Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Rental Exhibits’

Fast Food, Banner Stands, and Trade Show Exhibits

April 11th, 2019 COMMENTS

What Do Trade Show Displays Have in Common with Restaurants?

Many inexperienced exhibitors struggle with their show display options. And who can blame them? Even for hardcore marketing professionals, trade show exhibits can be puzzling and the prices bewildering. Some displays are hundreds of dollars, other thousands, and larger projects easily climb into six figures.

So how do you choose? Oddly enough, trade show displays are a lot like restaurants. Yes, restaurants. There are fast food displays and fine dining exhibits. Don’t want fast food or fine dining… how about casual dining displays? Where you eat depends on your budget, your taste preferences, and your priorities. So, let’s take a moment to compare the familiar (restaurants) with the unfamiliar (trade show exhibits). Hopefully it will make choosing your next display much easier.

Fast Food

A fast-food restaurant provides the quickest food and service at the cheapest prices. The décor is simple, and the selection limited. Going to Taco Bell, KFC, and of course, McDonald’s is almost always convenient, predictable, and inexpensive but perhaps not always healthy depending on your choices.

Finding fast food displays is just as easy and convenient. There’s no shortage of imported banner stands or tension fabric displays on the web, all available for a click or two. These displays serve a purpose for local events or for small businesses not participating in professional trade shows. They are cost-effective, graphic mediums with limited accessories and an uncertain lifespan. Just like a burger, fries, and COKE, they taste great but should be consumed in moderation. The experience is nearly always transactional, not consultative. Click here for examples.

Fast Casual

Unlike fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants are more likely to serve healthier choices and offer more comfortable dining rooms. Customers usually order their food at the counter, although drive -thru and takeout is available. Think Chipotle, Boston Market, or even Panda Express. And while you have choices, those choices don’t include cooking the Kung Pao Chicken, for example, without chicken or peanuts.

Fast Casual Displays are typically purchased from a local exhibit professional, although they can be ordered online. These displays offer more accessory options such as shelves, monitor mounts, lightboxes, etc. There’s usually a conversation or consultation between the buyer and seller about their specific trade show product or marketing needs. Packaging is better. Quality is better. And while they are often based on pre-configured “kits,” those kits can be re-configured within limits. Click here for examples.

Casual Dining

Casual dining restaurants offer a wider menu selection, table service, and a family friendly environment. Servers/waiters offer advice, take orders, and serve food. The prices are higher than at fast casual but more affordable than fine dining restaurants. Some are chains like Applebee’s or Cheesecake Factory but also include local establishments with either highly specialized menus or a broad range of cuisine.

Most corporate exhibitors who participate in industry-specific trade shows fit into this category. They work with local or regional exhibit designer/builders to design a system solution or a customized exhibit. As exhibitors, they want an exhibit that reinforces their brand, presents a professional appearance, and adapts to their trade show marketing program without breaking their budget.  More often than not, they are receptive to custom rental solutions if the design offers more flexibility and visual impact, but at a cost lower than purchasing an exhibit. They appreciate selection, value, service, and welcome guidance from a knowledgeable exhibit marketing professional. The experience is almost always consultative if the exhibitor doesn’t have an extensive exhibit marketing program. Click here for examples.

Fine Dining

Fine-dining restaurants come with the most elaborate menus and expensive prices. Owners of fine-dining restaurants want to present an atmosphere of elegance and grace. They employ chefs who attended culinary schools and possess many years of experience.

Fine Dining exhibits, like fine dining restaurants, are equal parts atmosphere, presentation, quality, and experience. They are almost always memorable, and their size and creativity can be a magnet for attendees throughout the show hall. Most are pure custom, both in design and construction, although subtle and effective modular construction has become more common.

These exhibits are more likely to include LED Video Walls or A/R. We often associate Fine Dining Exhibits with larger island exhibits or double-deck structures, but inlines (like 10 x 20 or larger) can project the same elegance and upscale appearance. It’s possible to achieve this level of sophistication without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars but it requires the right exhibit partner and a commitment to all facets of trade show marketing (and not just the display). However, a steady diet of fine dining, just like one of fast food, is rarely healthy or cost-effective for most exhibitor. Click here for examples.  

Hungry for successful trade show results? It all starts with choosing the right display for your marketing goals and budget and working with an exhibit professional committed to your long-term success. And yes, we all love french fries and chocolate milkshakes, but a more balanced diet is always a better choice. And don’t forget to treat yourself from time to time with something extravagant.  

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

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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

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.

NEW Rental/Purchase Price Feature in Exhibit Design Search

August 30th, 2017 COMMENTS

We Heard You. Loud and Clear!

Nearly every day we get the following request, “My client can purchase the VK-1233 for $9208. What would the rental price be?” We’re happy to answer that question…  but wouldn’t it be nice if those prices were in Exhibit Design Search? Yes.

That’s a HUGE project! And we’re up to the challenge, but it will take a little time. Effective on all Exhibit Design Search websites, you can now find 72 kits with both rental and purchase prices. You can see them in Visionary Designs, Islands, SEGUE, eSmart, and the Rental Galleries. Click HERE to see an example.

Another 50 kits will be updated in September. Then we’ll continue adding more each month. Let us know if you have any questions. We are excited about this new EDS update and hope it makes your life a little easier (and more profitable).

