Your Exhibit Inspection Guide

The New Year often symbolizes new beginnings and a fresh look at the future. When strategizing your new marketing initiatives, think about how your brand is seen by the world. One way your audience will see your brand is in your trade show booth. The condition of an exhibit and its graphics can say a lot about a company, so take some time to set up and inspect your trade show material before your first show, especially if you haven’t brought it out in two years.

Not sure where to start? Use this guide to walk you through the process or let us, the display professionals, inspect the display for you. We have experience working with all kinds of displays and know what repairs will need to be made.

  • Allow yourself enough time before the next trade show, usually about a month, to thoroughly inspect the display in case repairs are necessary. This will help you avoid rush charges to fix it at the last minute.

  • If you decide to go through the materials yourself, have a notebook and pen handy. First, list everything that you expect to check.

  • Look over all of your shipping cases and totes. If you have a rolling case, make sure that all of the wheels are intact. Check the locks and make sure that they fasten tightly. Are there any cracks in the case? Are all the old shipping labels removed?

  • Assemble the display as if you were at a show. This is the best way to tell if something is missing, broken, or damaged.

  • Check the hardware for any damage. Probe the frame for any broken parts, loose hinges or screws, dents, scuff marks, and other signs of wear.

  • Inspect graphics thoroughly for any damage, such as deep creases, staining, or scuff marks. In most cases, graphics can be cleaned fairly easily. Make sure to check the integrity of how the graphics attach and any hardware that may be attached to them. If you have fabric graphics, make sure to inspect the seams and hemlines.

  • Evaluate your graphics and decide if they need to be updated. Are they severely damaged? Do they match your current branding? Is the text outdated? Has your product line changed since the graphics were produced? Will the images still look exciting and contemporary to attendees on the show floor?

  • Plug in any lights to make sure that they work.

  • Check all accessories (chairs, literature stands, tablet stands, table cloths) that travel with the exhibit for possible damage.

  • Take some time to reflect on your last trade show season. Identify what went well and what could be improved upon. While this may or may not lead to changes with the display itself, it will help you plan your trade show strategy for the coming season.

Inspecting and examining your trade show display as a part of your yearly activities will enable you to be better prepared for the next trade show season.

Adapted from “The Year-End Trade Show Booth Tune Up Guide” by Lisa Shackleford

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