Tradeshows are the most physical of marketing and sales initiatives. For every tradeshow, people gather from all over the world into one location to conduct business for a short timeframe. Wherever the tradeshow takes place, the visitors and their properties are subject to the region’s culture, language, laws, food and people.
The host city enjoys a significant economic boost from the influx of new money poured into local restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. Its success as a host depends on its infrastructure to handle these events, from the accessibility of the nearest airport to the availability of people to complete the practical work.
A fleet is needed to create a miniature, functioning city in just a few days, then take it down, pack it up or haul it away. For every event, individuals are brought in to lay out the show, divvy up the booth spaces, move the properties, install the technology and rig the signage. All the properties must be created and moved across real space, then removed without leaving a trace.
Tradeshows in the U.S. are generally not tied to any convention center so generally the venue changes from year to year. The labor crews who install exhibits, however, remain right where they are. Because of strict union labor laws, it is not customary in the U.S. for tradeshow labor crews to travel to other states for tradeshow work. Their knowledge and skill is most useful near the venues and cities they know well, and that makes traveling to another country for installation work impractical.
Sourcing from the local labor force is the best option. These are the people who know the venue well and have the resources to solve problems quickly when they arise. They also know and can adhere to the local rules and regulations. However, without the cross-pollination of people and their processes, the U.S. has business models that are starkly different from the rest of the world. In part 3 of the I&D series, we will explore I&D “Here & There” and the issues international exhibitors face when entering into unfamiliar territory.