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Author Topic: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?  (Read 476 times)

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Offline PostModN66

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Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« on: January 14, 2019, 05:04:19 PM »
Over the years @Cooper and I have exhibited at quite a few exhibitions with Deansmoor, Horseblock Lane and Lofthole.  We haven't had any really horrific experiences, but some organisers have definitely been better than others.

I feel it would be useful to compile a checklist to give to organisers to help them look after their exhibitors well.  I have quite a few ideas, but rather than prejudice the discussion I thought it would be better to start by canvassing opinions.

So if you have exhibited your layout, what good or bad experiences have you had, and what would you require, expect or appreciate from exhibition organisers to make things go smoothly and to feel good about the experience?

Cheers Jon  :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

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Online port perran

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 05:14:02 PM »
I have exhibited various layouts over the yeas but only at smallish local shows as I’m not really willing to travel “up country” from Cornwall.
Anyway, i have generally had favourable experiences and never really had any horific problems.
One issue is always people arriving with layouts to set up all at the same time. This is obviously difficult for organisers but it is good if they know exactly where each layout is to go. It is sometimes annoying to find that you need to move, say, twelve inches one way or another.
Another issue is that frequently people want to chat whilst you are setting up. It’s all well meant but can be very distracting.
Another issue is around insurance......policy needs to be clearly laid out for exhibitors.
Parking, for unloading, can also be an issue. Clear instructions as to where and how to park for unloading would be very helpful.
Access to power can also be an issue. I always take multiple extension leads as it is often unclear what is or is not provided.
Just a few thoughts off the top of my head.
Martin
If it looks right then it most probably is right.


Offline Chris Morris

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 05:18:36 PM »
1. Friendly
2. Good supply of tea
3. Good instructions on set up. I like to have a plan of the exhibition beforehand but of course this often isn't possible.
4. Lunch
5. A plaque - not important but always a nice touch.

Exhibitions put on by clubs usually look after exhibitors better than those put on by companies. TINGS is the worst I have been to but, because it is TINGS I am happily taking a layout this year.
Taunton wins my nomination for best lunch and Exeter for best accommodation. The reason for liking Exeter is that they use the university for accomodation which provides single rooms for everyone, along with an excellent breakfast. I much prefer a single room to a twin room. My nomination for worst breakfast was the hotel used at Taunton - the first time ever in my life I have found scrambled egg to be inedible.
Worst hotel was provided by a budget one at Fratton. My mate said it was the smallest toilet he had ever used and he spent his career in submarines.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 05:25:00 PM by Chris Morris »

Online crewearpley40

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 05:31:22 PM »
Plan of exhhbition hall, stewards friendly, knowledge where electric sockets are. Please read my post re stevenage. Barriers to avoid touching, room to avoid crowds, congestion. Help where to park, easy access
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Offline tunneroner61

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2019, 05:32:18 PM »
As an exhibition organiser and also an exhibitor I would agree with what's been suggested so far.

However my experience as an organiser regarding parking for unloading is that no matter what you ask exhibitors to do they go their own way in their haste to get set up. It's even worse after the show in the haste to pack the car/van and get on the road. We tried a few times to manage the unloading/packing up but found it easier to just let the exhibitors get on with it!!!


Online GrahamB

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2019, 06:04:10 PM »
For me it is important for the host to be clear about what they will and will not be supplying.

My details always ask for a power socket within ten feet of the layout. In the worst case my five metre reel barely reached - in addition to my ten foot reel.

I supply a diagram showing the size of my layouts along with the (Larger) footprint that is required to allow operation. Occasionally people have had difficulty understanding that and I'm not sure why.

The flip side of course is for the exhibitor to be clear about what they require.


Online Claude Dreyfus

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2019, 06:05:14 PM »
There are plenty of things I like (catering etc.), but for me,  the following are critical (and pretty basic):

1- Clear and timely instructions (including location of where you are  within the exhibition hall)
2- Discipline when it comes to opening and closing times (i.e. not letting punters wander around before opening time).
3- Agreeing expenses beforehand and stick to the agreement. Not quibbling at the end, or puffing out your cheeks and saying 'oh, that's a little steep' when the amount was mutually agreed beforehand.
4- Making sure there are sufficient plugs/power points to cater for layouts (no point insisting on PAT certified layouts if you subsequently daisy chain a number of extension leads to the nearest available socket).
5- Access to refreshments (tea/coffee/water/squash as a minimum). A lot of organisers forget many exhibitors are giving up valuable free time to support their show. Drinks of this nature cost very little, making minimal impact of overall cost of the show.
6- Somewhere safe and secure to park the car (preferably not the local pay and display - unless the cost is included in the expenses)

To be honest, the vast majority of shows do this, but I have been to a few that cannot manage even these...the worst didn't know where our layout was meant to be, then put us somewhere with no sockets and later argued about the expenses (which turned out to be their mistake).

