The global trade show schedule is jam-packed with show after show displaying wide varieties of goods and services. The international market has so much to offer, from the World Organic Trade Fair in Nuremberg to the Micam Shoe Event in Milan.
And so do you.
Bringing an international show stateside is not only conceivable, it’s worth the effort. However, it will require you to adopt new ways of doing things.
So you don’t get lost in translation, here is a brief overview of what you should be conscious of when planning your European show.
Lès Details (The Details)
When it comes to space planning you have a choice to design your floor space like they do in Europe or stick with U.S. measurements.
It’s said that when in Rome to do as they do. We aren’t in Rome, but I say do as they do anyways.
It might create a little more effort on your part, but it would be easier for your exhibitors to do what they are accustomed to. According to European standards:
- Booths are measured in meters, not in feet, like the U.S.
- Space is sold in cubic meters (10x10x10).
- Walls are of a solid construction, whereas the U.S. is typically pipe and drape.
- The Europeans are accustomed to building their own booths on site, whereas we like to contract our work. Provide them with the tools they will need to construct for construction.
Because the show is on U.S. soil you will need to adhere to IAEE regulations for displays.
Visibility of surrounding vendors must be maintained; international exhibitors will need to take this (and other rules) into account when designing their booths.
Andere Űberlegungan (Other Considerations)
Learning all the different customs and cultural practices can be overwhelming. Just do your best to be accommodating. This means learning the differences beforehand, as well as learning as you go. Keep the following in mind when you are making plans:
- Different priorities and customs will influence the structure of the show schedule. The work/life balance in Europe tends to be more relaxed. Many are accustomed to long lunch breaks or taking breaks throughout the day.
- Many of your foreign exhibitors will want to pay in cash. For peace of mind, provide lockboxes and extra security for those that are cash heavy.
- To help ease language barriers, use a translation service that will help exhibitors communicate. Use this service during the pre-planning stages and during the event. It will help everyone to have a better experience.
- While some exhibitors may want to embrace all aspects of their host country like eating American fare, such as hot dogs and sandwiches, it’s best to provide a wide range of choices to satisfy dietary and religious needs. This can include kosher, Indian, vegetarian and vegan.
- It’s important that you show respect for any possible religious holidays (celebrations) that could conflict with event times. Some may have to abstain from working certain hours or days. Make sure you aren’t planning an event that will bring large crowds when there will be a low exhibitor representation.
- Use an international shipping service. This will help you sort through customs, guidelines, and timelines.
- Plan adequate and appropriate hotel accommodations for your guests. Some countries have different expectations.
- Do your homework beforehand and be conscientious of travel bans.
Konrad Adenauer poignantly observed that “we all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”
Broaden your horizons and embark on a show that will open your eyes to new perspectives and partnerships that will bless you for years to come.