Exhibiting at a trade show may be a challenging process especially if you are a newbie or if you are playing away and don’t know the rules of the game. Even if you’ve been exhibiting for years and dealing with international customers, you may feel yourself like an alien if it’s your first time exhibiting in European countries because there will definitely be several key differences between exhibiting in your own country (assuming you’re not from Europe) and in Europe. If you wish to overcome this challenge smoothly, take a look at these answers to the most important questions about exhibiting in Europe.
Do I need to work with a partner?
Yes, you’d better. If you are inexperienced with exhibiting in Europe, working with a partner from the region would be highly advantageous. Experienced exhibiting companies (especially if they’re doing business in the country that you’re about to exhibit) will help you a lot from making all needed arrangements, building your stand to transporting and other assistance services. This will definitely oil the wheels of exhibiting in a totally new region.
How should I define my budget?
Let’s accept that defining your budget will be more complicated if you’re exhibiting away. All the expenses should be calculated in that country’s currency and never dare to forget to add the shipping, lodging and any kind of unforeseen expenses together with your regular trade show exhibiting expenses. You should also bear in mind those communication costs (making calls or using wireless internet services) and add them to your budget.
What amount of electricity will I need?
Electricity will differ from country to country without any doubt. Before you travel to the country that you will exhibit in, you should check the electricity situation of that country. However this may not be enough. You should be on the alert for not being charged more money than actually needed.
Elise Simons explains this situation in one of her blog articles on NTH Degree saying: “Many exhibit managers have been known to accidently order double the amount of electricity actually needed. In the U.S. for example, your exhibit may require six, 16 amp (120 volt) outlets, for a total of 96 amps. On a German order form you might see one, 220 volt 16 amp outlet for $225*; however, you also see a 220 volt 8 amp outlet for $125. In this scenario, many American convention managers would order six of the 220 volt 16 amp outlets for a total of $1,350, plus the transformers required to convert 220 volt to 120 volt. What you may not realize is that a 16 amp outlet transformer will convert a 220 volt 8 amp outlet into a 120 volt 16 amp outlet. So, you can order the 220 volt 8 amp outlet for $750, which would save you $600 overall.”
Is English enough for a exhibiting in a European event?
Yes, it is actually. If you are exhibiting in an international European event, the exhibition language will be English. The local language will also be spoken of course but if you want to reach more and more clients, you and your booth staff should be experts in English. However, you don’t want to miss the other local clients who are only comfortable with their own language. So recruiting a fluent speaker, who is trained for your business of course, will do great for grabbing also the local clients.
Do I need to take any legal action before exhibiting?
Code regulations may differ in European countries. So you’ll need to check in advance if the event country requires any different meeting codes. Then all you need to is complete some paperworks before it’s not too late. If you’re working with an exhibition company partner, they may also help you on this.
How far in advance should I clear the goods from the customs?
To prevent any possible trouble just before the exhibition starts, it’s wise to get ready to clear your shipment from the customs about 1 week before the delivery. For shipping your exhibiting stuff, you’d better take action 30 days before the installation process starts.
Cultural preparation is a must before exhibiting in a European country, especially if you are highly unfamiliar to the culture of the country where you will be exhibiting. The etiquette and the manner may be quite different from your country’s and knowing nothing about them will likely leave you in embarrassment. So don’t forget that cultural awareness is a must before exhibiting in a foreign country, not necessarily in a European one.