Tag Archives: planning budgets for events

Tips on Seminar and Exhibition Pop Up Stand and Shell Schemes

Once you have prepared your strategy and objectives for attending an exhibition, completed the trade show Marketing Plan and prepared the budget you will know how much money you have to spend on the exhibition stand and the graphics.

From the outset you should have an idea of what type of exhibition stand you want and what you can afford from your budget. Some exhibitions are part of a conference where you either get a table and chair or can have your own pop up stand.

If you are exhibiting at a trade show you may have a choice of a shell scheme or freestanding space. The size of the shell scheme can vary depending on your budget but they normally have set dimensions. Most purpose-built shell schemes usually have three walls with standard furnishing. Some are corner stands with two walls or a free standing space of a specific size where you can design and build your own bespoke stand. The choice will depend on the type of show, the schemes available, your budget, and what it is you want to showcase on the stand.

Table and Chair, or Pop Up Stand

  • Table and chair. This format can be rather limiting but you can usually use floor-based pop up banners as a back drop or table-based pop up. You can promote your company name, product or message on the pop up.
    There are a variety of pop up banners which come in different width. Single or double sided banners are retractable, easy to carry in a case and are available in a variety of prices to suit your budget. If you are going to be using the banner at a number of events it is probably best to have a more expensive durable one.
  • When paying for a table and chair an electrical connection is normally included along with your company name exhibition entry.
  • One graphic option is to use Foamex display boards which are inexpensive and can be attached to poster boards.
  • Portable Pop Up Stand. If you want something a bit more custom-made then a pop up stand is useful. Again it can be re-used and comes with its own travelling boxes.
  • Varieties of modular exhibition stand with interlocking components can be found online at different prices. They vary in size and can be single or double sided, straight, curved or L shaped. They usually have a magnetic locking system to hold the panels together on tubing which is used for rigidity.
    The company branding and messages can be placed on the banner sides.
  • Digital LCD displays can be used for graphics and, although they are more expensive, it is easier for the content to be revised and refreshed
  • Ensure when putting away your stand that you pack the rolled graphics the right way to prevent them from getting scratched.
  • If using spotlights always carry extra bulbs and if exhibiting abroad make sure you have a European socket converter for an English plug!

Shell Schemes

Shell schemes are used at most major conference and event centres as a way of dividing hall space into individual sections or booths. Shell schemes are usually formed by a series of upright aluminium posts braced apart with cross-beams. The shell scheme normally has three sides but you can get a two-sided stand. The size of the shell will depend on the trade show floor plan. Shell schemes normally come with flooring, company name board, lights, basic furniture, and electric power. If more furniture is required you can order these from the trade show organiser.

To make your company stand out from other exhibitors use creative graphics and think of innovative ways to decorate the stand or shell scheme so that you are differentiated from the crowd. Solutions include using free-standing display stands and banners or attaching posters or panels to the walls of the stand using Velcro.

The problem with exhibition shell scheme systems is that the aluminium uprights stand proud of the wall panels. This causes problems when you want to create a large seamless back wall display rather than having a series of posters separated by the aluminium shell scheme uprights.

The Shell-Clad system provides a good solution for those who want to achieve maximum impact by decorating a shell scheme exhibition stand with edge to edge, mural-style wall graphics. It provides a simple yet ingenious way of attaching graphic panels to the shell scheme posts without the need for sticky tape or other messy fixings.

Shell-Clad adapters’ clips simply snap on to the upright pillars of the shell scheme and provide a Velcro-compatible surface onto which graphics can be attached.

Panels for the Shell-Clad system are normally produced in vertical strips using a durable, laminated, rollable material. This means that in most cases your exhibition graphics can be rolled and transported in a single box or storage drum.

Printdesigns is an example of a print company that produces panels for Shell-Clad exhibitions stands. In addition stand standard roll-panels Printdesigns can use materials like Foamex PVC or even dye sublimation printed fabric to create exhibition wall graphics for your stand that look good and are compatible with Shell-Clad adapters.

Normally the print company will provide both an artwork template and a plan of your stand to make it easy to design graphics and fit them later.

