Trade Show Preparation Checklist

Trade Show Preparation Checklist – 12 weeks

This series of articles is called “Trade Show Preparation Checklist” and helps you, week after week, to prepare the most important aspects of your booth setup and event organization. We will review everything from booth decoration, promotion, samples, logistics, travel, staff training to leads management. Access your checklist week by week here.

What should I prepare 12 weeks before my event?

There are still 3 months left before the show opens and still so much to do! This week we will focus on logistics – not the funniest part but it can easily become very heavy on your budget (and your nerves!) if poorly handled, so pay attention.

Difference between air and surface

When you are talking about shipment, you usually have 2 options – air and surface.

Depending on where you are and where your shipment should go, duration vary. Nevertheless, in average, a shipment done by air could arrive within 7 days and as fast as next day.
Surface, on the other hand usually takes between 30 and 60 days, based on your destination.

So why choosing surface over air shipment? For price reasons! An air shipment can easily go as high as ten times the price of surface delivery.
Luckily for you, your event starts in 12 weeks (84 days) so you have plenty of time to ship by surface! Take advantage of it to respect your budget.

Going through customs

Here also, depending on where you are and where you go, things might be easy or get tricky. The type of items you ship also have a huge impact on whether your goods will be blocked at the customs.

Check carefully regulations of the country you enter and make sure not to ship any prohibited item. Fill in the shipment form carefully and truthfully: if your carton is inspected by a custom officer and its content does not correspond to the form, your goods won’t go through and you might have to pay some major penalty to get your goods back!

Luckily for you, you’ve chosen surface shipment. This means that if things go wrong and your parcel gets lost (it happens!), you will still have time to send again by air this time.

Tracking is caring

Cutting corners to save money often is a valid strategy. Not here.

Don’t reject tracking for the sake of saving a few bucks. Track your parcel and check its status every second day to see if everything goes as planned. If not, you will find out quickly and be able to react accordingly.

Ensuring reception

Do you know who will receive your goods? Do you have a partner, a warehouse or an agent to receive it on your behalf?

Some venues accept to hold your goods for a few weeks prior to the show, check if yours does, it might save you some troubles.

Inform the person supposed to receive your parcel – you don’t want him to reject reception because he wasn’t properly informed!
Also, get his personal details to add them on the shipment form and ensure smooth delivery.

Coming back?

Remember that sooner or later the show will be over. What then?

Except if you plan on trashing everything on your last day, chances are that you will need to ship things back. Plan for it immediately as you can be sure there will be some extra charges involved on the event floor! Not mentioning people queuing up in front of the shipment desk.

Save yourself some pain and plan it all this week!


We wish you the best for your exhibition!

The Exhibitor.

Trade Show Preparation Checklist – 12 weeks
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