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Posts Tagged ‘show services’

The NAB Show Listens to Exhibitors | Introduces an Updated Show Service Pricing Model

October 31st, 2018 1 COMMENT

NAB Show Show Services

Recently, The Trade Show News Network published, NAB Show Eases Exhibitor Pain Points with NAB Show Cares by Lisa Plummer Savas. I encourage you to read the full article which includes the background story about why the NAB Show decided to research and implement updated show services. Let’s review those changes because they are a huge step in the right direction for our industry.

The NAB Show and Freeman deserve credit for offering exhibitors greater predictability and transparency on charges, which we hope will be embraced (in some form) by other show organizers and contractors. 

I’ll quote liberally from the article, which is detailed and well-written.

The Changes

Unlimited Material Handling

The Unlimited Material Handling Initiative reduces fees for moving freight from dock to booth and back via a fixed rate per square foot that covers any or all items an exhibitor brings into the show regardless of quantity, weight or volume. Instead of receiving an invoice for material handling after the show, exhibitors simply pay for the service up front when they purchase their booth space. 

While this initiative doesn’t benefit everyone, like smaller exhibitors who didn’t use the service previously, it did result in 40% and up reduction for larger exhibitors. And while the savings are welcome, exhibitors benefit more from the predictability and prepaying that expense before the show. Whatever financial shock happens, it doesn’t happen during the show on someone’s credit card. According to Christy Ricketts, vice president of operations and marketing for Contemporary Research, “This program is a welcome change because it encourages all exhibitors to bring more items into the show to enhance their booth space.” 

My Take:  There’s no greater pain point than drayage for exhibitors because it is unpredictable, often arbitrary (i.e. special handling), and expensive. Eliminating two of the three is encouraging. Hopefully, GSC’s won’t go in search of other hidden fees to offset revenue but will adjust the upfront fee to find a financial balance for all parties. 


The next service exhibitors had expressed the most frustration with was electrical pricing and what exhibitors called “hidden costs,” aka, charges for extension cords, materials and labor. Not only did exhibitors find these expenses difficult to budget for but also to review and audit on post-show invoices.

In response, NAB Show Cares unveiled No Surprise Electrical Outlet Pricing, which offers the outlet, materials and floor work labor for one price. 

This change means the price of an outlet will include the materials and floor work labor associated with the installation and removal of that outlet. 

My Take:  See the link above for pricing comparisons. Yes, it benefits the smaller exhibitor, but those savings may not be realized by larger exhibitors, especially those who are “on their game.” The predictability is a bonus along with the inclusion of materials, but only time will tell if the pricing menu is fair to all parties. 

Rigging Services

A big pain point for exhibitors was not so much the expense of rigging crews to hang truss and lights but more the added costs of rigging supplies… The Inclusive Rigging Pricing addresses this problem by including rigging supplies with the rigging crew rate, which will now make it easier for exhibitors to review invoices and budget for such a major show expense. Additionally, NAB Show has always offered a rigging/hanging sign crew for a single blended rate with no additional overtime charges.  Exhibitor reaction to this rate structure has been very positive, so it will remain in place.

According to the NAB Show, Rigging & Hanging Signs represent 20% of the NAB Exhibitors’ overall collective spend on show services – even though just 400 out of 1800 exhibitors use the service. 

My Take: This seems like a logical extension of the electrical changes. Technically, it’s a price reduction since it now includes rigging supplies, which may reduce those situations where the riggers “reject” the cabling and other hardware provided by the manufacturer. That’s not to say some hardware shouldn’t be replaced since it doesn’t meet basic safety requirements, but there’s always been a suspicion that hardware gets rejected simply to add to the final bill, particularly when the hardware has been used successfully at other facilities.  


Could the NAB Show Cares model mark the beginning of an industry-wide trend? According to BJ Enright, president and CEO of Tradeshow Logic, “I hope that exhibitors and show organizers really look at, talk about and figure out what’s right for their show and what needs to be changed (and) while what we’re doing for NAB may not work for every show, there are solutions that can be developed and customized for every event.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

–Mel White


Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. 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

Word on the Street — August 16th thru August 20th

August 22nd, 2010 1 COMMENT
Why we participate in the TS2 Show

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Perception vs. Reality

One of my best friends travels quite a bit for his job. We often joke about who travels more, but he has me beat by quite a distance.

Approximately 30-32 weeks a year, he’s on the road, and most of his travel is to Events, Conferences, and Trade Shows. These can range from a small regional show in Alaska where he has a table top display to the industry hardware show in Chicago where he has a 20′ x 50′ island exhibit.

He asked to meet this week to talk about their up and coming trade show program and to get some advice. They go to over 35 events or shows a year.

Without identifying the company, they are the nation’s largest provider of products in their market, selling to retailers like Wal-mart, Kroger, and Target, as well as most local and regional grocery chains.

Over the past two years, their ROI has dropped significantly; yet, their sales have continued to increase. They analyzed the problem and determined that the ROI shrinkage was directly related to increases in their event/show costs. In particular, costs associated with labor, show services, and drayage.

As he puts it, “We are at the point where we must decide between continuing to participate in large shows or hold private regional events in four or five cities a year. At the regional events, we would bring our customers in and show them our products and services.”

The numbers are staggering. Their sales have increased on average of 15 percent each year since 2008; yet it isn’t keeping pace with increases in their drayage, labor, and show services expenses.

And it was stunning to see the costs related to certain venues when compared side by side. For example, they compared a large show in Chicago vs. the same show in Orlando. Trust me I know the obvious reasons why some costs were lower, but overall the show services, labor, and drayage costs were 23 percent less in Orlando. And like all exhibitors, they do not determine the venue, so they have to decide whether to attend the show in Chicago.

He asked me my opinion about switching to large, privately-hosted, regional events. I have to be honest. I found myself recommending that they do just that. It gives them the same (if not better access to their clients), and they don’t have to deal with competitors.

Now, if you’re thinking,  “What about the perception of them not being at the shows?” I agree, there is a risk there, but for some companies, such as those with a large foothold or who are the market leader, not participating may not matter.

I know certain cities and venues are trying to “fix” the costs associated with attending shows, but do they realize how much needs to be fixed? There is a perception that trade shows are too expensive, and that perception, even as the industry makes changes, will continue to linger.

How can we go about changing that perception as large cities and venues work on the reality?

Please share you comments and stories. Be well!

–Kevin Carty