Turnkey Trade Show Booth Services

Turnkey, as in you arrive at your exhibit and everything has been handled seamlessly and effortlessly right?  Hey, we couldn’t agree more, that’s exactly how we see it.  Who wouldn’t want that?  As an Exhibit Manager, you know there is so much more to executing a successful trade show than just coordinating and ordering the show services for your booth.   The room blocks, break-out rooms, press events, staffing and travel are just a few of the things on a long list of responsibilities you are typically tasked with around a show.  Who gets the call when your CEO wants to add 4 to the dinner reservation right?  While you are handling that, do you really want to field a call informing you that your exhibit freight has yet to arrive to show site?  Turnkey Service from Steelhead allows you to focus on the events around the trade show with the peace of mind in knowing everything on the trade show floor is taken care of. 

While any Exhibit or Event Manager can see the value of such a partnership, one of things exhibitors struggle with is the cost of ‘out-sourcing’ services to their exhibit company?  Why pay mark-ups or fees when you can just do it yourself, right?  This is a valid struggle for sure, especially when you factor how your average exhibit company offers their respective versions of turnkey show services.

It probably goes something like this.  Your exhibit builder ‘handles’ various services, say for example, exhibit installation & dismantle services or exhibit transportation, to which they apply their management mark-up of 20-30%.  This means that if the base service cost is $1,000, then the mark-up or fee is 30% on top of that $1,000 which is equal to $300.   So then what is the service fee if the labor bill ends up being $2,000?  You guessed it; the fee would be 30% on top of $2,000 so the exhibit company you hired to “manage” this important and necessary function actually earns $600 in mark-up fees.   Wow, it took longer and costs more and your “exhibit partner” benefits from it.   See a problem with this?  We do and so do our customers.  Where is the incentive for your exhibit house to effectively manage these activities even lower their cost on your behalf when there is actually money for them to be made otherwise?  In addition, how are you, the Exhibit Manager who is held accountable for the budget of the event to plan or even predict the final costs of such variable activities?  You thought the exhibit builder had expertise in this area right; how could they have been so far off of their estimate to you?

Then there is the common Form Fulfilment Service where the exhibit company charges you a flat fee for filling out your forms, placing your credit card number down for payment.   Sure this is a way of ordering the necessary trade show services, but then the task of reconciling the expenses for the event falls on you or your accounting department. 

At Steelhead, we see ourselves as a service company first and so our approach to turnkey trade show services is a bit different than what you may have experienced before.   Our customers are not looking to us to simply fill out service forms and coordination exhibit transportation.  Rather, they are asking us to manage and stem the runaway costs that bust show budgets what seems to be all the time.  And more than anything else, event and exhibit managers want accountability out of their partners which is like gold if you can find it.  These are the reasons why Steelhead coordinates, orders, pre-pays and manages each and every service at an up-front guaranteed price.   Our customers are even invoiced before the show so they know exactly what their services expense is before they even board a plane.  If a service takes longer or costs more than we predicted, that’s on us- we eat it.  After all, you trusted in our experience and expertise which we take very seriously.  We will learn from our over-sight but see no reason to penalize those who counted on us to deliver.  It’s not about estimating, it’s simply a philosophy that extends and applies to all things Steelhead does- that it’s common to guarantee the quality of our work but it invaluable to our customers when we guarantee the price of that quality work as well.  Arriving to your exhibit to find everything handled seamlessly and effortlessly might be okay for some, but Steelhead clients also know what it costs and that is what makes them Exhibit Happy.


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