Tips on How to Run a Successful Conference or Seminar – Part 3 Your Budget

The last two blogs reviewed corporate reasons to have a conference and how to plan for a successful conference. There can be many business reasons why a company should consider having a conference, not least are that events are an important part of the marketing mix.  We will now outline the main check points to consider when budgeting for a seminar or a conference:

  • Setting the budget and having funds that is sufficient to fulfill the objectives and make sure that the event is executed to the right standard.  Details of setting a budget are discussed below.
  • Compile a checklist of:
    –  fixed costs which is around 35% of the budget costs
    – variable costs (per delegate) this is around 50% of the budget costs
    – calculate a reasonable contingency of around 15% of budget costs
    – review your costs regularly, it is most important to establish budgetary control of costs at the beginning of the project planning, to know where you can during the build up to the conference enhance the event or cut back
  • Fixed costs – these costs need to be covered regardless of the number of attendees.  Dependent on the type of conference it is normally staging and production which probably takes the largest proportion of the costs, with venue cost after this.
  •  fixed  production costs this include:
    • Staging – design of set, lecterns, backdrop, furnishings, graphics, banners, room decoration, floor plans
    • Audio Visual – such as screen, projection, video, camera recording, laser projection
    • Sound to include –  speakers, microphones of all types, CD Player, mixer, cabling, adaptors music copyright, creation
    • Speaker support – design, image production, animated images, script writing, training rehearsals
    • Lighting – design, equipment hire, installation crew, freight  transportation rigging and de-rigging costs
    • Crew – design and equipment hire, installation, freight transportation rigging and de-rigging, per diem, show caller, script assistant, and all the technicians for the above equipment used
  • Fees and Insurance – this includes, producers fee, speaker fees, event management fees if an agency is being used to help with pre event planning registration or logistics.  Also you may need to pay for equipment insurance, or event insurance for cancellation etc..
  • Invitation process – this will be a once only cost and is not dependent on the number of delegates attending this can include:
    • Invitation – design costs, print cost for direct mail, brochure, website setup, database list of invitees, telemarketing follow up.  Any advertising, posters and promotional costs as well as  follow up activity to boost delegate response
  • Venue hire to include function rooms and contracts, as well as additional venue costs such as for gala dinner if off site.
    – Normally you will have to pay a deposit on the room hire when booking for the event with a sliding scale of payment to be made as you approach the event.  You need to commit to a number of delegates when booking the room hire.  Note be aware of the cancellation fees and dates when confirming the contract, make sure from the outset that you know roughly within 20% your delegate numbers.  Also note that some conference centres do not always include the same services as hotels and these can sometimes be an additional charge to the room hire.
  • Set up Services – this includes security personnel, extra staff, on site signage, registration costs, secretarial services and other ancillary costs such as conference office costs, telephone and faxes.  Always check exactly what services are included and for what period they are offered.  Include wet weather back up if applicable, entertainment if you are having a gala dinner
  • The variable costs are usually the bulk of your budget, and this will be dependent on the number of delegates that you expect to attend.  It is vital to know or estimate the number of attendees before you can compile a working budget.  It is impossible to be absolutely accurate on your variable costs as conferences are dynamic events and ever changing, this is why it is important to create a workable budget in the early stages.  Past historical documentation can be valuable when looking at attendee numbers and booking trends as sometimes there is a last minute rush to register.  The variable items need to be checked carefully if the budget is to be kept under control.  If there is to be at the outset a significant variation in estimated number of delegates then you need to get agreement for a variable overall budget range.

variable costs include

    • Banqueting food & drink, refreshment breaks
      Delegate print materials, menus, table plans
      Ground transportation
      Table, room, speaker gifts
      Partner programme
      Social events
  • Contingency budget – always build in at least 15 % of variable and non variable budget as a contingency budget for the unexpected, such as additional drinks, crew overtime, additional catering, unforeseen printing costs etc…  You need to also put in here any currency conversion fluctuation to be covered.
  • Above are most of the expenditure amounts of the budget however you may also be able to generate some revenue at your event depending on your objective and type of event planned. These could be:
    • Charging an attendance fee, having different charges for early bird registration to normal attendance
    • Sponsorship from business partners, TPVs to cover such things as speakers, F&B entertainment, drinks reception
    • Advertising sponsorship on pre conference documentation/ web site as well as during the conference
    • TPV/ distributor exhibition area in conjunction with the conference where stand space is charged
    • Partnering the conference with another company where both companies can benefit with shared audience to promote their services or products
  • Further blogs on how to run a successful business event that has ROI will follow. Follow the blog or subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss any of them. The blogs will be full of tips and ideas, to help you and your business in event management.

Reference reading:
John G Fisher – How to run a Successful Conference

Philip Calvert – Successful Seminar Selling