Exhibiting at trade shows involves a significant investment of time, money, and effort. From planning an eye-catching display to nailing your marketing strategy to training booth staff, there’s so much to think about. But what happens to your exhibit after the show is over? How much thought have you given to organizing trade show storage between shows?
After investing so much care in your trade show booth, don’t make the mistake of storing it carelessly and risking damage to the booth. Storing the booth in a dusty, cramped, or unsafe space may result in damage that renders it unusable in the future. And this could send your dreams of trade show success down the drain.
The Benefits of Professional Trade Show Storage
Your company may have unused space to store your trade show display when it’s not at a show—but is this a wise choice? Even if you have the room, it’s not necessarily the best option. In fact, there are several good reasons serious exhibitors opt for professional trade show storage facilities to house their exhibit, display, or trade show accessories.
1. Temperature-Controlled Environment
Unlike most company storage rooms, a professional trade show storage warehouse is a temperature-controlled environment. This means your trade show booth and accessories are stored at the optimal temperature.
This is important because big fluctuations in temperature can cause the materials that make up fabric displays, trade show graphics, and other trade show components to shrink or expand. If this happens, it may mean your graphics and other visual components don’t look right or no longer fit together as they’re supposed to. In a controlled environment, the temperature remains stable over time, so there’s no risk of this happening.
2. Damage Protection
Temperature extremes aren’t the only issue to worry about when it comes to trade show storage. There are also pests such as insects and rodents, as well as dust, water, and debris. Then there’s the risk of damage to a costly screen or LED display due to careless handling. Any of these things could ruin a custom trade show display. And that means potentially costly repairs to get your trade show booth back into show condition.
High-quality storage facilities eliminate all of these risks. They have strict environmental control practices that deter pests and keep the warehouse clean and well-organized. Professional warehousing protects your display from hazards that might cause damage.
3. Space and Storage for All Kinds of Exhibits and Components
If you have a custom trade show exhibit that’s large, heavy, and expensive, professional trade show booth storage is an easy decision. But do you really need a trade show warehouse for portable exhibits or components such as tension fabric popup displays?
The answer is—yes! Smaller portable displays and components benefit from professional storage too. Exhibit accessories and components are made from materials such as wood, fabric, and laminate, along with adhesives of various kinds. All these materials are vulnerable to water damage, pest damage, and temperature extremes.
Housing these important assets in a professional space provides important protection that keeps them in perfect condition for longer. It helps preserve their integrity and protects your financial investment.
4. Expert Shipping of Exhibits and Accessories
Another benefit of professional trade show storage is that they don’t just store your trade show booth and accessories when they’re not in use. They’ll also take care of packing and shipping your booth components to each show.
That’s a benefit that can’t be overstated. It takes skill to package booth components and accessories efficiently, to minimize risk and maximize safety and protection. With a professional trade show storage company, your booth will be packed with care and shipping safely. And it’ll arrive at the show on time, complete, undamaged, and ready for assembly.
Shipping a trade show booth can be a stressful logistical exercise. Working with a professional storage company saves you so much time and stress. One phone call or email is all it takes to get the shipping process under way. And every time, you have the security of knowing it’s being managed professionally and responsibly.
5. Preview Your Exhibit Prior to the Event
Pick a professional storage company that offers showroom facilities, and you get the chance to preview your exhibit before event day. A showroom is a space where you can have your exhibit set up as it will be at the event, so that you can:
- Make design changes
- Stage your booth staff
- Adjust the layout for traffic flow
- See the impact of hanging signage, banners, and other trade show accessories
- And more
Those last-minute adjustments may end up having a big impact on the show floor. If your trade show storage facility does offer this service, take them up on it!
6. Pre-Show Exhibit Inspection
Look for a trade show storage facility that goes the extra mile by inspecting your exhibit before shipping it off to the next show. For every show you attend, your exhibit goes through a round of shipping, installation, dismantling, and then shipping back to the facility. It’s not at all uncommon for an exhibit to need repair work, especially if you take it to several shows every year.
Facilities that offer this service check exhibits and components for any signs of damage. They then perform the necessary repairs or replacements prior to shipping. It’s by far a better option than finding out last-minute at the show that your exhibit needs repairs!
7. Additional Services
Some professional storage facilities come with bonuses if they happen to be affiliated with other trade show service providers. Many trade show design and manufacture companies, for instance, have their own private storage facilities. By doing business with one company, you get access to a wide range of associated services.
With access to a top-of-the-line trade show company, you’re covered for every step of the exhibiting process. That can mean everything from pre-show design and manufacture to shipping and handling to post-show storage.
At ProExhibits, for instance, it means access to an experienced team of:
- Trade show graphic designers
- Design consultants
- Project managers
- Event coordinators
- And more
With a knowledgeable team working for you behind the scenes, you’re virtually guaranteed an impressive showing at your next trade show event!