Offline martyn

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 06:33:18 PM »
In addition to what has already been mentioned;

Reasonable accommodation
One exhibition manager gave exhibitors a list of local restaurants and pubs-very handy when in a strange town!
Opening times for set-up.

martyn

Online Bob Tidbury

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 06:58:00 PM »
From a trade point of view ,
Making sure tables of the right size are ready for us to set up with access at least one end and with room for two rather fat guys behind the tables .
Free teas  and coffees .
Easy access for loading and unloading with help if possible .For us old codgers.
Lunch free or at cost included in stand rent .
Parking within the venue grounds or a mini bus from a car park near the venue .
For two years now One very well known show we go to we turned up no tables at all when they finally found some they were three different hights and we ALLWAYS have twelve foot double depth with space behind ,when they put up the two six ft tables for some reason the tables would not fit into 11ft 4inches and even if they had there was was no access to the back without going at the back of two other trade stands ,which then meant we couldn’t set up untill they re organised us into another hall .Traders are just as important to an exhibition as the layouts as their stand rent helps to pay the layout expenses .
The worst thing I’ve had was when I was asked to help a mate with his layout ,we turned upon the Friday evening to set up ,asked where the layout was going ,were told along the back wall of the hall ,when we measured the wall it was 28ft my mates layout was 32ft when we found the organiser we asked him when the builder was coming to build the extension to the hall all he said was can’t you just leave a board out , needless to say we didn’t unload the layout and the organiser was very rude when my mate asked for his expenses for the hire of the van .
A few people think it’s easy to organise a show ,all you do is ask Layouts and traders to come , job done .Then panic when they realise there is a lot of work involved .
They don’t think of access ,electric sockets ,width of the isles ,gaps for operators ,tables for traders if booked or the fact that some exhibitors have travelled miles etc etc .
Hope this will help an organiser to make a really great show for everyone involved including the public .
Bob Tidbury

« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 07:06:03 PM by Bob Tidbury »

Online crewearpley40

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 07:04:30 PM »
bob

echo that

width of aisles to stop overcrowding, aisles space important

help with loading / unloading

access to disabled toilets

stewards need training and be polite on look out for those who may not be mobile than others, watch for fire exits, hazards eg wires


clear planning is needed .... Let's take a look at the expectations from both sides of the fence.

The exhibition manager of a larger show wants:


A large selection of good model railways which will 'wow' the visitors. Remember, you want them to come back next year.
   
That exhibitors will not let you down at the last minute.
   
That exhibitors set up their layouts in time and are ready to operate when the doors open.

     
That the layouts are properly run during the opening times and exhibitors do not start to pack up early.
   
That  someone is available to answer questions from the public.

     
That the exhibitors cause the least amount of bother to the organiser and demand the smallest amount of expenses for getting there.


The exhibitor's requirements are perhaps more varied but here are some factors to consider:


That the exhibition manager sends them a complete information pack about what is expected of them and about the locality they are visiting before the exhibitor commits to the venue, map, railway station, parking for vans, cars

     
That if the venue is away from your local area, suitable accommodation is provided. The exhibitor may even wish accommodation for the night after the show rather than drive home exhausted through the night.
   
That acceptable expenses are paid to cover your costs.
   

That acceptable free food and drink is provided for during the show.
   

That there is security for the layout at the venue during the evenings and at night.
   

That it is properly insured during transit and during the show.
   
That the layout is protected from the ravishes of the public by good barriers and not just chairs
   

That there is a good 'social opportunity' for exhibitors.
   

That the exhibitor feels valued and cared for.

adequate lighting
free of draughts

exhibitors will know what their requirements are to operate their railway and should have made these very clear to the exhibition manager. If you arrive and the facilities promised are not provided, don't give in. Insist on your table, operating space or whatever else you required. If they are not forthcoming, don't give in to emotional blackmail. Pack up and go home.

« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 07:16:12 PM by crewearpley40 »
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Online ntpntpntp

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 07:07:03 PM »
I've taken my layouts to what must be over 80 shows since the 80s.   The vast majority of organisers and clubs have looked after my team and I well.  Naturally we have accumulated a couple of horror stores: dodgy accommodation over a pub with no working locks on the doors is one that springs to mind!

