Advance Warehousing or Show Site?

There are usually two options when you ship your display to a tradeshow. You can send your booth to “Advanced Warehousing” or to “Show Site.” Clients often ask us the difference and why we would choose one over the other.

Option #1 is to ship to a warehouse operated by the official show carrier located near the show. This means you have to ship the display to their warehouse at least a few weeks in advance of the trade show move-in date. They usually start accepting shipments 30 days in advance up until about a week before the show move in.

Advanced warehousing Pros:

1. The shipping usually costs less because it does not have a timed delivery requirement. The carrier can deliver the booth to a warehouse anytime during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, and they have several weeks to do it.

2. You can rest assured that your booth has arrived safely at its destination ahead of time—no stress about last-minute hiccups such as weather delays or truck breakdowns.

3. Your booth will be moved into the venue ahead of the direct-to-show shipments, which means you can start the installation of your display right away on your target move-in date.

Advanced warehousing cons:

1. It is typically more expensive for the material handling costs to cover the additional pre-show storage and the additional shipping from the warehouse to the show site.

2. If you have multiple events happening in a short period of time, shipping the booth ahead to advanced warehousing is not possible.

Option #2 is to ship it directly to the show on your targeted move-in date.

Direct to Show SITE pros:

1. Shipping directly to the event will usually incur lower costs for drayage since the show has minimal work to do compared to accepting it at the advanced warehouse. They have to unload your booth from the carrier at the loading dock and forklift it to your booth space.

2. For exhibitors that have a busy show schedule, it is often tight for time to get from one show to another. Shipping directly from one show to the next allows exhibitors the opportunity to fit more shows into their marketing plan.

Direct to Show SITE Cons:

1. Most shows have what they call marshalling yards. This is where your carrier will need to check in at your specific move-in time to get a number. Shipping direct to the trade show often results in the transportation company having to wait in line (sometimes for hours) at the marshalling yard for their turn to unload at the dock. The wait time adds to the cost of your shipment and is not something you can figure out a fixed price for ahead of time.

2. Sometimes, move-in days are on the weekend and at a specific time. Shipping companies charge a premium for this “guaranteed arrival ” service. And it makes sense. When you are required to ensure a display is delivered on a Sunday at exactly 12 pm, that adds extra complexity to the shipment.

3. If you ship to the show site, you should plan to install it the next day, as you are not guaranteed when the display will be delivered to your booth space. You could waste your time waiting for a crate that doesn’t arrive until halfway through the day.

Once we have explained the difference between shipping to the advanced warehouse and directly to the show site, the next question they ask is, “Which one do you prefer?” We prefer to ship to the warehouse even though it costs a little more because we like to know that the booth has arrived safely and well ahead of time. On the other hand, we have spent too many stressful hours worrying about whether a booth will make it there on time when we ship directly to the show site.

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