The greatest lessons I received from the elite public school system in suburban Illinois involved understanding the importance of knowing what the rules are, how exceptions are made, and how they are enforced. Knowing the rules helped me out of quite a few binds!
In the tradeshow world, it’s very much the same way (yes, I’m comparing convention centers to public schools – would anyone blame me for the comparison?). Understanding the technicalities that surround your exhibit, where and when to ask for variances, and what variances show management can or cannot accept, can define the success or failure of your tradeshow booth.
I recently had a client call me with a list of 5 shows that they wanted to exhibit at in 2010. They wanted to do a 20×20 exhibit that was 16 ft. tall. Maximizing visibility and utilization of cubic footage that they pay for has always been of utmost importance to them.4 of the 5 tradeshows would not permit the type of exhibit designs that they planned to utilize. 1 of the 4 later agreed to allow it, based on a height variance. There are basic guidelines on when variances need to be applied for – including submitting drawings from a structural engineer. We have an email confirmation, and we’ll go through the necessary motions to execute the height variance.
Knowing the rules intimately – not just the basic height, setbacks, etc. – can prove to be a show-saver. As we’ve mentioned here before, get everything in writing, and bear in mind that the show hall, not show management, is the ultimate judge in any disputed situation. Make the rules work for you– not against you!