Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Classic Rental Solutions’

2018/2019 Annual State of the Company Letter by Kevin Carty

January 19th, 2019 COMMENTS

An Interview with Jim Shelman, GM of Classic Rental Solutions

January 5th, 2019 COMMENTS

Interview with Jim Shelman at Classic Rental Solutions

Trade Show Rentals have undergone a seismic shift not only in design but also in sales. And, this trend will continue in 2019 and beyond. This week, we chatted with Jim Shelman, the General Manager of Classic Rental Solutions. So what should you expect as an exhibitor or a Classic Exhibits Distributor Partner? More of the same, which is a VERY GOOD THING. 

Q1. You’ve been in the Rental Exhibits space for over 20 years. What’s different now than say 6-8 years ago?

A lot of things have changed, but there are two things that really stand out to me as major changes. One, is the implementation of customization to rental designs. Almost every order we produce includes some element of customization to provide specific needs that exhibitors request during the design process. Today, it’s difficult to spot a rental design, versus a purchased design on the show floor.

The other thing that stands out are the reasons exhibitors decide to rent vs. purchase.

In the past, the primary reason to rent had more to do with only exhibiting in one or two shows per year, and if you were unsure of your long-term show schedule. The thought process was to test the waters with a rental, see how it goes, and purchase once you’ve committed to exhibiting in multiple shows per year. Now, it has become more about design flexibility, and perhaps not wanting to be stuck with the same design show after show. Or, maybe not wanting to deal with storing, shipping, or repairing a purchased exhibit.

Today, many exhibitors approach each show as a clean slate by working with new rental designs that match their specific show-to-show needs.

Q2. Classic Rental Solutions sales have increased year-over-year since 2010. Nearly 20% in 2018. Why?

There are several factors. With the risk of sounding corny, I’ll credit our team of dedicated people, and our incredible distributors, but I also think it’s because of our business model. We understand how important it is to be flexible, and to offer customized design services, and continuously add new custom designs to our rental gallery through our Exhibit Design Search feature on our website. And we’re committed to adding inventory as needed, to fulfill new opportunities for our distributors.

Classic Exhibit Rental Rewards ProgramAnother key factor is that we have the unique support from our in-house manufacturing professionals that produce new exhibits for our 200+ Distributor Partner Network. All of our rental components are produced right here, and we’re able to make last minute modifications.

I like to make it clear that we don’t just offer rentals, but that we offer a complete rental program. From start to finish, we have detailed processes that are followed by our production team and project managers. Every rental project gets staged and photographed before shipping. The highest quality standards are strictly enforced. We include setup instructions, and staging and packing photos with every order. After orders are returned, we provide a complete check-in report to close-out the project.

Several years ago, we implemented our Rental Rewards Program, which offers a reward discount of 2% of the total rental and graphics order when your exhibit returns without major damage and/or missing components. The program also offers two annual prize-drawings, and other rewards for our distributor network.

Q3. What are your biggest challenges headed into 2019? Biggest opportunities?

The seasonal nature of the trade show industry is always challenging. Everything hits at once several times throughout the year, which makes it challenging at times, but we plan and adjust accordingly. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it’s never a real surprise, but it can hit at slightly different times.

2019 should be an amazing year for us. I would say that our biggest opportunities will be to continue to work on larger island design projects. We’re doing larger projects all the time, and I expect that trend to continue.

Another big opportunity that I’m anticipating is doing more large quantity component orders. We do large quantity orders for workstation kiosks, monitor stands, iPad kiosks, counters, and charging stations. Our large inventory, and willingness to add more, allows us to offer quantities that others typically don’t have available.

Trade Show Island Rental Exhibits from Classic Rental Solutions

Q4. What do you think the typical exhibitor gets wrong about renting a trade show exhibit?

Some of the newer exhibitors think that they are limited to standard designs, and they’re surprised when we start the design process and realize that we offer so much more than they were expecting.

Q5. What do you wish the typical Classic Distributor Partner understood about Classic Rental Solutions?

For those who aren’t aware and haven’t worked with us, I wish that they understood our full capabilities, and our design flexibility. And that we offer a complete rental program with nothing but high-quality “like-new” components. I want them to understand that we can offer something unique for their client base. Something that has proven to work successfully for distributors all over the country.

Q6. Have you seen more event-related rentals vs. trade show rentals? Are their more similarities or differences?

Yes, we ship a fair amount of event-related projects. In the last couple of months, we had multiple large quantity orders for charging stations. And last week we shipped (49) backlit counters to the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.

