Holiday…NO, Labor Day…wait…Really?

Holiday?

Tradeshowgypsies have to make their own holidays! The Labor Day Holiday is usually the kick-off to the fall trade show season –get ready this year is going to be a lulu! This means is it a prime show-set-up weekend with labor costs doubling or even tripling!

Adding insult to injury! Be wary as your travel can be quite the challenge. With some families and schools starting after Labor Day families are trying to squeeze in that last tiny bit of summer, or college students who may be having a bit of angst moving into dorms and the starting of classes; not that they are going home necessarily but they are traveling out for a little break before full-blown focused time hits between now and the “real” holidays (gypsies are rarely home for Halloween and Thanksgiving is always in question).

With all the whooharrah in the airports, there you are with you trusty gypsy suitcase loaded with work suits (polo-latest color and logo/button down just in case/black, black, black…ok last days of khaki, khaki and those show set-up jeans, etc. etc.) sigh.

Thinking of family or friends that are going to be “celebrating” in whatever manner, makes a gypsy quite sad and frustrated with the traveling situation. Feeling like a cast off and “working” the gypsy mind goes on thinking, all of this is for free-as of course tradeshowgypsies are on salary! But, you get to travel, you know that wonderful vacation type travel that your colleagues who do not travel all swear you have the easiest job!

HURRUMPH! Visions of hauling them out of their family outing and making them stand in this line with the screaming 6-3-0 year old(s) and overwhelmed parents; college students laughing and carrying on with no tags on their bags not to mention where is my ID?? GRRRR you think, just go, go, the kiosk is open! You drop your trusty gypsy suitcase for its next meet-up with a variety of its own challenges *please make it one more trip! After many other irritating incidents you finally arrive at your home-base window seat (necessary to keep from head-bob during the nap that begins before plane is off the ground).

As you open those groggy eyes and the plane touches down at the new camp, a switch goes off in your body and brain. The gypsy magic has occurred and you are on GO! No more anxiety with other travelers, time to fetch the magic tradeshowgysy suitcase and bring this show to life! Amazing, how those holidays that are cut short seem to meld away into just another, “I avoided the DOUBLE-TIME for SHOW LABOR day!”

You just saved Labor day costs, don’t forget to keep track of those savings as the % of money you saved your company by traveling on the holiday, your hotel room/food if you get any is only about 1 hour worth of labor costs, so yes you saved money!

If I can say one thing about missing many holidays being a tradeshowgypsy – make sure to cut a deal with your clan leader and get your Holiday(s) and make them special! Your family, friends, TSG Cat knows you are missing those holidays so be creative and don’t just clean house or sleep…make those days HOLIDAYS! Safe Travels gypsies!

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Show Gypsies are Olympic Triathletes! …wait …Really?

Gypsy Muscle - I did look for a medal...honest!

First rule of the charter…write everything down a few different places! As tradeshowgypsies we are expected to be Olympic qualified triathletes – multi-tasking, organized, with attention to detail of course! You also really do have to lift, push, shove, run, and operate a tape gun! If you are woman it is in heels! :))

So my gypsies, my method to the madness was to write everything down on paper, on-line (iPad/Mobile Device), and on a white board. The white-board worked the best because it was large and the visual would help keep the show calendar in my head. This is also useful for your boss who is wondering, where is that gypsy now? You can also add equipment if you are managing several shows at the same time or have back-to-back shipments that may require extra attention; or any other information that would be helpful to you.  My board also had a space to check off showing that I had completed my show orders.

Having a show spreadsheet that includes everything: name of show, market segment, booth cost, type of booth sent, new graphics yes or no, estimated shipping costs, ancillary services and costs, budgeted amount, show staff attending, products, demos, and if there are additional costs for VIPs (meeting rooms etc.) that may have been added and the date they were added so that you can verify additional costs for the event.

At the end of the event add in the number of leads, pictures, and/or write-ups from press. All of this is extremely useful when managing your reports and requests for specific information on lead generation/business development/cost-analysis/justification. This report also can give you an idea for shows that are done annually for planning (early remember)!. Once you get a template set-up it is not near as bad as it might seem to populate. Of course you have to be a detail oriented, organized, multi-tasking Gypsy Olympian!

With changes in staff or double-booked shows the above information is critical for the person that is physically managing the show and for the individual that may be covering the show for you if you are double-booked!

Wait…Where is that muscle guy when you need him?

One word of WARNING! Gypsies BEWARE! Having notes where your peers can determine how long you will be gone can be dangerous! Not only are you subject to pranks in your office/cube; but you may not have one when you get back! That did happen to me, our team moved offices while I was gone and when I came back a good-hearted soul had moved all of my stuff into another office! I was gone for about 6 weeks in a row and I was evicted by a famous Graphic Design Director (you know who you are! 😉 He was trying to sublet my cube!  He also changed my name tag title on my cube to read Trade Show Goddess after exceeding a certain number of shows per year. Of course our new CEO at the time wanted to know how she could get a title like that…errrr well?

So beware of those “creative-types” they will lease out your space when you are gone too long if they have access to your calendar and promote you! FYI – He is the Best creative designer I know! Let me know if you need one…I might just give his name out…for a few gold coins across the palm…specifically today…gold only!!! 🙂

Lost or found…wait Really?

No with a smile 🙂

Here is a word to the wise and a much shorter article for my gypsies today…

Word to the wise: DO NOT LET PEOPLE STORE THINGS IN YOUR BOOTH~

I cannot tell you how many times I would drum that into my fellow gypsies! As they would walk up with a customer, partner, etc. that came with luggage! The staff taking their laptops for use at the show is also a no-no. I understand people have to work but leaving huge brief cases stacked in the small, unsecure booth is just a flat-out NO!  Especially on tear-down…get-away day!

FYI – booths are temporary structures, which with one shove of a good gypsy hip can be opened! With many people coming through the booth it can be almost
impossible to define “who done it?”!

As a responsible show manager you always worry about someone else’s things being in your booth; and 9 out of 10 they show up in the morning dump it in your booth and they are off to the races, and at the end of the day they are heading for the door with the herd in full MOO! (My Opinion Only) discussions and they won’t remember until they are half way to the nearest watering hole! Then YOU get THE call! Can you bring…or I can’t get back on the show floor (non-exhibitor of course). Or worse yet, you have the mystery black bag that no one remembers to whom it belongs or that person is now in a panic at the airport trying to remember where they left their, bag, purse, jacket, notebook, child, carry-on!

So gracefully decline and find out where the show has a checked baggage area or just say sorry and beat your staff later for having brought them under the “assumption” that they could leave their things in the booth. Hence the gypsies get a bad rap for missing or found items!

Show buzzed yikes!…wait Really?

Ever have one of those days on the show floor when you know something is different…

Visiting a show as a guest I was meeting with the show organizers to get a feel for the layout and logistics of the event. Arriving early and heading toward the keynote venue, I noticed there was a definite buzz on the show floor but it sounded like a microphone had gone bad, you know that screech that sends everyone’s hands up to their ears.

 
As I headed toward the noise, I noticed something odd, the microphone
was attached to a person and it was lying on the stage!  My instincts sent me running, as I approached the individual, there was a definite odor of “under–the-influence”, and the noise had an additional sound to it, snoring! I pulled the microphone out of the hand and called the show organizer to let them know they had more than a broken microphone issue! I didn’t even turn the person over, I didn’t want to know!

Kudos to show management for the swift and discrete way they handled the situation! I also received the VIP treatment at the event for keeping things under wraps which I greatly appreciated. There are still gypsy secrets that shall remain that way!

Share your wild and unbelievable show stories…I know there are tons, we share them at every show!