Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Classic Rentals’ Category

The Truth about Renting a Trade Show Exhibit

December 10th, 2018 COMMENTS

Renting vs. Buying a Trade Show Exhibit

Over the past year, I’ve read quite a few articles about renting a trade show exhibit. Most are innocuous, some helpful, but others are just plain wrong. Frankly, that annoys me, but I understand why. Exhibit rentals are growing. Rapidly. And exhibit companies are positioning themselves based on their individual strengths.

“Positioning themselves” — what does that mean? In our industry, there are (1) person companies to (2500) person companies. Some build. Many do not. Some have large rental inventories. Others have little to none. Is their rental inventory metal, wood, modular walls, portable components? And how much of it is new, newer, or beat to hell? How does it assemble? Does it come with detailed setup instructions? What about design support?

These are the questions the average exhibitor never asks. Not because they don’t care, but because it would never occur to them.

I can’t answer all these questions in a blog post, but let’s untangle some of the most common misconceptions.

#1. Renting is An Option, Not THE Solution

Some rental-only exhibit companies are touting renting as the only solution. They say, “Why buy when you can rent? No more storage fees. You can change the display for every show. The cost is less.” It sounds attractive, and it’s a solid argument for many exhibitors. However, renting an exhibit, just like leasing a car, can be more expensive than purchasing. It depends on usage, lifespan, ongoing modifications, etc. It’s not as cut and dry as it appears at first glance. It’s important to run the numbers.

And, it’s not an either/or choice. Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a portion of the exhibit, say the main tower or overhead sign, and rent the components, like the counters, workstations, and charging stations. It depends on what you might want to change from show to show. But, again, you have to run the numbers and at least have a “general” vision of your short- and long-term trade show marketing goals.

Finally, sometimes it’s not about the numbers. Some exhibitors want to own their display. Others do not. Cost has little to do with their decision.

Trade Show Island Exhibit Rentals#2. Rentals Can Be Customized, Which Isn’t the Same as Custom

Whenever someone tells you your rental exhibit is “custom,” you might want to dig deeper on what “custom” means. It might mean the design is custom, but the components come from stock inventory. Or there are several custom elements which are unique to your exhibit and are being depreciated over multiple rentals, either yours or other future rental clients. Or you are basically “purchasing” the custom element, but everyone is calling it a rental since you won’t own it.

While it’s true, you can technically get a custom exhibit as a rental, there are always strings attached such as a commitment to multiple rentals or a higher price for the one-time rental.

In most cases, a rental exhibit is a “customized” display using stock components, based on a preexisting or “customized” design, and client-specific graphics.

#3. You Rent the Structure, But You Own the Graphics

Remember you are renting the structure, but you own the graphics. Each time you change the messaging, you are buying new graphics. Be realistic about how often you plan to update your graphics. Clients often assume they will reuse the graphics 3-4 times, but marketing campaigns aren’t like a pair of jeans. They change. Sometimes every single show.

#4. Your Rental Components May Be Used for Another Client’s Rental

Recently, I read a blog post where the rental exhibit supplier said that your rental property would never be used for another rental. If that’s true, it’s either the smartest or the dumbest business model I’ve ever heard. Now, in the real world, rental components are reused. That’s why rental exhibits can be less expensive. Duh?! Does that mean another exhibitor will have exactly the same design as you? Perhaps, but it’s very unlikely since every exhibit has unique needs and distinctive graphics. However, the modular aluminum wall used in Job ABC will get reused two months later on Job XYZ. And then again, until it’s no longer serviceable as a rental component. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. 

#5. Size Matters. Inventory Matters. Design Matters.

Do you remember when I said that there are companies ranging from one employee to several thousand employees? Those companies all have different rental capabilities, either in-house or through a strategic partner like Classic Exhibits. No one has an unlimited budget to stock every possible rental design. Ask yourself this… Is the design guided by their limited rental inventory or by your trade show design requirements? Whatever rental company you choose, they should treat the process as if you were purchasing a display, and the final display should look visually indistinguishable from a new exhibit.

#6. Packaging Matters. Instructions Matter. Quality Matters. 

