Trade Show Commentary

Growing Their Business at Your Expense – One Crate at a Time

In Trade Show Displays on June 30, 2011 at 7:38 am

The Scenario

A few years ago when I first noticed that G.E.S. Exposition Services had entered the “logistic” market, (by the way, that’s a fancy name that UPS uses for “shipping”) my first thought was good luck! What exhibitor who was exhibiting in any trade show would give their shipping business to the same company that just gouged them with sky high drayage rates and $180 per hour set up labor rate for installing their trade show displays? Well, in business, you sometimes find strange bedfellows, and in the trade show business, that’s no exception.

The Set Up

Well, if you can’t get ahead coming in the front door, then there’s always the back door which is the situation which I recently witnessed at a large trade show in Orlando, Florida. G.E.S. was the show contractor for the 400+ booth show which broke at 6pm on a Tuesday night with final move out no later than noon the following day.  As we all know, by the time your crates are returned from empty storage, on overtime no less, you’ve already lost half the evening, so we decided to begin the dismantle early the next morning with a large crew and be finished and out of the hall by noon. I scheduled the air freight carrier to be there by 10:30 a.m. so as not to impede the show contractors ability to clear the floor in any way. The show contractor had to be out by midnight on the second day of move out.

The Sting

I had all the bills of lading filled out and ready to go, but about 10:30 a.m.  I received a call from the air freight carrier telling me that their driver was being turned away at the marshalling yard check in point because he didn’t show up at 8 a.m. that morning to sign in, which to me didn’t make lick of sense because he wasn’t going to begin loading until noon. I immediately went to the show service desk to find out why this was happening and learned the from the service manager that the 8 a.m. sign in time had been formally introduced into the show rules by “show management” and thus couldn’t be altered in fairness to all the other exhibitors who had “played by the rules”. There was obviously one show manager who’d been had by his service rep and probably didn’t think anything of the request to establish that time.

The Light Bulb Goes On

As I stood there reeling at how I’d just been given an old fashion Southern butt kicking, the logistics people smiled and kindly asked if I was interested in a competitive rate to ship my 7 crates plus carpet to Boston? It didn’t take but a millisecond for the light to go on in my mind about what was really happening here! Now I understood what the magic of the 8 a.m. check in time was. It was nothing less than a slick way to drive the competition away by forcing the competition to sit in the marshalling yard for 4 hours in the sweltering sun with the meter running, G.E.S. has effectively been able to cut their competitions profit margin in half and has eliminated another freight company from future competition.

Now I guess that’s what G.E.S. calls, good old fashion fun!

By Lowell Nickens, ShopForExhibits.com, Google + Profile

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