Q7. How has the Gravitee One-Step System impacted your rental options?

Our Gravitee Modular System has been a great addition to our rental program. It works extremely well for towers and conference rooms, but also for entire island and inline designs. It’s super-fast and easy to setup and disassemble, so it’s used as much as possible to save on labor costs. We see a substantial savings in time during our staging process here in our shop as well. We have a large inventory of standard and custom panel sizes, and we’ll continue to add to it.

Q8. Assuming you’ll be at EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, what are the three questions you want attendees or Distributor Partners to ask you about CRS?

Yes, I’m planning to be there, and here are three of many questions that I would welcome during our conversations.

  • How can Classic Rental Solutions assist us with our current rental program?
  • How do we get started working with Classic for our rental projects?
  • What are your customization capabilities?

I’m looking forward to the show, and I’d be happy to schedule meetings during, before, or after show hours.

You can contact Jim Shelman at jshelman@classicexhibits.com or at 503-345-0525 ext, 103. 

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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! 

Exhibit Design Search | All New EDS Changes!

March 29th, 2018 COMMENTS

EDSBlogHeader

Yes, EDS has changed… again. Now, don’t shake your head. You should be excited about these changes since they are all based on suggestions from you, our Classic Exhibits Distributors. I’m going to refer to them as “3 Modifications” since the word “change” makes some of you sweat like a cold watermelon on the 4th of July.

Modification #1

Exhibit Design Search

This one is BIG. About three weeks ago, we reorganized five galleries from product-centric to functional galleries. In hindsight, we should have done it before. It took a few weeks to make the switch since it required shifting hundreds of kits to new galleries. In short, the new galleries are more logical. Now, instead of Sacagawea, Magellan, SEGUE, and Perfect 10 galleries, there are the following:

  • Trade Show Islands:  All islands from Classic Exhibits with some from Eco-systems Sustainable
  • Modern Hybrid Exhibits:  Upscale, mid-priced inline exhibits, whether modular or custom
  • LED Lightbox Designs: Inline LED lightbox designs, whether custom, modular, or portable
  • 10 ft. Portable Displays: All 10 ft. Sacagawea and Perfect 10 kits, plus portable SEGUE, Magellan, and Visionary Designs. It does not include the Quadro or FGS pop up displays which are in separate galleries
  • 20 ft. Portable Displays:  Same as above, except 20 ft. inlines

Same kits. Same information. Just reorganized to make it easier to find the ideal design.

Modification #2

Exhibit Design Search -- Rental Feature

Several months ago, we expanded our rental design offerings, adding over 200 new kits — inlines, islands, and accessories. At the same time, we added a price comparison feature making it easier to compare rentals and purchases. That’s been HUGE hit with distributors, since it opens the door to chat with clients about rentals.

It also said to Classic Distributors, “Talk to us about what your client wants for a rental whether or not you see it in EDS. We’re open to any and all design suggestions.” And boy-oh-boy you have embraced that enthusiastically. We love the ideas. Keep them coming.

However, the additional kits made the Rental Gallery somewhat overwhelming, so we split them into two galleries — islands and inlines. There are now three Rental Galleries in EDS:

Modification #3

Advanced Exhibit Design SearchPersonally, I love the Advanced Search feature in EDS, but I suspect that few distributors use it. That’s not surprising since the link isn’t a fancy button or surrounded by flashing lights. But if you are a power-user of EDS (feel free to add that skill to your LinkedIn profile), then the Advanced Search can make your life much easier when narrowing down the perfect designs for your clients.

With all the gallery changes, we had to decide whether to keep the product search functionality or migrate to the new search options. We chose the later, since you’ve told me (many times) that the product names often confuse your clients. While that hurts my feelings, a little, I need to be the better person and not hold a grudge for the rest of my life (Internal voice:  “Suck it down Mel. Just suck it down!”)

I encourage you to explore the Advance Search feature, using it to search select galleries, conduct text-related searches, or drill-down to very specific design options such as a “lightbox with shelves.” No, it’s not Google good, but it’s still pretty darn impressive.

I plan to conduct several Exhibit Design Search training webinars this spring so look for the email notification. These usually last about 45 minutes and move pretty fast. If you’ve ever spent more than 10 minutes with me, you know I have a lot to say about EDS. Clearly.

Got questions? Give me a call or send me an email. In the meantime, explore EDS on the Classic site, the unbranded version, or your unique branded Exhibit Design Search. Confused about whether you have a branded version, contact me or Jen Labruzza, the National Sales Manager.

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

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom 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.

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