Business to Business Online Expos

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It’s Hard to go Swimming in a Blizzard

AtlanticCityThe Pool and Spa Show [2015] just wrapped up at the Atlantic City Convention Center yesterday and it’s pretty safe to gather that Attendees were hesitant to come out for a dip with dipping temperatures and a blizzard threatened to slam South Jersey.

MARTIN DeANGELIS of Press of Atlantic City wrote, “The weather apparently held attendance down a bit Tuesday — even if the snow was nowhere near as much as most forecasters feared, at least in New Jersey. But the organizers and vendors said they expected the crowds to pick up before the show ends Thursday.”

But it didn’t.

Not by much anyway.

And Exhibitors that spent thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars were very disappointed with the results.

No one is blaming the expo itself, their sponsors or convention center. It wasn’t their fault.

It’s that little unforeseen thing that happens sometimes called, “Act of God”. There’s nothing anyone can do about it and for those who frequent the trade shows every year, it’s not the first time this has happened–and definitely won’t be the last.

Every year, businesses spend collectively over $8 billion dollars to exhibit at trade shows. Companies do this because expos are a necessary part of doing business. However, aside from high costs, office interruptions, weather disruptions and employee wrangling, there is another issue 9 out of 10 business owners will tell you they have with these shows.

Lack of time.

A 2-3 day long expo doesn’t give companies enough time to see even half of the current and potential customers they are planning to connect with.

Trade shows are an important part of doing business. I’m not implying that your company shouldn’t attend them. With most businesses, showing at an expo is crucial for growth.

What I am saying is, if there was a way for you and your company to exhibit at an industry specific, on-going business to business trade show, with an unlimited amount of attendees from all over the world, at a cost about 98% less expensive then what you would spend at your typical show, would this be of interest to your company?

If you answered, “YES”, click HERE.

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Engaging Attendees at Your Booth

I love the Swag Vending Machine! Awesome idea!

 What other things can you do to make your convention experience better for others?

Some great ideas here.


To reach professionals worldwide in your specific industry check out!

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i.T.S. Bringin’ Biz Peeps Together


Click on the photo to view larger.


The next-generation of Trade Shows has arrived! Whether you’re an Exhibitor, Attendee, Buyer, Manufacturer or member of the Press, [iTS] has you covered. We are the destination for the employee, the employer, the self employed and even those looking for employment.

Online Expos is the first and only online expo portal where businesses can display and sell their products, market their services and network with a large industry specific user base.

The Show Floor Never Closes

Stay connected to hundreds of thousands of Attendees and Exhibitors in the comfort and convenience of your home or office 24/7. Plus, the show stays open all year long and is constantly updated.

How Do I Participate?

Signing up is easy. Just click on this link, choose the expo(s) that best represents your industry and click on the Exhibit Now or Attendees button. Fill out a few short fields and you’re ready to join the show.

All Things Trade Shows

In addition to our in-house online expos, iTS is your one-stop-shop for breaking news, entertaining blogs, cutting edge podcasts, media, floor plans and every resource you need for All Things Trade Shows!

How Can My Company Exhibit in the Online Expos?

Becoming an Exhibitor is quick and easy. You’re just a few clicks away to reaching a business to business audience worldwide. Our autobooth-builder will guide you through the set up process and our knowledgeable team is always on stand-by to assist as well.

What Others Say

Let’s face it, anytime that you do a live show, there’s no way of knowing what your success rate is going to be. It could be huge sales or no sales. What iTS can do is fill in the gap for you. It’s gonna help you throughout the year to constantly do that kind of business that you do at the live shows. Companies won’t have to rely so heavily on making huge profits at the show, they can reach people all year long.  –Kim Thornton, Exhibitor

I attend 40-50 expos per year as I cover trade shows for a variety of agencies and publications. This web portal is the answer to so many business to business needs. Not only are the online expos a great way to keep commerce alive inbetween the traditional shows, but the media and resources this site offers are refreshingly original and entertaining.  –Lisa Marie Brandt, Press


For more information visit


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Expo Exit Poll

Acts of God aren’t the only events that could heartbreak [or wallet-break] a company that is looking forward to exhibiting in various trade shows. There are so many horror stories out there from companies that had great plans for a convention, until disaster hit by events out of their control.

What about you? What caused you or your company to ‘exit’ past conventions. Heck, maybe you didn’t even make it to the show. Let us know!


Imagine if there was a place that incorporated all the aspects of a traditional trade show but offered the experience online, 24/7/365? A place where people could still have a business to business experience, show new products, network with other industry specific peers and customers? 