Reasonably adjacent source of mains power has sometimes been a problem on first arrival though usually sorted out fairly rapidly.  It's actually been some of the big shows where we've had to wait until the official "sparky" has sorted out a supply.

Lunch provision really is pretty much a necessity, and availability of tea/coffee or squash.

Don't think I've ever encountered any quibbling over pre-arranged expenses.

Actually, the last show I was at did something I've never encountered before: they came round with a pack or two of digestive biscuits per layout to keep us going through the day. A small gesture but really welcome!

Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline The Q

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2019, 08:24:28 AM »
I think the above covers everything I would want.

It also covers everything our club provides, except we can't do barriers.

We do however provide a bacon butty an hour before show opening time, and unlimited free tea and coffee all through the show.

Our  problems with exibitors,
Those who can't measure their own layout properly  and to include what working space they want. Our floor is marked up with masking tape the night before and a chair (more if requested) placed on each layout position with layout name. With power led to within 5ft of a layout. Normally a member will meet each exhibitor as they arrive and show them to their space.

Each layout is given tickets for the number of Exhibitors requested, the bacon butty tickets and timed tickets for lunch (due to limited dining space).  Getting exhibitors to lunch at the right time can be like rounding up cats..

At setting up and "demolishing" our members assist both traders and exhibitors.

We did have one layout turn up that was not expected, an enquiry had been made to see if it would be available, But not followed up with an exhibition form (layout sizes, dietry requirements, special requests). Luckily it was only a very small layout and we managed to get them in...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 09:04:14 AM by The Q »

Online GrahamB

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2019, 08:41:41 AM »
I do think that barriers of some sort are essential.

Yes it deters the fully grown children from poking and prodding (The real children are less of a problem) but it also keeps everyone away from the edge and gives more people a chance to see what's going on.

I accept a row of chairs in front with the seats facing out or a promise that there are good wide aisles.

Regarding teas etc. I misread one invite which read "tea and coffee is available". I assumed it would be free.........

Offline bridgiesimon

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2019, 10:40:07 AM »
I would like to agree to most of the above, although I disagree about barriers. As my layouts are front operating, I find them to be a mega pain in the arse, I have been to some shows where they insist on them giving me access issues. I had to set up further away from the public than I would have liked.

My most important -
Communication -  I had a show organised get really stroppy with me, we spoke about possibly attending his show, i gave him info and never heard anything. we got an invite complete with full written confirmation with a friends layout elsewhere and as I had heard nothing and no reply to emails, we accepted the other show. He got in touch a couple of weeks before and send me a VERY rude email when I apologise and declined, yes I will NOT be going there if invited again!
Organised team - knowing who to get info from, we have arrived at several shows and spend loads of time wandering around trying to find someone to show us where to set up!
Decent information pack before the show - many shows send out info before with directions, accommodation info, hall plans etc - VERY helpful
Grub and drinkies - grub less important esp if we know beforehand but drinkies during the day sooo important, one of our main N gauge shows offer NOTHING!!!
Having electrics organised before we arrive - not many things more frustrating than getting set up and waiting for ages before being able to check it all works!
Friendliness - something that is rarely missing at the shows we have been to but there have been a couple I would not go back to.
Expenses in cash on the last day - I have been through a couple of years in the past of being VERY skint and got expenses as a cheque or even worse, once, the cheque was sent in the post a few days later (Yes it was a very big show as well, no excuse)! I used to need the money to get fuel to get home!
Club members helping unload/load - although we rarely need it, having the help offered is a great ice breaker/appreciated show of support and I am sure vital if you are on your own.

Am sure there are other things but that will do for now, got terraced house garden walls to build!

Best wishes
Simon
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 10:42:11 AM by bridgiesimon »

Offline PWayman

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Re: Exhibitors - what do you appreciate from exhibition organisers?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2019, 11:05:57 AM »
From the other side of the fence, and I have been on both,  One major thing I think exhibition organisers should seriously consider is allowing accompanied children into the exhibition for free. Manchester MRS did this at their Christmas Show and the effect was quite startling in my eyes.  A lot of children there and some exhibitors and stewards had gone out of their way to make them welcome. It also no doubt increased the incidence of paying Mums and Dads as it was well advertised prior to the exhibition.
.  At our club show a number of years ago I took my turn at the paydesk and it was painful the amount that hard pressed families were being asked to pay. I did not like this and put my views across strongly after the exhibition.
   Surely a good way to get the young ones interested at an early age, Something the hobby really needs.

   

 

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