular displays with tool-less assembly, (8) frame shapes and (17) upscale accessories, like iPad Clamshells, Monitor Mounts, Literature Holders, and Lockable Counters.

Now, as Emeril LaGasse would say, “It’s time to kick it up a notch!” Introducing Symphony Backlit Portable Displays with three elegant 10 ft. and 20 ft. designs: SYK-1050, SYK-1051, and SYK-2039. All include SEG fabric graphics, LED lattice lights, fabric reflector, and portable roto-molded cases with wheels. Need a workstation counter or floating graphic? The complete Symphony Accessory line attaches to the backlit versions too (same as non-backlit).

For details, visit Exhibit Design Search on the Classic Exhibits website.

SYK-1050, SYK-2039, and SYK-1051

SYK-1050 Backlit Symphony Portable Display
SYK-2039 Backlit Symphony Portable Display
SYK-1051 Backlit Symphony Portable Display

What is a Trade Show?

July 24th, 2023 COMMENTS
what is a trade show

Have you ever told a colleague, friend, or relative that you’re attending a trade show and they look at you with a puzzled expression? It’s as if they’ve heard the word “trade show” before, but don’t quite know what it means. They may say, “Do you mean like the local RV and boat show or the holiday craft fair?” Yes… and no. 

Trade Show, as a term, is often used interchangeably with other similar words like conventions, exhibitions, conferences, trade fairs, symposiums, and expos. And while they are similar, trade shows, and in particular professional trade shows, have a specific definition.  Oddly enough, a trade show may include a conference, a symposium, and an expo, which only adds to the confusion. Let’s untangle this with both an official definition and a more loosey-goosey definition based on real-life experience.  

What is a Trade Show? 

A trade show is an exhibition organized so that companies in a specific industry can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services, meet with industry partners and customers, study the activities of rivals, and examine recent market trends and opportunities. Trade shows are typically held in convention centers or hotels, and they can last for a few days or even weeks.

There are trade shows for all sorts of industries, from technology to manufacturing to healthcare. Some of the largest trade shows in the world include the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, and the International Builders’ Show (IBS).

trade fair

Our Trade Show Definition 

For most companies and attendees, a trade show is an opportunity — both professionally and personally. It’s hard work with long hours and an unofficial vacation. It’s a chance to hang with colleagues, meet industry influencers, and check out the competition. There are educational sessions, keynote speakers, award ceremonies, and receptions. Good food. Bad food. And too much of both. Sore feet and not enough sleep. And the thrill of meeting a new client with a massive order for the right supplier. 

All too often, however, trade show exhibitors and attendees treat a show as a vacation and/or a party. They don’t prepare, don’t plan, don’t create goals. It’s a week away from the office on the company’s dime. And while they may recognize the show as a “sales and marketing” opportunity, they don’t actively prepare for it by engaging in pre-show marketing or contacting existing or potential clients before the show. To them, it’s an event and what happens happens. Hopefully something wonderful, but there’s no way to predict it. 

Those are the exhibitors and the attendees who report back after the show that “it was a waste of time.”  

What is the Purpose of a Trade Show

What is the Purpose of a Trade Show? 

Trade shows are perfect for learning about new products and services, meeting potential customers, and generating sales leads. They can also be a great way to network with other industry professionals.

If you are considering attending a trade show, you’ll need to make sure that the trade show is relevant to your industry. Second, you need to plan your visit carefully. This includes deciding which exhibitors to visit, who you want to meet, and how you want to spend your time. Third, you need to dress professionally and be prepared to network.

Here are five benefits of attending a trade show:

  1. Learn about new products and services: Trade shows are a great way to learn about new products and services available in your industry. You can see demonstrations of new products, talk to the people who make them, and get your hands on samples.
  2. Meet with potential customers and partners: Trade shows are a great way to meet with potential customers and partners. You can introduce yourself to people who are interested in your products or services, and you can learn more about their needs.
  3. Generate leads: Trade shows are a great way to generate leads. You can collect business cards, sign up people for email lists, and schedule follow-up meetings.
  4. Network with other professionals: Trade shows are a great way to network with other professionals in your industry. You can meet people who work for your competitors, suppliers, and customers.
  5. Learn about industry trends: Trade shows are a great way to learn about industry trends. You can hear from experts, attend seminars, and see what other companies are doing.

If you are considering attending a trade show, I encourage you to do your research and find one that is relevant to your industry. With a little planning, you can make the most of your time at the show and come away with valuable insights and contacts.

