We’ve all seen it happen. It’s last few hours on the last day of an event and the crowds are thinning to a trickle. Perhaps some are in the final rousing keynote session while others have already left. Some exhibitors see this as an opportunity to pack up early and head home or towards the bar for some ‘networking’.
I’d like to see event organisers ban this practice as it can have a detrimental impact on those exhibitors who do the right thing, and maintain their display until the end of the event.
Great prospects can turn up at the last minute, sometimes because they recognise you’ll be less busy and will have more time to answer their questions or give them a one-on-one demo of your product.
So please don’t pack away your stand before the event has finished.
And once the last stragglers have left don’t rush the process of dismantling your display. On most stands, the individual elements are not cheap because they are designed to be used again, so make sure they are handled with care.
Here are our tips to help with your stand dismantling
A place for everything and everything in its place
The best display units come with well-designed transport cases with clear slots and gaps for each piece of equipment. If it’s not immediately obvious look at using dymo tape to label what goes where. Then make sure everything goes back where it should.
If you use boxes or crates for more general items, label these clearly too – keeping tip 2 in mind. Use straps, packing materials and boxes within boxes to avoid items flying around and getting damaged within their containers.
Keep related items together
I still remember the frustration of going camping only to discover the friend to whom I had previously lent my tent had put the tent pegs in a crate with the cooking equipment rather than with the tent! The same frustration can easily happen after an event. Make sure any special fixings, hooks, panels etc. are kept with the equipment with which they are used.
Make a note of any damage
If you spot any damaged or faulty equipment – from broken catches to blown bulbs or cracked screens – make a note and label the item on the spot. Get it fixed or replaced before it goes back into storage rather than leaving it for the next person to find.
Throw out any damaged collateral, including any brochures you made notes on.
Treat everything with care during dismantling
Avoid causing extra damage when dismantling and packing. Roll any vinyl or printed display panels into one cylinder with the graphics facing outwards and within their plastic sleeves to prevent scratching. Placing them in the correct sequence will save time and frayed nerves next time. Place in a cloth bag if you have one in your kit.
Guide any roll up banner stands gently back into their cassettes rather than allowing them to whip back too quickly as this can damage the graphic and the bar at the top. Pull any plugs out of their sockets by the plug not the wire, and allow halogen lights to cool before packing them.
Don’t forget the leads!
This may seem obvious, but I know of occasions when, after a three-day event, a team returns to the office only to discover that no one knows where the leads are. What a nightmare – and a complete waste of money.
These days, with the introduction of electronic data capture at events it is less of an issue, particularly if those leads are regularly emailed to central office during the event for follow up. But whether you are recording leads on a laptop or on paper make sure one individual is made responsible for making sure they get back to the office safely. (While we are on the subject, make sure there is a clear plan for following up leads well before the event).
Label the whole consignment
Make sure every box and crate is clearly labelled with a clear return address and also numbered (1 of 7, 2 of 7…). Remove delivery labels to avoid confusion. Prepare any paperwork, export documentation and customs requirements.
Alternatively, outsource it
If this all seems like too much of a faff, you should consider using a specialist firm like Bill Bowden Event Logistics. Not only can we arrange the delivery and pick up of your stand and materials, we also offer the option of having your stand assembled and dismantled and packed, so you can leave at the end of the event and leave the job to us.