||Well, here we are – December already. I don’t know about you, but the past year has disappeared faster than anticipated. And I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet. I think a heretofore snowless Chicago has made it feel like an extended autumn…at least that’s what that bowl of still uneaten Halloween candy sitting on top of the refrigerator makes me think.
Overall, it was a busy year for us at Messe Duesseldorf. Several of our industry-leading events were held in Germany this year: boot Düsseldorf, EuroShop, interpack, GIFA-METEC-THERMPROCESS-NEWCAST, MEDICA, COMPAMED … and drupa and wire / Tube are just around the corner in 2012.
|These events of the past year have made me reflect about a combination of commonly asked questions and exhibitor pitfalls I’ve observed. I’ve boiled them down to the Top 10 - hopefully without offense to David Letterman and Worldwide Pants!
Cue the drum roll...
# 10 European electricity is supplied at 220/230 V. In the U.S. we operate at 110/120 V. So if you plug in your own stuff without a step-down transformer, don’t be surprised if it reacts like a sparkler on the Fourth of July.
# 9 Entrance passes / name badges for our shows in Germany are not linked to a lead retrieval system, at least not yet anyway. They’re used primarily for entry to the fairgrounds, secondly as a means of identification, and thirdly…
# 8 Entrance passes / name badges are also tickets to ride the public transportation network. Some shows’ tickets are only valid within the city of Duesseldorf (VRR), other shows are valid beyond the city’s borders (VRS). But make sure in advance that you know which zones are covered for your specific show in order to avoid an awkward very public discussion with a German conductor in front of a train car full people.
# 7 Yes, there’s wireless internet access at the fairgrounds, and we have a highly-rated official supplier. However I’ve learned anecdotally that there are other reputable German wireless companies who provide competitive service (and sometimes temporary trial offers) that can be booked online. I’m just sayin’, that’s all.
# 6 Europeans don’t do “Pop-Up” display stands like we do at shows in the U.S. If you plan to ship your Pop-Up to the show, you should still plan to order a modular system stand package (walls, carpet, electricity, basic furnishings) and then assemble the pop-up within the booth. Remember, system stands in Germany are customary – without one you’ll probably stand out for the wrong reasons.
# 5 Bring ALL of your documentation and order confirmations with you to the show! Nothing says wild goose chase more than not knowing which service provider is building your booth, supplying your booth furnishings, or which freight forwarding company was used to send your freight to Duesseldorf.
# 4 Make sure your bills are paid in full before you head over to Germany and avoid the walk of shame to the cashier counter in the service center because your electricity hasn’t been turned on. Messe Düsseldorf North America is here to assist you in deciphering your invoices and to make sure that nothing falls thru the cracks. And don’t be alarmed, we’ll be happy to remind you in good time before the show starts of any open balances!
# 3 Listings in the show’s catalogue are not necessarily free. Unlike trade shows in the U.S., most of our events in Germany allow you to only have an alphabetical listing in the show catalogue and single index listing at the back of the directory. Anything else you usually have to pay for – that’s just how the catalogue’s publisher rolls.
|# 2 Social media has come into increased prominence especially within the past year. Acquaint yourself with the available technologies – and know the show’s Twitter handle. Promote your company before, during, and after the show. Take advantage in advance of the promotional exhibitor materials. Face it – this is the way things are going and just sitting in your booth hoping everyone will just come to visit is probably not going to cut the mustard, unless Jennifer Aniston is sitting there with you for some reason.
Gratuitous picture of TV & Film Star, Jennifer Aniston.
#1 Pay attention to deadlines! We know that all this registration and ordering is essentially an administrative task, easily pushed to the back burner. But missing a deadline can mean the difference between getting or not getting a booth in a show, or having to pay a surcharge for a booth order.
Sometimes things at trade shows can go awry for any number of reasons, but always keep in mind that our number one priority is to make sure that you get the assistance that you need as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to make sure that the pieces are put in place so that you have the best trade show possible! Remember, we’re here to help!
Enjoy the holidays!