Exhibition Stand

What Are Trade Shows That I Can Attend? 

There are thousands of trade shows in North America and tens of thousands worldwide. Even the most aggressive exhibitor only attends a fraction of these. In reality, you’ll probably only attend trade shows relevant to your profession or personal interests. 

Before deciding which show to attend, either as an attendee or as an exhibitor, contact friends or colleagues who have gone to the show in the past. They’re the best source of information about whether the trade show would benefit you and/or your company.

There are several search tools for finding shows in North America and Internationally. 

  •  EventsEye – Free source for locating trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences worldwide. 
  • 10 Times – Search by events, venues, companies, and the Top 100 Events worldwide. 
  • The Tradeshow Calendar – Global search engine for B2B trade exhibitions with a strong North American database.
  • EXHIBITOR Calendar – Search by show names, dates, city, country, and attendees/exhibitors.
  • TradeFairDates – In addition to an international trade show search engine, you can also find trade show suppliers.

Tradeshow Exhibit

How to Prepare for Your First Trade Fair, Show, or Exhibition 

Here are some tips on how to prepare for your first trade show:

  • Set goals: What do you hope to achieve by attending the trade show? Do you want to generate leads, make sales, or simply learn about new products and services? Once you know your goals, you can start to develop a plan to achieve them.
  • Choose the right trade show: There are trade shows for all sorts of industries, so it’s important to choose one that’s relevant to your business. You should also consider the size of the trade show, the date and location, and the cost of attendance.
  • Plan your trade show exhibit: Your exhibit is your chance to make a good first impression on potential customers and partners. So make sure it’s well-designed, well-lit, and informative. You should also have plenty of brochures, business cards, and other promotional materials on hand.
  • Create a trade show marketing plan: A trade show marketing plan can help you reach your goals by identifying your target audience, developing a message, and creating a budget. You should also consider using social media, email marketing, and other online channels to promote your trade show participation.
  • Train your staff: Your staff is the face of your company at the trade show, so it’s important to make sure they’re well-trained. They should know your products or services inside and out, and they should be able to answer any questions potential customers may have.
  • Attend pre-show events: Many trade shows offer pre-show events, such as seminars and workshops. These events can be a great way to learn about the latest trends in your industry and network with other professionals.
  • Arrive early: It’s important to arrive early at the trade show so you can set up your booth and get a feel for the layout. This will help you make the most of your time at the show.
  • Be prepared to network: Networking is one of the most important things you can do at a trade show. So make sure you bring plenty of business cards and be prepared to talk to people.
  • Follow up with leads: After the trade show, be sure to follow up with any leads you generated. This could involve sending them an email with more information about your products or services or setting up a meeting to discuss their needs.

what is a trade show

Maximize Trade Show Success with Classic Exhibits! 

If you are new to trade shows, don’t go at it alone. The rules, regulations, and informal information can be daunting and the jargon opaque and confusing. Do your homework whether that’s online articles or blogs or by reading books like Build a Better Trade Show Image or Tradeshow Success. And always work with a trade show professional at an exhibit house or industry consultant. Their expertise will not only save you money over time but also maximize your ROI at each trade show by following proven strategies. 

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

Trade Show Carpet Tiles: A Buyer’s Guide

July 18th, 2023 COMMENTS
trade show carpet tile

Trade show flooring options are often the last consideration an exhibitor makes about their display. Their first choice is often carpeting or carpet tile. The reasons are obvious. It’s available in many colors, it’s available in multiple weights, it’s easy to transport and maintain, and with the right padding, it’s comfortable. In addition, it’s generally affordable whether you decide to purchase or rent it.  

Choosing the Right Trade Show Carpet Tiles

Choosing the perfect trade show carpet doesn’t have to be complicated. You can make it as simple as selecting a neutral color from the General Show Contractor like black, gray, or beige along with basic padding. They’ll install it. If you provide them with an electrical layout, they’ll channel any cords under the flooring as best as the situation allows.  

However, many exhibitors have grander expectations for their flooring, like brighter colors, thicker carpeting, custom inlays, dye-sublimated printing, and premium padding. For those exhibitors, flooring isn’t merely flooring. It’s another graphic medium in the overall presentation that has a purpose (other than being walked on). 