Trade Show Inline Exhibit RentalsHere’s the very sad truth. No exhibitor ever asks about packaging, setup instructions, or quality, particularly on a rental property. And aside from design capabilities and inventory, nothing distinguishes an OK rental supplier from an AMAZING one than packaging, instructions, and quality. Too often, exhibitors save money by renting an exhibit only to piss it all away during setup and assembly on the show floor.

You should expect detailed drawings, numbered or labeled components, photos (showing where the supplier pre-assembled it at their facility), jigged packaging/crating, and clean hardware. The hardware should appear new or newish, not like it just fell off the truck, rolled around in the dirt, and then was tossed into a crate. When you open the crate, it should make you smile, not cringe in fear.

#7. Rentals are a Long-term Partnership with Your Exhibit Supplier

Depending on the rental schedule, you are going to see each other a lot. And, based on that ongoing relationship, you are going to flourish or falter. Exhibit rentals require a communication commitment. What’s your show schedule? Does the design need to change? Were there any issues at the last show? How about new graphics? Is your next show an inline vs. an island? When do you want to booth to ship and are there any services you need such as rental furniture, I&D, electrical, flooring, etc.

Rentals force both sides to communicate, often far in advance. It doesn’t take long to decide whether it’s a fit or whether it’s time for you to start seeing other people. But, when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.

One final piece of advice — not all suppliers are equally good at both. Your current supplier may be a magician at designing a custom exhibit but lack the skills, interest, or inventory to pull the rental rabbit out of a hat. Being good at one is no guarantee of being good at the other. Ask the hard questions and be willing to work with someone else if anything seems amiss.

In the end, your rental experience should be no different from a purchase, whether during the exploratory and design process or at the show. Always expect the best.

Have questions? Give us a call or send us an email. We would love to chat with you.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

**********************************************

Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental exhibit solutions. 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 www.classicexhibits.com.

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

October 2nd, 2018 COMMENTS

Every week, Tim Patterson, a.k.a. Tradeshow Guy, conducts an interview on his Monday Morning Coffee video/audio broadcast. Sometimes it’s someone from the trade show community, but more often it’s an expert on various business topics. It’s my go-to stop every Monday morning. 

This week Tim interviewed our own Jim Shelman, the GM of Classic Rental Solutions. They chatted about rental trends, the evolving reasons to rent, and why purchase and rentals are not so different. The interview starts at 4:15. Enjoy! 

My EXHIBITORLIVE 2018 Reactions and Recap

March 10th, 2018 COMMENTS

EXHIBITORLIVE 2018 with Classic Exhibits

Hello Classic Distributor Family!

What an amazing start to 2018. EXHIBITORLIVE was visual proof that things are on the upswing in the trade show industry.

The EXHIBITORLIVE show floor, by many accounts, felt smaller footprint-wise… but boy was it TALLER than ever. Everyone seemed to go high this year, Classic included with an aluminum double-deck, one of several in our Classic Rental Solutions inventory.

The attendee mood was positive about the future of face-to-face marketing. As we know, face-to-face marketing is evolving with the blending of trade shows and events. That blending was clearly on display via digital displays, LED Walls, AR, and VR technology and much, much more.

Classic continues to be largely an enigma to corporate trade show managers. Even after 20 years at EXHIBITOR, we are an unknown entity to many end-users, which is fine. Our customer is YOU, the Classic Distributor. We participate in EXHIBITOR to  show you new products and services, to talk to YOU about how we can better serve you and your customers, and to discover more of YOU in markets where we need Classic Exhibit partners. To that end, the show was very successful.

The Classic Team did an amazing job getting the booth designed, shipped, installed, and staffed. I could not be prouder of the sweat and effort by everyone who worked on this year’s exhibit. It was Big and Beautiful!

Portable Modular Awards

On that Tuesday, we attended the 5th Annual Portable Modular Awards ceremony. We had four finalists this year, and we won what I would consider the most coveted Exhibit Design Award of the year — the 2017 People’s Choice Award. We won for the Parallon Island, a project we designed and built for our great partner The Astor Group! Not only does this award recognize an incredible design, but it’s also a wonderful example of a partnership between Classic (builder) and Astor Group (Distributorship). Thank you Lowell, Ciara, and Cheryl for entrusting the Classic Exhibits Team to bring your client’s marketing to life. To date, it’s the most beautiful exhibit we have designed and built.