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Booth #1436: Isn’t a hanging sign supposed to be hanging?

tradeshowboothMel White is the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Classic Exhibits Inc., a designer and manufacturer of portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibits. He also writes a blog over at TSNN and I really enjoyed his recent post, “What You Don’t See at a Trade Show”.  In it, he makes funny references about things we all take for granted when exhibiting.  The kinds of lazy behavior that we always vow never to have, but by Day 3, things naturally start getting sloppy.

Here are just a few White’s funny examples:

Booth #853. Four 42″ monitors. I understand the effect can be very impressive . . . when on.

Booth #103. Say again. What? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the music and the Shamwow dude pitching your products.

Booth #614. I’ve seen more padding in a Victoria’s Secret catalog.

Booth #2007. So it leans a little to the left? And a lot to the right? What’s the big deal?

Booth #777. Can you make the magician disappear? I’d like to learn more about your company.

Anyone who has ever exhibited before can totally relate to this piece.

Read the rest of Mel’s article here.

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Exhibitor Pitfalls to Watch Out for

pitfallI’ve been involved in various employment roles or career choices scattered over a variety of industries.  Entertainment, Heating and Air Conditioning, Automobile, Restaurant, Dry Cleaning, Tech and now, Trade Show. I know that’s an interesting pool of experience to fathom but when you have the blessing (and the curse) of being able to fill multiple roles at a professional level, sometimes ya just do.  Please don’t mistake that last declaration as conceited or cocky. Being a jack of all trades and master of “most” makes it hard to find stability.  But…I keep going, using my skills and experience, believing that success is not far down the road.

In any event, with all the people I’ve connected with through all of the industries I’ve been involved with, I’ve noticed that the Trade Show Industry is by far the most cooperative and informative with their community.  I get more open and quality free advice and participation from the people who work behind the scenes, the news agencies, the bloggers and associations, then I have in any other niche’.

Case and point, I read a piece from Charles Dugan over at American Image Displays that warned exhibitors about booth pitfalls to avoid. As I was reading his well put together post, a chat window popped up and it was him, Charles, the author, asking if he could help me.  I was really impressed.  Now I know that these chat features are common with websites today but usually the person on the other end is a minimum wage temp or a service out of state (or even out of the country).  I really appreciated the author of the story that I was reading, checking in with me.

And the content of his post was even better.  Enjoy it below and take notes.  These are very helpful tips for you as you prepare for your next expo.

Pre-Show Pitfalls:

1. Not Reading The Exhibitor’s Manual Thoroughly.

No trade show organizer has ever won a prize for great prose in the creation of an exhibitor’s manual, and some are tougher to slog through than others. But they are created for a reason. Every rule and regulation you’ll need to follow should be in there, as well as every deadline you need to hit, along with the penalties for not doing so. You’ll pay an average of 10-20% more for every service you sign up for late (or even more of a penalty, heaven forbid, on the show floor), so save your company’s money and your sanity by going through the manual and following its instructions.

2. Not Setting Specific Objectives.

This is the entire reason you’re at a trade show: to accomplish something. Knowing what that is, and what it will look like when you’ve done it, is of paramount importance to the success of your exhibiting efforts. Make sure your exhibiting goals are aligned with your corporate marketing strategy so they work together to support your brand. Once you’ve developed your objectives, share them with your team and enlist their support in accomplishing them.

3. Not Allowing Enough Time For Shipping.

Trust me. It’s no fun showing up at the convention center and finding out your trade show display is stuck in a warehouse in Poughkeepsie. Or that the truck was in an accident in Duluth.

To avoid this, ship your exhibit to the advance warehouse with time to spare. That accomplishes two things. First, it virtually eliminates any chance that your trade show booth will go missing. And second, it gives you the best odds to have your booth delivered to your exhibit space early on the first day of set-up.

That solves so many problems! For example, if something is broken or missing, you’ll have time to take care of it without rushing around like your hair is on fire.

Shipping at the last minute is prohibitively expensive, so a little advance planning can save a bundle. It’s also a good idea to have a list of emergency contacts, so if there is a problem, you’ll know who to contact and how to reach them.

4. Leaving Production Of Graphics To The Last Minute.

We’ve worked with clients who not only left the preparation of their graphics to the last minute, but they also didn’t even know what they wanted the graphics to say until the eleventh hour! Save yourself the headaches and stress that arise from last minute pandemonium, and give your graphics producer six weeks to prepare what you need. Consider investing in a second set, in case they get lost or damaged.