EDSNewRentalPricing

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

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

Rental Exhibits and Accessories — Summer Sales Tips #6

July 5th, 2017 COMMENTS

Rentals Exhibit are the Smart Choice

Rental exhibits are the single fastest growing segment of trade shows and events. So what’s driving this? To no one’s surprise, exhibitors are being asked to do more with smaller budgets. In the past, that meant a smaller exhibit or a reduced trade show schedule. Not anymore. Rental designs are more flexible than ever. Exhibitors can now achieve a customized look without purchasing a custom exhibit, depending on the rental exhibit supplier.

Classic Rental Solutions has the largest rental inventory in North America with designs ranging from inlines to islands and from monitor stands to charging stations. All can be personalized to meet the most demanding marketing requirements.

To learn more, download the unbranded PDF version for Rental Exhibits here. To listen to the bonus audio tip, click here.

SummerSalesTip6

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

Top 5 Fallacies of Trade Show Exhibit Rentals

June 23rd, 2017 1 COMMENT

The Five Fallacies of Rental Exhibits

Do you feel like trade shows are a secret religion where you need a high priestess to explain the path to enlightenment? You shouldn’t… but it’s easy to waste a lot of money before you discover trade show nirvana. Take rental displays for example. So many misconceptions, even by trade show professionals.

Probably nothing has changed more in Trade Show Land than exhibit rentals. What used to look like subsidized housing on the show floor is now indistinguishable from purchase exhibits. Well… in most cases. I recently saw this design on a custom house website as a rental option. I kid you not — THIS was the BEST of the six offerings. Sigh.

Ugly Trade Show Rental It’s no wonder there is so much confusion about rental exhibits. Let’s explore The Five Most Common Fallacies about renting an exhibit.

Attendees Will Know It’s a Rental Exhibit

Yes, if you rent the crappy display shown above. Otherwise, no. At any major trade show, 15-20% of the exhibits are rentals. Quality exhibit rental suppliers, like Classic Rental Solutions, have hundreds of rental designs based on successful purchase designs. These include extrusion, modular wall, and custom modular designs from 10 ft. inlines to 40 x 60 islands with large format fabric graphics. Even double-deck displays. In the end, most rental suppliers will personalize the rental for your trade show needs. It may not be a custom exhibit, but it will be attractive, functional, and cost-effective.

Rentals Can’t Be Customized or Personalized

Well that would certainly make our lives easier if it was true. But, it’s not. Everyone wants an exhibit, purchase or rental, that’s tailored to their trade show marketing needs. That’s an expectation. If you are shown 6 examples and told to pick from the list, pretend you are Usain Bolt and sprint to the next exhibit house. If you are told that that purchasing is a better option if you want any customization, then put your track shoes back on. It’s time to sprint… again.

That’s not to say there aren’t limits. And in many cases, it makes sense to purchase some or all of the exhibit. But it’s not either/or. It depends on your supplier’s inventory and manufacturing capability. Some work from an in-house inventory. Others rely on a large rental supplier like Classic Rental Solutions, which supplies rental displays to more than 200 distributors in North America. That volume allows for greater flexibility in design requests and accessory options. Need 30 counters. We got it. Need 25 monitor stands. We have that too.

Trade Show Rental Island Exhibit

It Will Cost Less. It Will Cost More.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, there’s no magic formula when it comes to deciding whether to rent or purchase. In general, renting is less expensive, particularly if you reuse the graphics for multiple shows, but that’s the same for an exhibit purchase. Because marketing is always a moving target, graphics will always change over time. On the other hand, if you make “sprockets,” which never change, and plan to keep the same structure and graphics for several years, then it would be smarter to purchase your display.

You decided to purchase the exhibit. Now you (or someone else) has to store the exhibit. And pack and prep it for each show. That’s a cost that’s often ignored during the design phase. Are you a company that wants the flexibility to change the exhibit design, size, or accessories depending on the show or your budget? Then renting makes  more sense. Or consider purchasing the core structure, but renting the kiosks, counters, monitor stands, charging stations, etc. giving you greater flexibility from show to show.

My Show is in Chicago. Should I Rent the Exhibit in Chicago?

Perhaps. Is your show always in Chicago? Do you only go to shows in Chicago? Are you based in Chicago? Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter. Work with the exhibit house that fits you like a glove. It’s not about location. It’s about relationships and success. You have shows all over North America. Does it really matter where the rental exhibit ships from? Honestly, it has to ship from somewhere. If your exhibit partner is truly a partner, they will work with you on the design and your trade show marketing goals, and ensure your exhibit ships as economically as possible.

Trade Show Inline Rental Exhibits

Do I Have to Rent from the General Show Contractor (GSC)?

The displays from a GSC can be cost-effective, which might make sense for a first-time exhibitor testing the water. However most GSCs have a limited rental inventory and mostly basic designs, although there are exceptions. That said… a GSC is focused on that show. What happens at the next show with a different GSC in a different city with different design offerings?

Exhibitors who view trade shows as an investment do not differentiate between a rental or a purchase. It’s all about creating the best possible ROI for the company. That means working with a partner who understands your company and your goals, someone invested in your success over the long-term, not just for one show. That might seem obvious, but exhibit rentals are often seen as a “Hail Mary!” just to meet a limited budget. A partner will ensure your rental is not a compromise.

Still a bit confused? Renting an exhibit is not for everyone, just like leasing a car isn’t for everyone. However, it’s wise to know your options, particularly since rental designs are much more flexible and attractive than ever before. There’s no longer a stigma associated with a well-designed rental exhibit, and most rental exhibitors are primarily interested in flexibility, both in structure and cost. It’s a worthwhile conversation to have with your exhibit partner, regardless of what you decide.

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

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