This opens the door to more possibilities and should start during the exhibit and graphic design process. Not after. Designers LOVE when clients ask about flooring. It gives them another surface to consider. While the final decision may be a single color in a 30 oz. weight, the color (like yellow or magenta or orange) might transform a “beautiful display” into a “stunning exhibit.” It starts with planning and an open mind. Carpet can be so much more when you allow designers to be creative. 

trade show carpet tiles

Trade Show Carpet: Options & Examples

Weights and Colors 


  • Carpet PaddingFiber, Polyurethane, Rebond
  • Dye-Sublimation: Don’t see the exact color you want? Have it dyed to a specific PMS color match.
  • Carpet Tape: Always purchase your tape with your carpet to save money. Plan to reuse the carpet? Let the carpet supplier know.   
  • Visqueen: A clear plastic that protects the carpet during the installation (ex., forklift tire tracks, spilled drinks, and dirty shoes).  
  • Carpet Bag: Perfect for shipping and keeping the carpet clean. 
  • Binding: Binding provides a finished look to the carpet edges and extends its usable life.
  • Inlays: Create designs using multiple carpet colors, like logos, pathways, or blocks.

trade show carpet

How Does Trade Show Carpet Compare to Other Flooring Options? 

  • Carpet vs. Rubber Tiles 
    • Appearance (Carpet)
    • Durability (Rubber Tiles)
    • Installation (Tie)
    • Shipping (Rubber Tiles)
    • Comfort (Tie)
    • Customization (Carpet)
    • Cost (Initial Cost – Carpet: Long-term Cost – Rubber Tiles)
  • Carpet vs. Flex Floor (hardwoods and stoneworks)
    • Appearance (Tie)
    • Durability (Carpet)
    • Installation (Tie)
    • Shipping (Tie)
    • Comfort (Tie)
    • Customization (Carpet)
    • Cost (Tie)
  • Carpet vs. Raised Floor
    • Appearance (Raised Floor)
    • Durability (Raised Floor)
    • Installation (Carpet)
    • Shipping (Carpet)
    • Comfort (Carpet)
    • Customization (Tie)
    • Cost (Carpet)
  • Carpet vs. Concrete (apply vinyl graphics to concrete floor)
    • Appearance (Carpet)
    • Durability (Depends))
    • Installation (Concrete)
    • Shipping (Concrete)
    • Comfort (Carpet)
    • Customization (Tie)
    • Cost (Concrete)

Trade Show Carpet Rental vs. Purchase 

When considering whether to rent or purchase trade show carpeting, there’s no perfect answer. It depends. Factors include the # of shows you plan to attend, the size of the booth, the type and/or quality of carpet, and budget. The chart below summarizes the pros and cons of renting vs. purchasing trade show carpet. 

trade show carpet rental

Trade Show Carpet Tiles FAQs 

To get you started in the right direction, here are some basic FAQs.

1. How do I calculate the amount of carpet I need?

Just follow these easy steps.

  • Calculate your square footage – this is done by multiplying the length of the area by the width of the area: 10 x 20 booth space will be 200 sq ft.
  • You will then need to calculate the carpet needed to cover the square footage.
    • If your carpet is 12’ wide, and your area is 10 x 20, you will have to purchase a 12 x 20 to cover the area = 240 sq ft.
    • If your carpet is 10’ wide, you will then order 200 sq ft.
  • It is always safe to order an extra foot of carpet to ensure you are totally covered in your area.

2. Is it better to rent or purchase trade show carpet tile?

It depends on your short-term or long-term needs. It is more cost-effective to rent carpet if your schedule of exhibits is minimal. However, if you have several planned activities over a scope of time, you could experience significant cost-savings by purchasing.

3. How can I get versatile use of my trade show carpet?

While carpeting is one of the most budget-friendly flooring options, inventive solutions such as dying carpet to custom PMS colors, binding, or incorporating custom inlays or logos will prove to be cost-effective while transforming the floor for other non-trade show projects.

4. How can I extend the longevity of my trade show carpet?

Taking care of your carpet during storage and transportation will extend the longevity of the carpet. Here are a few tips:

  • Store and ship in carpet bags
  • Store carpet on cores. This is very important – NEVER fold your carpet during storage or transportation
  • Store in a dry storage
  • Clean carpet before storing
  • Remove stains as soon as they happen
  • Repair all holes after each event

High-Quality, Affordable Trade Show Carpet Tiles with Classic Exhibits! 

Our advice… have an open mind about trade show carpet tile and don’t leave the decision until the end. Exhibitors have gotten bolder and more creative with their trade show choices to attract attendees and showcase their messaging. Those bold choices now include flooring with brighter colors, inlay shapes and images, and dye-sublimated printing. 

