Have you ever wondered what attendees or exhibitors really think about your show? I recently saw a show manager send out a post show survey that was one of the best I have ever seen. There were 2 reasons why I felt it was the best survey ever. The first reason was because it asked for feedback on things most people don’t ask about such as the length of the meeting, the length of the break out sessions, the food, the snacks, the distance from their hotel room to the meeting rooms and exhibit hall, the signage, the distance from the airport to the hotel and various other questions aimed not so much at the context of the meeting but more so the customer experience. The next reason I felt it was the best survey ever was that they hired an independent source to conduct the survey. This way the answers and comments are all confidential and allows people to not worry about who will read the survey and they can be more honest and straight forward. This type of feedback gives us the opportunity to get inside the heads of those that matter most and make any changes to ensure we make the show better and grow the show. What more could you ask for from a survey!

For more information on how to get great feedback from your meeting call John Olis at 847-426-3100 or email me at



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I recently finished closing out a series of trade shows and was left wondering why hotels over book space. While it is important for hotels to book their exhibit halls with trade shows so they keep revenue coming in, they should also focus on how to get trade shows to keep coming back to the hotel for future events. In the last 2 months I have experienced hotels over booking space to where one show isn’t fully moved out and the other show is moving in. Usually what happens is the show moving in is left waiting and has the move-in postponed for hours if not a full day. This adds so much stress to everyone and just starts the show off on a sour note. The message I would relay to those of you looking to book exhibit hall space is to make sure you check to see who is moving out on what days and ask to see the move-out schedule. This will save hours of frustration for you, the general contractor and the exhibitors. In the end you probably wont return to that facility in the future as a result of such a mix up and lack of communication.

For more information on what to look for when deciding on a venue that’s right for you call John Olis at 847-426-3100 or email me




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If you want a sure fire way to guarantee your freight ends up in your booth on time, make sure you send it to the general contractors advanced warehouse. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have seen an exhibitor walk up to the service desk looking for lost freight because they didn’t send it to the advanced warehouse. I’ve seen some people send directly to show site and spend an entire day waiting for their carrier to show up only to have 30 minutes after it arrives to try to put together the booth before the show opens. I have also seen people send packages to themselves at the hotel only to be running around crazy trying to find where the hotel has stored their materials and wondering why no-one notified them that the packages had been received. I have seen shipping offices closed and exhibitors not having any way to get their materials out of a locked area.

Sending your freight to the advanced warehouse will save you hours of frustration looking for missing or undelivered pieces. Sending to the warehouse will allow you to relax and be confident that your freight will be sitting in your booth when you arrive. It will also allow you the opportunity to check to see that the warehouse has received it prior to the scheduled move-in.

For more information on how to save time and money when sending your freight to the show, please call John Olis at 847-426-3100 or email me at




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Below are some tips that no exhibitor should go without and will guarantee one is better prepared and more equipped to capitalize on the exhibiting experience.

  • Set specific trade show goals with quantifiable objectives. Build a P&L for your participation and evaluate your performance against it. You might set a goal of meeting 3 new people each day that you will follow up with for possible sales. Preplan your evenings to attend activities that will be profitable for you to attend.
  • Don’t wait until the show to reach out to your target audience. Develop show mailers that invite people into your booth or that make your company stand out. These can be email news letters or direct mail. Send them out weeks before the show. Let people know you will be there and give them a reason to come by your booth to see you.
  • Shows are a great way to meet face to face with many top level decision makers. But you must get them to stop in your booth when they are walking the floor. Some people do this by having loud, bold displays that you can’t miss while others suggest the opposite. The main thing is that you develop a presentation geared towards one on one interaction with a personal touch. Offering on-line services that lets attendees interact with your product or offering is an excellent way to promote interest. Today’s technology lets us offer live webcasts or remote access meetings during the show.
  • Offer an attractive giveaway item via a lottery. Make sure it’s an over the top giveaway and promote it in your mailing campaign. Have them register on your company website before the show and immediately after the show.
  • Do not wing it. Be prepared for a 30 second pitch that includes asking several questions.
  • Studies show that most trade show leads are never followed up on after the show which wastes time and money. Follow up should happen within the first 5 days of the show not weeks after.
  • A good return on your trade show investment involves planning, preparing and then follow up.

