Just read Fitz-Roy’s brave takedown of the exhibition suppliers. Gutsy!
As a three decade veteran of trade shows, I recall planning my first event and falling over when the contractors at the old Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre quoted for carpet, shell scheme, and power. Without any rebates to myself, the promoter. I passed on the forms to my new cohort of 100 exhibitors — and the phone rang off the hook. ’Surely this cannot be correct’ is the polite summary, sadly almost every call was far more fruity than that.
My trade show (ENTECH) morphed into a roadshow when I bought the smoking ruins back from the big trade show mob who’d bought it from me and eventually killed it a few years ago. For a decade now I’ve toured ENTECH to the five major cities, along with three in NZ and developed a massive expansion plan that involved visiting 3o venues across North America and Canada. Thankfully that project didn’t take off, otherwise the pandemic would have bankrupted me! The learnings are that exhibition supply firms are really having a great time.
I’ve been quoted $21 a metre for carpet, which I ended up paying $23 to buy! Hundreds of dollars for power hookups. $25 for a trestle table. Hundreds for a scissor lift for 20 minutes. Five figures for registration services. $200 for an internet port. Now we pay zero as we own and carry all the stuff we need on tour. The only thing we couldn’t avoid was the $35 sandwich box at Crown, so we fired Crown and won’t use their venues.
I’m 99% certain the big suppliers rebate the venues handsomely. The venues in turn have all kind of rorts, the best one was the ’Security Requirement’ of one guard per door, total 14. Or the three Fire wardens. Or the ‘cleaning fee’ of many hundreds of dollars, which would make sense at a trade show where everyone dumps pallets, wrapping, cartons and rubbish. Except we take it all with us.
We operate our roadshow across one month, which means we have infrastructure sitting in our warehouse 11 months a year. Enter Kate & Julius Event Services, where we guarantee to slash your costs so we both share the upside. We also have A.V. – and that’s another story, since we paid $600 to rent 2 x 55” screens and bought them at JB HiFi for the exact same outlay.
Ed – what’s your experience with suppliers? Contact ASE editor