Trade Show Talk...Top Terms You Should Know

Every industry has its unique vocabulary specific to its own design. The language of exhibiting is no different. From pick up at your site to arrival at the show, knowing the terminology will enhance not only the quality of your exhibiting, but keep your timing on schedule and your costs in check.

As the first in a three part series, get up to date with the specific language of Trade Show. We've asked BTX Salt Lake City's Ken Allred to take the floor on this (and yes, pun intended)...BTX Tradeshow Services

1. Decorator

Every show has one company that is in charge of the show; this is the Decorator
The Decorator provides the on floor unloading, fork lifting, plumbing, electrical, and all other needs that make a show work. They represent the Exhibit Hall/Convention Center by providing the necessary labor, insurance and equipment that is utilized at the show.

2. Drayage

Warehousing of your exhibit by the Decorator, prior to or between shows is Drayage. The standard in the industry is for a Decorator to provide 30 days of available storage at an average fee of “Ten Percent” greater than your quoted material handling fee. This “Drayage” fee varies based on the city and the show.  

3. Material Handling

The labor, equipment, and process of moving your exhibit from the Dock to the floor and then after the show, from the floor back to the dock is Material Handling

A common misunderstanding is that most people will relate Material Handling, to Drayage. 

These are two separate terms and acts of business. Material Handling is simply the fork lift labor to remove your exhibit from off of our trucks when we come into the dock.

Then at the end of the show, they will reload us again, as they bring your product from the floor back to the docks. 

4. CWT

CWT is “per one hundred pounds”. In the transportation arena, this is the most common language used to accrue fees. Related to exhibiting, your company will be accessed a fee to move your exhibit from the dock to the booth, then from your booth back to the dock at the end of the show. This fee is listed in a dollar amount with the word CWT next to it, and it will be located in the Material Handling section of your show kit. 

For example, you might see a rate of $58.50CWT in your material handling section if you move into the show during normal business hours, and on a weekday. So if you have 500lbs… and you are shipping into the show, you will simply take 5 x $58.50 = $292.50. This will be your cost to relocate the exhibit to and from the docks during the show. This is a one time fee, paid up front via your corporate card, or per cleared company check. 

5. Marshalling

All vehicles must check in and register your exhibit for delivery into, or pickup out of your show. This check‐in area is called the Marshalling Yard. Most cities will utilize a vacant parking lot large enough to hold dozens of semis at a time. On this parking lot the Decorator will have a trailer or small building where the drivers will need to identify themselves, and provide paperwork claiming what booth number, client and show they are delivering, or picking up for. 

As you can see, these terms are all related and are together an integral part of the success of every Trade Show transaction. The more informed exhibitors and the companies who support those individuals are, the more success each show will be for all.  

Still need more?

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Topics: Tradeshow, Blog