For more information on how to get more out of your exhibiting experience call John Olis at 847-426-3100 or email me at




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You say you want to make this years trade show really stand out; Why not really go over top and customize your registration counters and entrance units this year. Most show managers settle for the standard registration counters and entrance units. We’ve all seen the same old boring square registration counters year after year. Did you know that it really doesn’t cost that much to upgrade to a custom reg area.  Take it upon yourself to ask your general contractor to customize the reg area this year and do away with the square reg counters and get a circular or octagon reg area that screams “Welcome to Registration”. My guess is most general contractors that value your business will be happy to do this at no extra cost to you. Same thing goes for the entrance unit. Isn’t it time your entrance unit shouts “Welcome to the Trade Show”!!

For more information or samples of how to enhance your registration area and entrance units email John Olis at or call me at 847-426-3100.



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When selecting a venue to host your conference or tradeshow always make sure you do your homework about the facility to learn of any hidden costs you may be hot with at the end of the conference. I recently had a show manager that one month before their show was to move-in found out from the facility that they had to hire a freight elevator operator for the tradeshow move-in at $150.00 per hour. They were also hit with being told they needed to hire a police officer on the street to direct traffic when their general contractor unloaded their equipment as the hotel had no doc but used the street for deliveries. There was also the cost of a parking permit so they had an open space for any trucks arriving to deliver exhibitor freight. All this amounted to thousands of dollars of un budgeted expenses. Needless to say the show managers were not happy as these were all hidden costs not brought up during the selection process. The moral of the story is; “No question is a bad question when choosing a venue to host your trade show”. Make sure you create a list and walk through all your questions with the facility pertaining to the trade show as well as the meeting portion of your event. This will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress 30-60 days prior to your event.

For more information on what to ask a facility pertaining to your trade show, call John Olis at 847-426-3100 or email me at


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Quality does matter. I recently attended a trade show and had the opportunity to explore the graphics that exhibitors displayed in their booths. It was awesome to see some of the cool things people are doing with graphics today. Technology has allowed us to create some really wild and cutting edge images these days. However, one should make sure that the art work/ images are produced using the highest resolution possible. I witnessed some really cool designs that were made to look really cheap and unprofessional because they were printed using low resolution. This made everything look blurry and distorted giving the image of really low quality and left a bad impression of the company. Please make sure you get with your creative department or graphic designer and make sure everything you print is in high resolution. Remember: we only get one chance to make a first impression.

For more information on quality graphics please email John Olis at or call me at 847-426-3100.




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Trend #1: Trade Shows are Still Needed.

According to statistics, trade shows have a greater share of B2B marketing budgets than print and direct mail. Exhibitors are still looking for face to face time with potential buyers that the trade show floor gives them. In order to get attendees into booths some exhibitors are renting charging stations. This unit chargers a smartphone and tablet at the same time and will give exhibitors 10 minutes of the attendees time. 

Trend #2 Forget About Pre-Show Promotion.

Most attendees are not paying attention to anything before the show. (even phone calls) The focus should be on the actual face time and not the pre-show. Video Wall rentals are growing as they are a great way to grab attention especially since they can run a variety of formats including live video, photos and product information. 

Trend #3 Social Media is Growing.

If booths activities include product launching, demonstrations and customer testimonials caught on video, it’s most likely going to be shared on social media. 

Trend #4 Marketing Messages Are Better on Flat Screens.

Because Plasma Displays are more vivid and lighter now, they can be easily rigged and make your message really pop and draw attendees into the booth. 

Trend #5 Unqualified Leads will Be Ignored.

Overworked salespeople can no longer chase unqualified leads via business cards or information from a list. They will only follow up with qualified leads that have more promising information than just the prospects contact information. Lead retrieval systems are great for gathering qualified leads as they can be looked into before the show is over. 

Trend #6 Technology is Everywhere you look

Everything from ipad rentals to touch panel displays are all over the show floor for a variety of reasons but the biggest ones are: The booth is sleek and streamlined with visual automation, Technology reduces printing, shipping, storage costs and helps with green initiatives. There are so many reasons to rent ipads as they are very mobile and can serve as a portable kiosk and because of the thousands of apps are very versatile as well.

For more information on the latest trends please email John Olis at or call me at 847-426-3100






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From all of us here at Viper Tradeshow Services;

Happy New Year! Here’s to making 2014 the best year ever and exceeding your expectations in everything you do!



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To all our clients, all the show managers, meeting planners and facility managers we have worked with this year; We wish all of you a Wonderful Holiday Season filled with much laughter and time spent with those dearest to your hearts!

Please have a great, safe Holiday Season and we look forward to an outstanding 2014 with all of you!

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