Trials of the Trade Show
The trade show Event Manager stood on the loading dock with sweat dripping down her face as she
watched dozens of trucks and other vehicles line up for what seemed like miles in the distance. As the sun
continued to bear down on the loading-dock area, two union workers began to exchange heated words about
the jurisdiction of work. Finally, the Event Manager glanced at her watch and realized that the load-in for the
event was running two hours behind schedule, thus incu
ing thousands of dollars in overtime charges. And
this was only the beginning of the trials for the trade show Event Manager.
Once the doors to the exhibition opened, hundreds of buyers streamed in and promptly clogged the
aisles on one side of the exhibit floor. For nearly four hours, the exhibitors on the other side of the exhibit
floor were virtually ignored by the buyers. A few minutes after the start of the exhibit several exhibitors
complained to the Event Manager that other exhibitors were playing loud music and stepping into the aisles to
ing people into their booths. The exhibit manager was also reminded by the legal counsel that it was illegal
for the exhibitors to play recorded music in the booth without permission from the American Society of
Composers, Authors, and Publishers or Broadcast Music, Inc.
These problems could easily have been prevented if the Event Manager had conducted proper
esearch, design, and planning. For example, the load-in should have been smooth and seamless because of
proper advance scheduling and a nea
y marshaling facility for the vehicles. The issue of labor jurisdiction
should have been clarified immediately and resolved by the union steward or union business manager. The
problems with crowding and crowd flow could have been anticipated and rectified in advance by establishing
attractions (such as food and beverage), entertainment, or perhaps human traffic directors to route the
iving buyers. Finally, the issue with activities being conducted in the booths should have been prevented by
a policy statement in the exhibitors’ regulations, policies, and procedures. Each exhibitor should have been
equired to initial or sign the regulations documents to confirm compliance with these policies. This would
have eliminated the issue of music in the booths and given the Event Manager the necessary tools to enforce
1. What should be included in the exhibitors’ policies, procedures, practices, and regulations?
2. How do you design the exhibit floor to avoid crowding, gridlock, and other crowd-control issues?
3. What do you do if an exhibitor violates regulations?
4. What are some creative solutions to ensure that buyers visit underutilized areas of an exhibit area?
Goldblatt, J XXXXXXXXXXSpecial events: Event Leadership for a new world. 4th Edition. Wiley: Hoboken, New Jersey