Find It Top 40

As if that were not enough, Exhibitor Magazine announced a new category of awards. The Find-It Marketplace Top 40 Exhibit Builders. Classic not only made the list, but we were singled out as the Best Exhibit House in the Service and Reliability Category. Proud does not even begin to describe my feelings when I heard them call our name. We all love awards of course, but one that is based on Customer Service and Reliability means the most to me. It recognizes our dedicated Shop Crew, Project Managers, Detailers, Design, and Administrative teams for all the amazing work they do each and every day. Thank you to all the employees of Classic Exhibits for doing what you do so well.

To all of our Distributor Partners and Vendor Partners, it was great to see you and get caught up on your business and personal lives. And to our sister company, Eco-systems Sustainable Exhibits, your inline exhibit showcased your ability to GO UPSCALE GREEN with an amazing custom design. To all… Thank you for believing in Shared Success!

Have a great weekend ahead all.

Be well!

–Kevin
http://twitter.com/kevin_carty
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/kevin-carty/3/800/32a


 

 

Happy New Year! Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

January 8th, 2018 COMMENTS

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

2018 Annual Letter from Kevin Carty

New Faces and New Designs from Classic Rental Solutions

December 23rd, 2017 COMMENTS

JessicaMarchant

Happy New Year!

We are celebrating with new faces, new designs, and a New Year promotion (coming in early January).

Classic Rental Solutions welcomes Jessica Marchant (No, she’s not French, but she does have a Southern accent). Jessica was kind enough to share a little about her roots, experience, and personality in this interview.

What is your home town?

Charleston, South Carolina

BeachComparisonBest part about South Carolina?

The beaches are beautiful. They’re very tropical and the water is always warm.

How do you like the Oregon coast?

[Laughs] No comment.

What brought you to the Northwest?

To be completely honest, it was pretty random. My husband traveled through Portland on a train and really liked it. He wanted to move somewhere with water, and I wanted to be near mountains, so it was a great compromise. Plus, we really like the Cascade Mountains.

How did you find out about Classic Exhibits?

I found out about Classic through Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, when they had an available project management position. I was really intrigued by the design elements and was offered a position with the rental team.

Leon 2[2]What is your educational background?

I got my Masters in Design Management at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), which is the second largest design school in the world. There was a focus on branding and business strategy. While there, I was in the Research Club, which involved researching methods and emerging methodologies. John Malkovich was our guest speaker when I graduated.

What are a few skills you have attained that you’re bringing to the team?

Leadership qualities, problem-solving, and I am well-versed in design, to name a few.

What’s an interesting fact about yourself?

I rescued a hairless cat named, Leon (aka The Ladies’ Man or Lele).

What are you most excited about with joining the Classic Family?

I think I am most excited about having different projects and not doing the same thing over and over. I don’t like repetition. I like variety and working with different people.


Recent CRS Changes

RentalsIslands

Business is booming. And Classic Rental Solutions has refined our workflow procedures and inventory to make your life easier. We believe, as we hope you do too, that CRS provides the highest quality displays available on the market. It’s no accident that repeat business has been the key to our (and your) rental success.

Your clients never have to worry about their booth looking anything but perfect. Plus, they always have the added benefit of modifying their design for each show at a low cost. This helps them stay relevant to potential customers on the show floor. Ultimately, it’s all about HAPPY CLIENTS, show after show.

Classic Rental Solutions is thrilled to be a finalist (once again) for EXHIBITOR Magazine’s Portable/Modular Awards. The PMA’s will be announced at EXHIBITORLIVE in February, but you can vote for your favorite on the PMA People’s Choice page. Our thanks to TPS Displays Richmond for choosing us as their rental provider for the ForRent island. We encourage you to vote (and vote often).

Finally, we’ve GREATLY EXPANDED the Rental Gallery in Exhibit Design Search. Over 150 additions, all with both rental and purchase prices to make the comparison easier. If you haven’t seen our latest additions to the gallery, please sneak a peek. It’s gone from impressive to AMAZING.

Stay tuned for even more updates in 2018. We’re on an exciting roll.

On behalf of Classic Rental Solutions and the Classic Exhibits family, we wish you a Prosperous New Year.