Planning, Panic, and Preparation

Posted on May 23, 2012

A Look Behind the Trade Show Curtain
by Carmen Diaz, trade show coordinator for CHAUVET

My little countdown clock tells me it’s less than 25 days till show site. That means I’m getting down to the wire for shipping, rental and production. InfoComm, it’s big, it’s AV, and it’s breathing down my neck like Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire (which really isn’t too bad of a prospect… rawr).

Let’s take stock of what we’ve done so far… We have two 53-foot semis hauling 300+ fixtures 2,518 miles to the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’ve placed our orders for 400 AMPS of three-phase electrical power, carpet, a monster distro, labor, fabric, and lights. I’ve got over 200 emails regarding this tradeshow alone, and this is just one of three shows I’m working on currently.

It’s a lot of work and meticulous attention to detail to make a trade show worth the substantial investment an 800-square-foot booth entails. I’ve got a three-inch binder filled with schematics, order confirmations, maps, and more check lists than I can shake a stick at. Even as I write this blog post, I keep thinking of more small tasks I still need to do, like get candy for the booth, and silverware for lunches, and a million other “unexpected” problems you have to prepare for “just in case.”

But through all of this planning, panic, and preparation there is the satisfaction of a finished product and a beautiful booth to “oooh” and “awe”. There’s this unbelievable sense of accomplishment that you get when the build is complete and the show opens. Lights are blaring, music playing softly in the background, sales people chattering as the first of the attendees streams into the hall. I try to take a moment to look around in the first few hours, as the traffic ramps up and the exhibitors really start crowding around your booth, to enjoy everyone’s hard work paying off… and maybe even get a tasty beverage as my reward.

Here is a look at last year’s booth for you to “oooh” and “awe” at (although this year’s will blow it out of the water!):

CHAUVET booth at InfoComm 2011 just before the door opens.