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July 10, 2019 Trade Shows

The Many Sides of a Successful Trade Show

The trade show and convention market makes up a large portion of the U.S. economy. Over 250 convention centers in the United States host hundreds of thousands of people a year.

Surveys show that an average of 5,000 people attend these conferences and trade shows, while 59% of events host more than 100 exhibitors. Companies are also willing to spend large budgets on trade shows.

According to Statista, about 50% of companies surveyed allocate more than $1 million to their convention and meeting budget. According to Exhibitor Magazine, a majority of companies have either increased or maintained their trade show budgets for 2019. 

This means that in the U.S. each year, companies must find a way to get their exhibits to trade shows across the country. At AFP Global Logistics, half of our business is dedicated to trade show logistics.

With more than 25 years of expertise in shipping, we are well situated to fulfill the complex logistics needs for trade shows and conventions. Here are factors to consider before, during, and after a trade show to ensure a successful event and exhibit. 


If you haven’t already decided how to ship your trade show materials, consider a company that specializes in trade show logistics. While your company can ship the materials, providers who specialize in trade show logistics understand the requirements of trade show and convention center, and the nuances of shipping.  

In a 2013 Exhibition Logistics Trends & Best Practices Study, a survey asked both show managers and exhibitors about their experiences with trade show logistics. Respondents expressed concern with handling materials and customer service. The survey suggested that many times, shippers are not aware of how to handle materials of different sizes and don’t know the rules and deadlines of shipping. 

At AFP Global Logistics, we provide timely information to exhibitors, associations, and planners, and work to customize our services to meet your needs, and the regulations of the event. Our experts provide everything you need to ensure your shipment arrives safely.

We can assist with customs and import documentation and security concerns. We can also pack items to ensure they are safely transported to the show. If your materials have to arrive in advance of the event, we also offer short- and long-term storage in warehouse facilities. 

Another theme that emerged from survey responses included provided better shipment tracking. From our experience, we know that trade shows follow a strict timeline, and shipments have to arrive exactly when they are supposed to. A late shipment can make an event a failure. Our experienced team will always make sure a shipment arrives on time. 

However, even if a shipment will arrive on time, not knowing where it is can also cause stress. Through our pre-planning process, we know the requirements of your event.

We also use technology to provide tracking for our shipments. This ensures that your shipment is not lost in an en-route to delivery gray zone, but you know exactly when it will arrive and the status of the shipment. 

At the Event

During the show, a drayage contractor provides logistics within the event. The contractor unloads materials from shipping company drives. They move exhibit materials into the exhibition hall, store boxes and crates once your display is up and during the event, and then return the boxes at the end of the show.

The load the materials back onto freight trucks at the end of the event. Effective communication with the drayage team ensures that your materials make it to the trade show floor, and then back again.

We can work with you and your trade show team to make sure that the drayage contractor fully understands your materials and exhibit. We also make sure that you know when your materials will arrive so that you have the proper amount of time to set up for the show. 


Before the completion of the show, we ensure that the drayage contractor knows when and where to pick up your materials, and when and where to deliver them. Unfortunately, the 2013 survey also highlighted exhibitor’s disappointment with drayage contractors and concern about damage to show displays and exhibits. If any damage occurs, we can file a claim on your behalf. 

We also offer comprehensive expo services, including door-to-show, show-to-door logistics, and white glove service. We can be onsite to assist with drayage contractors and event logistics. 

The expo experts at AFP Expo are here to help handle all of your trade show logistics and event shipping services. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact AFP Global Logistics at 800-274-1237 or send us an email. You can stay up to date with the latest from AFP Global Logistics on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ andPinterest.