To read the rest of his piece about pitfalls “At the Show”, click HERE.


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Booth music fines could cost you more than the show

Music Fines

$150,000 just for playing “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Not too many years ago, after the booth was all set up and the doors were opened, I would set up my CD player and put on my best mix CD of current popular hits.  I turned the speakers to about 6 or 7 (the most I was able to get away with from show organizers) and the music attracted extra visitors who would stumble in sometimes based on curiosity.

While I knew not to play this CD on my webcast station because of copyright infringement, I never even gave it a thought that my live presentations were putting my company at risk of being sued for tens of thousands.

Thankfully, we never got caught.  But today, exhibitors at trade shows are getting hit hard by publishing companies who want their cut when it comes to using their artists.

Due North Audio writes, “Unless you have purchased a license specifically for a trade show or conference, you won’t be able to play popular songs or remixes. The reason being is that artists have to be compensated if their music is being played in public. Music is influential and can alter people’s emotions so an artist’s song can directly affect your ability to have a successful trade show and increase business from the event. If songs are used without permission, you have declined to acknowledge the important role that the music had on your visitors’ energy. Since music is apart of your selling process, artists must be compensated as being apart of that process.”

Fines can be given up to $150,000 per infraction.

Read more HERE.

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Bad to the Bone Booth Staff

Bad Booth Staff

Bad Booth Staffers

I found a great little piece on the web about bad booth staffers.  If you are an exhibitor, you’ll be able to relate to this. Take notes. Some of these can help you at your next expo. writes:

He did what? She said what? And in our booth.

You may be surprised at the Booth Staffers Behaving Badly that goes on at trade shows.  Or, maybe not, since you’ve had to endure it yourself; staffers so bad they were actually dragging down your corporate image, losing more business than they brought in.

Unfortunately, there always have been, and always will be bad booth staffers. Here’s a list of some of the perpetrators:

1. The Networker:  The Networker spends most of his booth staff shift talking, but instead of having concise conversations with clients and prospects, he whiles away the expensive show hours talking with other sales people, corporate management, and anyone else who will listen — as long as he doesn’t have to actually take a lead.

2. The Fire Hose:  Instead of asking attendees good questions, listening for specific pains, needs, and goals, and responding with an appropriate presentation, the Fire Hose lets loose the same unending stream of corporate speak, drowning the attendee with irrelevant messages.  They offend your booth visitors and wash away your return on investment at the same time.

3. The Wall Flower:  While being an introvert is no barrier to great booth staffing, a Wall Flower lacks the courage and initiative to start a conversation with passing attendees.  Booth staffers that wait on the sidelines for attendees to walk in the booth will get a small fraction of the leads of a staffer willing to engage visitors in the aisle.

4. The Debbie Downer:  While constructive criticism is essential for growth, Debbie Downers are permanently parked in a dark place. These perpetually pessimistic people are a danger to your company’s brand, as they drag down their fellow booth staffers by their continuous complaining about each and everything possible. They don’t exactly light up the world with prospects, either!

5. The Invisible Man:  While not activity destroying your brand equity through poor performance, The Invisible Man (or Woman) doesn’t show up for their booth shift, leaving your remaining staff to pick up the load, and lowering your lead count potential.  Even worse is if your Invisible Man has essential, unique expertise, such as demonstrating a new product.

Read the rest of them HERE.

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The Missing Booth

Missing Booth

You and your team arrive, but your booth doesn’t!

Ed Avis is the publisher of el Restaurante Magazine, a trade publication for owners of Mexican/Latin restaurants in the United States, where he also writes a blog online. Look for my upcoming podcast interview with Avis for Trade Show On-Air, expected to be available on iTunes later this week.

In one of Ed’s archives, I found an entertaining post called “Trade Show Horror Stories“, with one particular story about a show he participated in at the Javits Center in New York City, where it appeared they lost his company’s booth.

Avis writes, “One time Kathy (one of the magazine editors) arrived at a food show at the Javits Center in New York and the el Restaurante Mexicano display was missing. The tracking information showed that it had arrived at Javits, so Kathy knew it was there somewhere. But show management couldn’t find it. Fortunately the magazines did show up, so Kathy had something to hand out to people wondering what her blank booth was all about (in fact, she says she probably attracted more people than she would have with her normal booth). The show ended and the booth was never found…but six months later it arrived back at our office!”

Six months later!  And they just sent it back like nothing happened.  This actually happens more often then you would expect at convention centers worldwide.

