With expo season already upon us, it is now time to start thinking about your stand. There are many components to think about when designing and manning a stand. First thing first, you need to think about how much space you want and of course whether that fits your budget. Once this is signed off the fun starts as you get to flex your creative wings and put your creative brains to the test.
There are many ways to cover a stand and its back perimeter, from pop-up banners of all shapes and sizes to full-blown installations involving fridges, back bars, shelving, and lighting. We find wooden crates and artificial plants are a great way to fill a space as is the odd bit of antique furniture or any other suitable prop.
Once the stage is set, it is now time to think about the serves (and ultimately image) you want to present to the show visitors. These serves must fit within each venue's rules (they do vary but the standard rule seems to be 10ml alcohol or 50ml cocktail serve). And of course, with the demise of plastic and the ever-present plastic sample glass is a massive issue. Fortunately, most shows tend to use bioplastic or compostable cups, however, the key is not to panic and order too many sample cups. Equally, it is wise not to run out as purchasing at the show can be expensive.
Whatever the serve is you need a bar to serve it from. We have been working off a bar system called Portabar. For a long time (my first event working on them was back in 2004) these have been the stalwart of the mobile bar scene here in the UK due to their flexibility in installation and configuration. At Mixology Group we are lucky to have a range of Portabar’s which can be put into a myriad of different setups from a very portable 1.3 meter bar which includes an insulated ice well all the way up to the octagon-shaped bar with 3 bar stations. Additionally, these can then be clad with whatever finish you need or branded with your own logo. We are excited to announce that this year we have wooden and mirror effect cladding options. As well as the traditional branding via large vinyl or transfers.
In addition to bars don’t forget you need to think about ways of keeping things cool or very cold. Budget dependant either look at hiring a small fridge/ freezer from the venue or bring your own in. if the budget doesn’t stretch that far (as often provision of electric hookups can be extra) look to bring in some cool boxes. We have been using the Igloo range for a while now and large the large format and option for a wheeled version too. This can make a massive difference especially if the venue is very large.
So, all boxes have been ticked. The merchandise is out, your best suit is on and of course that game face and winning smile. Now it is time to welcome the attendees. Do remember to pack lots of business cards and a way to capture the information of the people visiting your stand. This can be as simple as a clipboard to write notes on or in fancier shows you get the barcode scanner allowing you to scan everyone you speak to.
On a personal note, I have always found it very useful to pack multiple pairs of shoes allowing you to change your shoes every day. Some of these shows can be lengthy and can be torturous on your feet so by changing your shoes you allow your feet to have a bit of a change of scenery. This alongside wearing comfortable and breathable clothing is a must. Some venues have glass roofs which can turn the inside of the venue into a glasshouse or alternatively the aircon is viscously cold.
All in all trade shows are an excellent way to get your brand and message out in front of people. However, you must be prepared to speak to anyone and everyone as this year's students could be next year's restaurant managers or even supermarket buyers.