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or

Download the Gravitee Modular Panel Library

July 17th, 2023 COMMENTS

Six years ago, we decided to engineer a modular wall system that tapped into our 30+ years of patents and innovations. What we didn’t want was a “me too” modular system.

Our Requirements: 

  1. No loose horizontal or vertical connectors 
  2. Compatible with over 100 ClassicMODUL aluminum extrusions
  3. Flexible, multi-purpose 90, 120, 135, and hinge connections
  4. Non-welded corners for reconfigurability
  5. Seamless SEG and direct print options
  6. Flat and curved panels
  7. Durable, lightweight, and intuitive panels

From the get go, the Gravitee One-Step Modular Wall System was engineered to be an ideal purchase exhibit system and the backbone of our Classic Rental Solutions inventory. Not just a panels and parts system. We did all the heavy lifting of creating designs for the Classic Distributor Network.

Recently, you’ve asked for access to the Gravitee Modular Panel library for your designers. Which makes sense since you’re now designing your own Gravitee solutions. See the links below to download the Gravitee Literature and Price List, Panel and Connector PDF, and DWG File Library

As always, you can request specific kit files from the Classic’s Design Department at no charge.

Gravitee Modular Panel .DWG Library
Gravitee Modular Panel .DWG Library

If Hotels Were Run Like Trade Shows

July 10th, 2023 COMMENTS

A guest approaches the reception desk at a hotel and says to the desk manager, “Hi. I’d like a room for a week, perhaps longer.”

“Sure,” replies the desk manager. “Will it be a single, double, or suite?”

“A single is fine.”

“Great. For a week, the price is $17,000. You’ll have access to the room for 8-10 hours per day. ”

“Pardon me?” says the guest. “I don’t think I heard you correctly. I can only use the room for part of the day? What’s that all about? And what’s the deal on the price?”

“The price is the price. It’s non-negotiable. For security reasons, we limit access to your room. You wouldn’t want someone wandering into your room when you are not there.”

“Aren’t there locks on the door?”

“Oh no!” explains the desk manager. “You can lock your valuables in the dresser or closet, but the room doesn’t have a door.”

“Odd,” says the guest, “but I’ll take the room.”

“Do you have any luggage?”

“Of course. It’s outside. I’ll go get it.”

“That’s not allowed!” shouts the desk manager. “We have a contractor who does that. They’ll get your luggage, bring it to your room, and remove it when you leave. It will cost between $3000-$15,000 depending on how much luggage you have and how much it weighs. Please pay the contractor directly for this service. Not me.”

“Anything else?” says the guest. 

“Of course. Sheesh! It’s like you haven’t stayed at a hotel before. We have several contractors who specialize in unpacking and packing, including assembling your bed. You can choose the contractor you prefer. I’m assuming you’ll want electricity, a television, Internet, water, and cleaning services. Those are all separate fees from separate contractors.”

“So, the room doesn’t have a bed?” asks the guest.

Hotel Room
I’m assuming you’ll want electricity, a television, Internet, water, and cleaning services. Those are extra.

“Don’t be silly,” says the desk manager. “How would we ever know what type of bed you want? Only you know that. Although we’re happy to rent you a bed that’s been used by other guests for years. For all the services listed, you can expect to pay an additional $36,000.”

“To be honest with you, I thought this would be simple. I have a big deal to close this week, so I guess I don’t really have much of a choice. Does the hotel at least have a morning breakfast?”

“Absolutely. Here’s a menu and price list. Please note that bottled water is $8, a large cup of coffee is $12, and a sausage biscuit is $20. Also, if you bring any food to your room, we’ll charge you a fee.”

The sausage biscuit is $20 or two for $36

“Well, I’m here so let’s get started,” says the guest. “By the way, if I decide to stay another week, when do I need to let you know.”

“Well, that’s complicated,” responds the desk manager.

“We only rent the property for a week. Then another company rents it next week. It changes all the time. You’ll have to start the process all over again if you decide to stay longer.”

“To be honest with you,” says the guest. “From the perspective of the customer paying the bill, this seems like a crazy way to run a business. And insanely expensive! Why would anyone stay at a hotel more than once?”

“Habit mostly. Guests who understand the process start by creating goals and a strategy for making money while they’re here. Others, like you my friend, arrive without a clue and probably will never come back. Which is fine. There’s always someone who needs a room for a week, even if they don’t know why. May I have your credit card? You may want to give me two or three since we’re likely to hit your limit.”


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufactures portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including Symphony Portable Displays. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or