What do you do if this happens to you? says, “The first thing you need to do is gather what you do have. Did you and your staff carry certain items for the show; graphics, products, brochures, anything that you can create a new display around?  Once you gather everything together, your new foundation is set. The next steps are hectic but all doable. Someone needs to contact your main office and have them ship overnight any additional products or brochures to you right away for the show opening. Then have them email you your artwork for your graphics. There are many printers that can expedite your printing (at a higher cost) so you can create an atmosphere for your booth space. It is better to always have a digital copy of your graphics, just in case, and to always carry some supplies with you instead of packing everything with your display booth, (this could help with those last minute unexpected costs). The show manager should have tables and chairs that you can rent to furnish your space and with a touch of creativity (and a local craft store) you can have a great space.”

Take a deep breath. Don’t panic. If you scramble calmly with minimal stress, you’ll allow your creative side to kick in and save the day. Like Kathy said in Ed’s story above, the awkward booth adjustment may have attracted more people to her booth then she would have with her typical set up.

And when all else fails, throw a little humor in the mix. wrote, ” An alternative might be to order a bold banner stand or sign that says, “Coming Soon! The Lost (Company Name Here) Trade Show Display!”  Attendees always appreciate humor, and they’ll probably stop by to commiserate with you, particularly if they’ve ever been in your shoes.”

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Tales from “An Exhibitor”

Union Set Up

Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. If the union is supposed to set something up, it is probably a good idea to let them.

In today’s Tales from “An Exhibitor”, I spoke with Mark R. of  ** (company name omitted per Mark’s request).

After sharing a few inside stories and experiences, Mark told me about some early booth set-up tricks that he does every show to avoid paying union fees.

“Let’s face it, the union guys at these shows really take you to the cleaners,” Mark said. “I mean sometimes you have to cut a few corners to save money.  First of all, anything you can carry, make sure you carry it–even if it means multiple trips from the parking lot or hotel room.”

Mark was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently.  “The trick is, to come early on set-up day,” Mark continued. “The union guys are busy setting up booths so they’re not policing people as much when it comes to load in.  I take as many staffers as possible and fill up those big military style bags with as much as I can. DVD players, flyers, hard drives…heck, I’ve snuck in monitors, speakers strobe lights and small tables and chairs.  We strap ’em up like backpacks and look like we’re going to war.  When you’re pretty much first to arrive at set up time, you get less resistance.  You won’t get away with setting up major things by yourself, but don’t let them push you into assembling things that you have every right to set up.”

“What kind of things do you mean?” I asked.

“I had a union guy tell me I wasn’t allowed to set up my PA system one year,” Mark replied.  “It was two speakers, two stands, a mixing board and a couple of microphones.  As I began opening the stands, he squirmed into my booth on the prowl and told me that I have to let the union assemble that.  I defended my right to self-assemble on the grounds that it was simple and ridiculous to pay $400 or whatever it was for their help.  I made such a strong, convincing argument to the guy that by the time I was finished talking, I was also finished setting up.  He walked away a little annoyed.”

According to The Trade Show Marketing Network Group,  the union guy Mark is referring to in Las Vegas may have been well within his rights to declare the work part of union regulations. Read below:

Electrical unions do electrical work, hang signs that are lighted or rotating, and work on any part of the booth that includes electricity (back lit headers, light boxes, clip on lights, plasma screens, AV equipment, etc.) An exhibitor may plug-in their equipment into the 1 (one) 20amp/120 VAC receptacle per booth and hang up to 4 (four) small clip-on lights per booth. An electrician must be called for any increase in electrical service. Electricians also hoist all teamster assembled signs weighing over 300 lbs at the LVCC and over 200 lbs at the Sands Exposition. Suspended light trusses for non-programmable lighting and ground supported truss intended to distribute overhead electrical equipment is also the work of the electricians union. Electricians are responsible for all under-carpet distribution of electrical, communication wiring (coaxial cable, fiber optics, telephone, etc.) 

“When it comes to setting up the construction of booths, bringing in cars, boats and extremely large items, I get it,” Mark volunteered. “But come on man, sometimes I think those guys get a commission for every item they set up.”

While Las Vegas used to be fairly “user friendly,” unions have tightened their grip on the city over the past five years. Especially rigorous are the regulations governing electrical services. If you have not exhibited in Las Vegas for a while, please review your Exhibitor Services Manual carefully for rules and regulations. While we appreciate Mark’s candor, we also don’t endorse playing games with the union.  Do not equate the fact that Nevada is a right to work state with liberty to do as you please within the convention centers. It is not the case.