Your Guide to Trade Show Shipping Exhibitor Manual

Exhbitor Manual
Your Guide to Trade Show Shipping Exhibitor Manual

Trade shows are a critical part of business development, presenting great opportunities for networking with other industry professionals and showcasing your products to potential clients and new leads. However, they are often huge events that require a great deal of planning and the organization of many moving parts.

This can make trade shows difficult to navigate and set up for if proper guidance is not provided. Which is exactly where trade show exhibitor manuals come in. In this article, we’ll be looking at what trade show shipping exhibitor manuals are and how they can be used to help with the smooth running of trade shows. 

Read on to find out more!

What is an exhibitor manual?

Essentially, an exhibitor manual is a resource provided by the organisers of a trade show to provide exhibitors with all of the information they need to quickly and seamlessly onboard to the event.

This may be in the form of a physical document or an online platform through which all of the information is available.

What does an exhibitor manual include?

The goal of an exhibitor manual is to provide exhibitors with all of the information they need to attend a trade show prior to the event starting. To this end, exhibitor manuals will contain any and all logistical information required for a smooth set-up of the trade show.

When it comes to shipping specifically, typically there are a number of crucial pieces of information included in the shipping exhibitor manual. These might include:

  • Shipping dates 
  • Shipping addresses for the advance warehouse and direct-to-show shipping
  • Target move-in dates
  • Shipping label information
  • Material handling details
  • Target move-out dates 

There may be other information included but any good exhibitor manual should include the above information as a minimum. Let’s look at these sections in a bit more detail so you know exactly what to expect and what to look for when accessing your next trade show shipping exhibitor manual.

How do I find my trade show’s exhibitor manual?

Trade show exhibitors can typically access their exhibitor manuals through the trade show's official website or the website of the show decorator. For instance, if you're preparing for Process Expo 2023, you can find the exhibitor manual on the "Exhibition Information" page within your Exhibitor Dashboard, often linked there.

If you happen to know the name of your show decorator, examples of which include Freeman, GES, and Shepard, you can easily locate your show's exhibitor manual by searching for your specific show in their show directory. Here are the links to the show directories for these major show decorators:

- Freeman: Freeman Show Directory

- GES: GES Show Directory

- Shepard: Shepard Show Directory

This resourceful approach ensures you have swift access to your exhibitor manual, facilitating a smoother and more organized trade show experience.

Trade show shipping move-in

This section of the exhibitor manual will include details about the move-in for the trade show. This may be direct-to-show (shipping directly to the trade show venue) or utilizing an advance warehouse (shipping to a secondary location prior to the show where your shipments will be stored).

In either case, the exhibitor manual will provide the shipping address for the chosen location, the target dates, and any other additional shipping information you may require.

Shipping labels

Without the correct information to put on your shipping labels, there is no way to guarantee that your shipments with reach their intended destination. Any good exhibitor manual will contain everything you need to put on your shipping labels to ensure a smooth delivery.

As with the above, this will include the dates that the venue is receiving shipments, the exact address to ship to, and any other information required for delivery.

Material handling details

Once you've sorted out the shipping to your trade show venue, the next step is getting your materials from either the advance warehouse or the receiving area to the show floor, a process known as material handling or drayage, handled by the show decorator.

The exhibitor manual typically outlines the show's material handling fees, often presented in hundredth weight (CWT). For instance, if you shipped a 400lb crate directly to Process Expo 2023, the material handling charges would be $116 per CWT, resulting in total material handling charges of $464 (4 x $116).

Material Handling Pro Tip:

Shipping to the advance warehouse usually incurs higher material handling charges due to the added handling and storage of your exhibition materials. For Process Expo 2023, material handling fees for shipments to the advance warehouse are $138.25 per CWT, which is nearly 20% more expensive than direct-to-show material handling.

Furthermore, show decorators may apply higher material handling fees for uncrated shipments or those requiring special unloading, essentially any factors that may disrupt the trade show venue's efficiency can lead to increased charges.

Trade show shipping move-out

Getting your shipments to the trade show is only the first half of the equation — you also need to pick up and remove everything after the event is finished.

The exhibitor manual will provide you with this information too. Under this section, you should find the dates that shipments can be collected, the address for collection (note: this may be different from the delivery address), and any additional information to assist with easy collection and shipping.

Hopefully, this has given you a better understanding of exactly what trade show shipping exhibitor manuals are and what information you can expect to find contained within. With this guide and the exhibitor manual in your back pocket, your next trade show is sure to be a breeze!

If you’re looking for a shipping partner for your trade show, get in touch with DTS today for a free quote! 

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