A Guide to Planning Your Trade Show Transportation

trade-show-transportationTrade shows may be a core part of marketing for your business, but getting your materials to the venue on time and intact takes careful planning. It also requires specialized expertise, including knowledge of the inbound shipping process, material handling best practices, and post-show exit strategies. 

Plenty of businesses attempt to DIY this planning stage, but without the proper expertise, you could run the risk of shipping delays or damage upon delivery. For these reasons, and more, using a trade show transportation provider like Pyramid Logistics is key to avoiding any bottlenecks before they arise. 

At Pyramid Logistics, we’re no strangers to trade show transportation. From the E3 Expo and Consumer Electronics Show to Comic-Con and more, our team is deeply connected to the trade show scene, especially in Las Vegas, where we hold a partnership with the Wynn. The convenience of having a proprietary warehouse in Vegas is incredibly helpful for businesses who require advance warehousing before their event, making us a premier trade show transportation provider in Nevada

Now, we’re summing up our knowledge to show you how to best plan out the logistics of your upcoming trade show. Learn more about the process and best practices, and be sure to consult a logistics provider such as Pyramid Logistics to ensure your exhibit goes off without a hitch. 


The Trade Show Transportation Process

When planning out your trade show transportation before an event, there are three key phases to consider: inbound shipping, material handling, and outbound transportation. Having a streamlined process for each stage will prevent bottlenecks and delays – ensuring that your booth, display, and any products or prototypes arrive safely and without a scratch. 


Inbound Shipping

The inbound shipping process starts long before the trade show begins when you decide whether to send your materials to a warehouse, or directly to the event. 

For larger exhibits, advance warehousing helps avoid potential delays while allowing for time for assembly and setup. As for smaller booths, direct shipping is a fitting solution. The key here is to work closely with your trade show transportation provider to coordinate your inbound logistics. 

Other parts of the shipping process, such as proper labeling, shipping documentation, and tracking information, will also help keep your shipment on schedule. Once the details of your inbound shipping are sorted, it’s time to shift focus to material handling. 


Material Handling

Material handling refers to how your trade show materials are unloaded, stored, and delivered, as well as the removal of empty crates and debris. A good first step here is to consult the official show contractor to align your material handling with event specifications. This will smoothen the process during buy mo-in and move-out stages. 

We recommend confirming any special delivery instructions, such as side door access or forklift requirements, again to avoid any potential bottlenecks before the show. Proper communication with your trade show transportation provider, as well as the show’s contractor, is vital to clearing this phase of planning.


Outbound Shipping

Just as important as getting your materials to the event, is having a plan for outbound shipping once the show wraps up. Trade show transportation providers like Pyramid Logistics can supply shipping labels, bills of lading, and pack up crates post-show if needed. 

We suggest confirming ahead of time whether you want your materials returned to a home warehouse, or sent elsewhere. Planning an exit strategy with your logistics partner and locking it in place will prevent headaches during the tear-down stage.


Types of Trade Show Transportation 

Before you move on to material handling and outbound shipping, you’ll have to choose between advance warehousing and direct-to-event shipping. While the former is typically preferable for larger exhibits or out-of-state events, the latter is more suitable for smaller events that may be in closer proximity. 


Advance Warehousing

For larger exhibits, advance warehousing sends your shipment to a warehouse near the event far before the starting date. This allows for more assembly time and flexibility in case anything is delayed. Warehousing also avoids bottlenecks with hundreds of trucks arriving on the same day. Just remember to confirm a date for delivery from the warehouse to your booth space, so that no last-minute issues crop up.


Direct-to-Show Shipping

As the name implies, direct shipping brings your materials straight to the show site. This works best for smaller exhibits that require minimal installation, and is lower in cost when compared to advance warehousing since you’re only paying for delivery to and from the event. 

However, direct-to-show shipping leaves little margin for error if transportation sees any delays. Clear these potential hurdles by talking to your transportation provider about the best mode of direct shipping based on your location, venue, and timeline. 


Considerations During the Planning Stage

Trade show transportation is a delicate art, and if it’s not handled properly, you could see delays before the event. Even worse, your trade show booth and any products you bring along may be damaged if they’re not handled properly. By working with a trade show transportation provider, you can take these stressors off your plate and ensure that every stage of the process is smooth, including:

  • Size & Weight of Your Materials: How many pallets, crates, and individual pieces need to be transported? Are there any oversized or heavy items requiring special equipment? 
  • Safe, Efficient Delivery: What are your requirements for pickup, transport, unloading, assembly, and return shipping? 
  • Tear Down & Exit: Do you have a firm outbound shipping plan for transporting materials post-show? 
  • Timing: Have you confirmed order deadlines and timelines for advance warehousing, shipping arrivals and departures, and material handling?

As a business owner and avid exhibitor, don’t go it alone with your trade show transportation. Avoid the risk of damage and delays by partnering with a firm like Pyramid Logistics – where we’ve been handling the event shipping for countless clients over the past 25 years.


Streamline Your Trade Show Transportation with Pyramid Logistics

Are you DIY-ing your trade show logistics, and finding yourself frustrated with all of the details? Along with being stressful, this can open up the risk of delayed or damaged trade show shipments – especially without the necessary logistical expertise. Leave the logistical planning to us at Pyramid Logistics, where we’ve been delivering streamlined trade show experiences for countless businesses for the past 25 years. 

Located in Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, Pyramid Logistics is equipped to deliver warehousing and logistics services near our facilities and nationwide. If you’d like to learn more about partnering with us, request a consultation by filling out a form on our website.