Tips for Saving on Trade Show Storage
Unless your company has its own professional-grade storage facility, then paying for professional exhibit storage space is the way to go if you want to safeguard your exhibit investment. But exhibiting, and all its associated costs, can get expensive. If you’re hoping to save a little money on storage costs, you have some options.
Choose the Right Storage Location
Where is your exhibit currently being stored? And where are most of the shows you attend located? If there’s a big distance between those two locations, you might save by picking a different storage location. In this case, it doesn’t necessarily mean saving on storage itself, but on the amount you pay to ship your exhibit between storage and the show. The closer the storage location is to the shows you attend, the less you’ll have to pay in shipping costs.
Consider “Touring” Your Exhibit
When you have several shows within a short period of time, you might try touring your exhibit. This means instead of sending the exhibit back into storage between each show, you arrange for temporary storage at show locales. For instance, if your storage base is on the East Coast and you’re planning to attend several shows in the southwest within a two- or three-month period, it doesn’t make sense to ship your exhibit back to the East Coast after every show. Depending on your actual schedule, you may be able to simply send the exhibit directly from one show to the advance warehouse of the next one.
Touring doesn’t always make logistical or financial sense. But when you’re attending several shows in quick succession, it’s always worth at least checking to see which option is the most practical and cost-effective.
Only Pay for Services You Need
When you’re checking out storage options, make sure to find out what services are included and which ones cost extra—and only pay extra for services that you actually need. For instance, some warehouses offer services such as:
- 24-hour security
- Climate control
- Online inventory tracking
These are all legitimately useful services, but they’re not must-haves for everyone.
Another potential cost-cutting measure is to find out if the facility charges additional service fees each time you access your inventory. When this is the case, you may be able to reduce your costs by monitoring how often you need to use those additional services.
Keep Your Storage Inventory Up-to-Date
With professional booth storage, you pay for the space you use. The more exhibit materials you store, the more you pay. One way you can sometimes save is just by keeping a close eye on what you’re storing. At least once a year check over your inventory and decide what items you want to keep in storage and whether there are items that are no longer needed. If you identify any signage or other pieces that are outdated or in disrepair, that’s a good time to get rid of them and reduce your storage costs.
Pack Storage Crates Efficiently
Along the same lines, since you only pay for the space you use, it makes sense to pack your storage crates as efficiently as you can. This means collapsing all components down to their smallest possible configuration and packing each crate as tightly as possible, while still taking care that items are properly wrapped and protected. As an added bonus, because some shipping methods charge by volume instead of weight, packing this way can actually help you save on exhibit transport costs too.
How to Find the Right Trade Show Storage for Your Exhibit
Professional trade show exhibit storage has some important benefits that help preserve and protect your investment. The storage company you choose is an important part of that. So how do you go about finding a storage company that will give your assets the care they need?
Use these quick tips as a guide to help you choose the best storage company for your exhibit.
Visit the Storage Facility In-Person (and Ask Plenty of Questions)
Websites and images don’t give you the full story. Make sure to check out a storage facility in person before making a commitment. A reputable, well-run facility will be happy to give you a tour if you make an appointment.
Some good questions to ask include:
- Is the facility temperature-controlled?
- What’s the local climate like?
- Where will your exhibit be stored?
- How are individual components packed for storage?
- What’s the company’s protocol in case of emergency? For instance, what happens if temperature control fails, or the power goes out?
Choose a Facility That’s Big Enough for Your Display
If you have a particularly large exhibit—for instance, with multiple stories or hanging signs—choose a company with facilities to match. The facility should have a showroom big enough to house your display when fully assembled so you can preview it before the show.
Look for State-of-the-Art Inventory Tracking
The last thing you want is for vital trade show components to go missing right before a show. Look for a professional storage company that offers inventory tracking services that seamlessly track your inventory, and can show where your exhibit components are housed at any time.
Bonus if the company also manufactures or sells trade show accessories. This means you can order parts direct from the warehouse to replace anything that wears out over time.
Make Sure They’re Available for Emergency Contact
Find a trade show storage facility that’s reachable 24/7, and that offers full shipping, drayage, and tracking. This ensures that you can monitor your exhibit any time, whether it’s at the warehouse or is in transit on the way to a show, and make last-minute adjustments if necessary.
Require Good References
Check out online reviews, and read testimonials, case studies, or customer stories on the company’s website. A storage facility with a great track record is typically happy to share customer stories and has years’ worth of excellent reviews they’re proud to show off.
Protect Your Investment with Professional Trade Show Storage
Investing in a trade show booth often means a significant financial outlay. It may seem like storage is one area where you might cut costs without a problem, but subpar storage can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your investment. By choosing a professional trade show storage company to house your exhibit, you protect your booth, and your investment, for years to come.