This article was originally posted in September 2009, and is now back by popular demand as the fall trade show season kicks into high gear!
System Stand or:
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Booth
You know as surely as the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano every spring and the Chicago Cubs don't make it to the World Series in the fall (sigh), a common discussion that arises every year has to do with a company's approach to its booth setup options at our trade shows in Düsseldorf.
The space has been reserved, flights have been booked, and hotels have been selected. Now it's time to start thinking about how you'd like to present your company's public face at the show.
So you say you have a nifty pop-up display that unfolds out a plastic case? That's a good start. Just need some carpet and maybe an information counter and a bar stool or two to complete the ensemble, right? Looks just fine at the U.S. trade shows, why not in Düsseldorf?
You might want to think twice.
After all, you've made this huge investment to participate at this European trade show, and you want to make sure that you put your best foot forward. But in reality what looks fine against a backdrop of pipe and drape in the U.S. might in reality stand out for entirely different reasons at a German trade show.
In a nutshell: Europeans don't do "pop-up" like companies from North America do. Hence, you don't see much of it over there. In fact, the European approach to exhibiting trends more elaborate and more formal than here. The prevalent view is that the booth is by virtue and extension of the company - the place of business for the week, conducted in as formal a business setting as the show floor permits.
That said, the generally accepted minimum standard of booth design is that referred to by Messe Düsseldorf as a "system stand". Priced by the square meter, these elemental stands consist of panel walls, carpet, table and chairs, company sign above the booth, spot lights and an electrical outlet. This simple concept allows the exhibitor to save on shipping costs (keep the pop-up at home and just send over some graphics) and still decorate and setup shop as you like.
And if you really, really dig your pop-up stand and still want to use it, by all means send it on over and set it up within the confines of your system stand!
Messe Düsseldorf North America can advise you on your booth options and prevailing trends in booth design. Let us know how we can assist you in making your participation at one of our shows the best it can be!