Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Rental Exhibits’

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.

Who is Classic’s Biggest Competitor?

June 15th, 2017 4 COMMENTS

Who is Classic's Biggest Competitor?

Recently, I’ve been on the road, visiting Classic Distributors in the Midwest and South. We chat about industry trends, new products, and challenges in their market. Occasionally, they will ask me about competitors. That’s a topic that always makes me uncomfortable.

Now, why should talking about competitors be uncomfortable? Handled professionally, it can be instructive for both of us, and I am just as guilty of asking a distributor, “What are you hearing in the industry?”

Nevertheless, “Who is Your Biggest Competitor?” always makes me squirm. You would expect me to list a handful of systems manufacturers or internet resellers, but while they are competitors, they are not our biggest competitor. So, who is?

Our Biggest Competitor

You. You are our biggest competitor. Now don’t take that the wrong way. You are also our customers, colleagues, and friends. We like you. We respect you. Our business depends on you. We are honored to have you as part of the Classic Exhibits Family. And, yet, you are also our biggest competitor — day in and day out. That shouldn’t surprise you. If it does, it shouldn’t.

Every single day you listen to clients about their projects. Then you make a decision about who designs, manages, and builds that project. You? Another builder? Classic Exhibits? Let’s explore some examples together.

CustomBlogpostHeader

Custom Exhibits

Do you design and build it, assuming you have in-house custom capability? What’s the budget? What are the client’s expectations? Will it interfere with other projects or customers currently in the pipeline?

  • Will it keep my shop busy and/or happy?
  • Is the client’s budget realistic for our shop rate?
  • Can I make margin?
  • Is it within our skill-set or would it make more sense for someone else to build it?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Assuming you don’t have in-house capability, do you find a contract builder?

  • Do I have the in-house talent to project manage it?
  • Should I find someone local?
  • Do I trust that shop and do they have experience?
  • What if the client expects me to store the exhibit and prep it for each show?
  • Should I send it to Classic Exhibits for a quote?

Hybrid Exhibits

Aluminum extrusion systems seem, at first glance, an easier decision. What’s so challenging about designing and building a display from modular aluminum components. After all, it only requires:

  • Designing a hybrid solution using standard and customized engineered aluminum components
  • Ordering those components from an aluminum supplier at the correct size(s), angles, and finishes
  • Supplementing them with accessories from other manufacturers such as counters, lighting, graphics, and casing
  • Creating detailed setup instructions and numbered components
  • Creating re-usable packaging that protects the components
  • Completing all above within a 10-15 day time frame
  • Ensuring margins are acceptable, including time and materials and lost opportunities

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Specialized Displays

Specialized displays include lightboxes, charging stations, retail fixtures, corporate environments, or anything outside your normal trade show or event world.

  • What is the client’s expectation of quality?
  • Is the budget realistic?
  • Is the time frame realistic?
  • Should you design, project management, and build it?
  • Do you have the capability to handle the project?
  • If not, what company has the inventory, technology, and capability to produce it?
  • Should it be handled locally or online?
  • Can you make margin, complete the order on time, and continue to pursue other opportunities?

blogheaderRentals

Rental Displays

The growth of rentals, especially customized rentals, has created a dilemma for many Classic Distributors. Building a rental inventory takes financial capital, warehouse space, and a steady order turn to be successful. And yet, rentals can be very profitable assuming there’s sufficient turn on your inventory and minimal damage.

  • Do you pull from your inventory, add to your inventory, send it to Classic, or send it somewhere else?
  • Do you have the physical space to warehouse a rental inventory?
  • How deep should that inventory be?
  • Are your designs limited by your in-house inventory?
  • What if the client requires multiple quantities of counters, monitor stands, or kiosks?
  • Do you have the time/talent to create detailed setup instructions for each project?
  • Does geography or the show location determine whether to use your rental inventory or rely on a supplier like Classic?
  • Are you accounting for the labor to design, build, pack, receive, and clean the rental? What about damage?

You get my point. If there was a way to measure lost opportunities for Classic, I suspect that we lose more business when you choose to build or rent something in-house than when the order is sent to another manufacturer. At Classic Exhibits, our job is to excel in design, customer service, production, packaging, instructions, and even marketing so you choose the easiest and most profitable path for your company. We have to win your approval, day after day. And that’s our goal since we don’t sell direct.

So, to you our competitor and our customer, while we don’t win them all, we win far more than we lose when we have the opportunity. All we ask is that we get the opportunity.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
https://twitter.com/melmwhite
https://www.facebook.com/Classic-Exhibits-Inc-113601405319757