Shipping to Winter Trade Shows: The Most Cost Effective Way to Ship to a Show in Winter

Shipping to Winter Trade Shows: The Most Cost Effective Way to Ship to a Show in Winter

If you’re in a part of the US experiencing “proper” winter weather right now, you’re probably looking forward to your industry’s trade show that’ll be taking place in a warmer area.  California, Las Vegas, and Florida are all popular destinations for winter trade shows (or trade shows any time of year, really).

Even if you’re in a state that’s relatively close to the trade show destination, you’ll still have to consider many of the same winter shipping precautions that our cold-weather friends are already planning for.

Not sure why winter weather in Tennessee matters to your shipments heading to Florida?  We talk in more detail about why winter weather in some parts of the US can have a significant impact on shipping all over the country in this blog.

When do you need to ship your trade show freight?

One of the first considerations you should have for winter shipments is whether or not an advance warehouse is available for the trade show.  If one is available, it can be a worthwhile savings over shipping directly to the show floor.  With winter weather being predictably unpredictable, shipping to the advance warehouse guarantees that the pallets and shipments for your booth will be waiting for you when you arrive at the convention center.

Consider that option over the alternative: being one of fifty shipments, all arriving at the convention center, all on the same day.  You end up having to wait at your booth, sometimes for hours, while the truck bringing your shipment waits its turn to get to the loading dock.

And what happens if something is missing?  If you’ve already waited hours for your shipment to be delivered, chances are by the time you discover what’s missing or didn’t arrive, it’s too late to call and find out what happened.  Or, if you can find out what happened to it, it’s usually too late to get the missing shipment to your booth in time to be set up for the show to start.

On the other hand, if you know the venue, and know the routine for that expo, you may feel comfortable enough with how the trade show proceeds to ship directly to the show floor.  If that’s the case, then there’s no reason not to ship that way, especially if you have some last-minute supplies or repairs to your booth setup that you need to make.

You just need to make sure you’re aware of the cut-off dates for each type of shipping.  Advance warehouse shipping is often two to three weeks, or more, ahead of the actual show date.  Direct to the show floor can be as close to the show date as a matter of days – it all depends on how far your shipment is from the show.

Preparing your shipment for, well, being shipped

Some of the best ways to ensure your shipment arrives when and where it should is, simply, to prepare properly.

Before you start packing for the show, you need to prep the containers you’ll be using for shipping there.  Remove any old shipping labels on every package.  This isn’t just to keep it tidy, it’s to prevent any mix-ups during transit.   You may think it’ll look obvious which labels they need to scan or which address is the most recent, but to the carrier, it won’t be all that obvious.

You also need to check your boxes and crates for wear and tear.  Nothing lasts forever, and the packaging you use to ship your booth and supplies is no exception.  The entire point of that packaging is to protect the materials you’re shipping, so make sure that it’s in good shape to do so for the entire journey.

In winter, there’s the additional need to be sure that your materials can tolerate extreme cold.  If you’re shipping dry goods, they may be fine with extreme cold – but what about if it’s raining or snowing while the packages are being transferred between trucks?  That’s why it’s so important to check your packaging materials to be sure they’re in good condition.

If you’re going to a show with food, such as the Winter Fancy Food Show, or the International Pizza Expo, even though these are taking place in warmer climates, your shipment might travel through colder climates.  Depending on what perishable goods you’re shipping, you may need a fully climate-controlled truck, not just one with heat.

Additionally, if only part of your shipment needs to be climate-controlled, you can find room in your budget by shipping those pieces in less than truckload (LTL) shipments.

That’s where an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) provider can be a major help when planning how to ship to your next trade show.  Not sure what to ship which way?  A company like Diversified Transportation Services, with decades of experience with logistics, can help you navigate the shipping process to find the most cost-effective way to get to the show.

A tip from the professionals:

When packing up your booth, use crates or cartons that stand out on the show floor.  This makes it easy to see your shipment and makes it harder for your packages to be misplaced.

With distinctive packaging, even if your booth’s shipment ends up in the wrong spot, you can easily spot what belongs to your business.

Not sure what else you should keep in mind when shipping your booth via freight in winter?

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