Trade Show Terminology to Know Before You Show

When you’re first dipping your toes in the world of trade show marketing, it might seem like the show coordinators, vendors, and other parties involved, are speaking a completely different language. And in a way they are since trade show terminology includes its own phrases, acronyms, and nuances, all similar to event planning terminology.

Trade Show Terminology
Trade Show Terminology

To help you navigate trade show terminology, here are 10 of the most common words and phrases you might hear, so you can speak the same language and succeed in your role as a trade show exhibitor.

Types of Booth Space

When you’re planning out trade show booth ideas, it’s important to figure out where your display will go and what the surrounding area looks like. Here are three terms that succinctly tell you a lot about your exhibit space:

  • End cap: You’ll have aisles on three sides of your space.
  • In-line display: Your area will face one or two aisles in a line.
  • Island exhibit: As it sounds, this type of space is surrounded on all four sides by aisles.

Aesthetics Terms

Whether you hire someone to handle the design of your booth or keep it in-house, you still should know what each display piece is called. This ensures that you and any of your vendors or contractors are using the same language to talk about the same parts.

  • Backlighting: This one is pretty straightforward, and it means you have lighting that comes from the back of the display which can create a really standout effect on your graphics.
  • Banner stand: This is typically made from vinyl or fabric, and is a free-standing display.
  • Header: This refers to the sign or image at the top of an exhibit.

Exhibitor Information

There are usually a lot of details and paperwork that come your way when you’re preparing to exhibit at a show, and it can get confusing to sort out the important parts from the extraneous parts. Here are two terms worth paying attention to:

  • Service kit: This is often called an Exhibitor Kit, and it’s basically an overview of all the information you will need leading up to the show.
  • Show services: While it varies from show to show, the “show services” company you’re directed to will typically help you order your flooring and furniture for your booth, and anything else you might need to complement the display you’re bringing.

Logistical Terms

If you’ve ever seen an empty trade show hall before the booths are set up, it can be incredible to watch the flurry of activity as displays are put together and erected in no time. Then, you might be astounded by how quickly they get taken apart and the hall becomes empty again. This, of course, is the result of very precise logistics. Here are a couple of terms to know along these lines:

  • Drayage: This word refers to how the exhibit materials are moved from the dock at the show location  to your booth in the trade show hall. You normally will have to pay a fee for drayage at any trade show, and this varies based on different factors.
  • I&D: This means installation and dismantling. You can sometimes handle I&D yourself, but sometimes it’s required that you use the labor provided at the show to put together and take down your exhibit. The rules and rates of these services vary.

We hope this helps you grasp the world of trade shows a little bit more. Are there any other trade show phrases you’ve heard that you’d like help understanding? Contact us today!

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