Insights From The Experts: Mark Staples

At Jacoby Expo, we value the insight that leading experts in our industry have to offer. That’s why we are excited to announce a feature on our blog we are calling, Insight From The Experts. 

Our guests will be sharing their tips and secrets to success in the trade show world with you!

Learn from the best in the business as they cover a wide range of topics from valuable lessons learned to the future of trade shows. Join us as we glean from their years of experience and knowledge.

Insights Experts Mark Staples









Name: Mark Staples

Title: President

Company: American Exposition Services, Inc.

In business since 1984, American Exposition Services is a national service contractor for the exhibitions, trade show, and face to face marketing community.  Mark Staples has been President of the company since taking over for his father (founder) in late 2001.  Mark attended college at Utah State University earning a degree in Marketing and Economics while playing soccer for USU and participating as an active member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

After their father’s untimely passing in 2002, Mark and his brothers continued the responsibilities and opportunities that came with a family business.  Today, AES services nearly a hundred events per year with the help of a growing staff eager to continue the client forward legacy.

What are three things we wish show managers knew?

(1) Let’s value each other’s time.  I wish show managers could experience the amount of time our team spends planning, strategizing, reviewing and quality controlling the hundreds, maybe thousands of event details so the production of an event comes off close to perfect. Missed deadlines, changes, rush services and misuses of time cost money and slow operations.  This isn’t a billable line item on an invoice but can make a big difference to our bottom line.

(2) Consider price, appreciate value.  A lower price doesn’t always mean more savings or better service.  The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ rings true in our industry.  When reviewing proposals, meeting planners should be looking at pricing, yes, but also weighing more on a history of execution (references), quality of equipment used, service to exhibitors, innovations and creative thinking. This is the rest of the proposal that doesn’t show up on a side by side price comparison.  Does your service contractor help grow your event through service value to you, your exhibitors and attendees or are they just saving you $8 per booth package?

(3) It’s all about the labor.  We get questions all the time about the pricing of our materials and services.  Simple answer….we’re a labor-driven industry. Onsite labor alone accounts for nearly half of the revenue generated by an event.  Factor in that we are a commuting service, business overhead, and equipment only produces revenue when it’s consumed on a show floor; you have a recipe for sticker shock. However, a good service contractor will offer support, work within your budget and manage labor on your behalf to ensure you’re getting the most for your dollar spent.  Side note: We love it when you look out for our best interest as well.

What is the biggest opportunity to save money?

Managers and Planners, I would suggest graphic planning as a way to save money.  Keep your budget for graphics production, not late fees and rushed deliveries. 90% of the late fees we must charge are from missed deadlines, not last-minute add-ons.

Exhibitors can save by asking for help.  Use our Exhibitor Services Representative to help plan transportation, suggest and place furnishing orders on time, manage drayage fees and execute labor requirements.  Exhibitors can save 30-50% on their exhibit budget by planning ahead and asking for assistance.

What’s the most common misconception about your services?

We’re an outside, private enterprise, Exhibit Service Contractor; not a party rental and not part of the venue staff.  Show Managers usually understand our position and support us as a contracted partner; vital to the event’s production and success.  Exhibitors often don’t fully understand the concept and will assume all is included, free for the taking and make changes as you will atmosphere.  Thus the confusion when it comes to process and pricing.

ESCA (Exhibit Service Contractors Association), estimates annual service contractor revenue at $3 billion.  This is part of a yearly $283 billion-dollar meetings, exhibitions, and travel economy according to The Convention Industry Council.  Our niche vendors play a vital role necessary to provide equipment, skilled labor, support and innovation to this booming event community.  Please take notice of your event’s contractors; quite literally the first to arrive and the last to depart.