An important aspect of any management position is the intrinsic ability to instruct those who look to you for guidance. As the manager of a trade show, the advice and knowledge you pass on to your exhibitors are indispensable. Understanding the working relationships among all the various contractors can be confusing and difficult to navigate, especially for to an industry rookie. It’s important to teach them the differences between the two major contractors and advantages or disadvantages of each. Doing this keeps your exhibitors from becoming frustrated when they arrive and allows them to approach your trade show with confidence.
Moving In The Right Direction
Setting up as an exhibitor for a trade show can be a big undertaking. A majority of shows allow the exhibitors to choose what labor they can hire. Hiring help allows for greater flexibility and frees your exhibitors to allocate their attention to other details. The two choices can vary greatly in cost and service quality. These choices are known as a General Show Contractor (GSC) and an Exhibitor Appointed Contractor (EAC). When both options are compared side by side, one choice clearly edges out the competition as the preferred alternative.
General Show Contractor
A GSC is contracted by the show’s organizer or management to provide labor for exhibitors as well as for the show. A GSC’s jobs are numerous and are not limited to inspections, handling freight material, show logistics, and hiring and managing labor force. Instead of being responsible for setting up one exhibit they are responsible for the I&D (installation and dismantle) of the entire show.
A major consideration when determining who to hire is the quality of service. Many laborers are part-time. This is due to the fact that many shows require varying amounts of labor and the number of shows from year to year fluctuate. As a result, many highly skilled laborers are drawn to full-time positions which aren’t always readily available with a GSC. This isn’t to say that the labor of an exhibitor receives if they opt for a GSC isn’t skilled. But they can’t ensure that the work they receive will be top notch and attentive. The labor will be stretched out across the large sea of exhibitors leaving personal assistance on the wayside.
Exhibitor Appointed Contractor
An EAC is a contractor hired by an exhibitor and works independently of the show management contractors. This alone gives the exhibitors the authority to have the work done according to their standards An EAC provides a labor lead and direct phone line to be reached at all times in order to ensure good communication. The lead will be able to contact all the laborers throughout the duration of the show. If the AEC was contracted through an Exhibit House the laborers should already be knowledgeable with your display. As a result, they can accomplish installation without difficulty.
As a result of having singular attention is that the EAC becomes familiar with the individual business and can establish an ongoing relationship with the exhibitor. The labor becomes versed in the exhibitor’s needs and goals and can assist in helping them meet and maintain them. This mutual cognizance ensures that their budget and objectives stay on track. Your exhibitors will have the assurance that they can focus their attention on potential consumers instead of referencing logistics and functionality.
Following The Rules For Success
There are a set of responsibilities that do not apply to Exhibitors or an EAC and fall under the leadership of the General Show Contractor. As a general rule, GSC contractors are responsible for the following:
- Ensuring safety on the show floor.
- Have ongoing knowledge of all operations before, during, and after the show.
- Know who is coming and going and what their purpose is. Everyone on the show floor needs to be accounted for.
When an Exhibitor chooses to hire an EAC, it’s important that they follow the special notification process. This process includes:
- Filling out a form of intent notifying the show manager of their decision to use an EAC, usually within 30-60 days prior to show.
- The EAC must have paperwork proving it has the proper insurance required. If an EAC fails to meet the proper requirements by the deadline, admittance will not be allowed.
In addition to the notification process, a couple of specific rules must be adhered to by an EAC. First, an EAC may only work in the booth hired by the exhibitor to install. Solicitation of other exhibitors or vendors is not allowed. Second, the EAC and their hired labor must check in with security prior to working on the show floor. Different colored wristbands may be assigned to them depending on the day.
From The Top Down
When you lead from the top and communicate effectively you are giving those around you the tools to execute their responsibilities. You are all working together for the common goal of seeing everyone reach their greatest potential while supporting each other along the way.