Security Concerns At Trade Shows

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Recently, I’ve been asked by Exhibitors about how to properly prepare for security concerns at trade shows – some have inquired due to recent events world wide and other have asked because of liability concerns.

There are 3 areas in which every trade show exhibitor should be prepared.

1.) Terrorism or other unpredictable events. What should we do if there is a terrorist attack in the city where we are exhibiting? Make sure to have a plan. Consult your company’s health, wellness & safety guides for plans & information. Unfortunately, in this type of situation, the show could be cancelled as a result of a terrorism or other unpredictable event. In this case, exhibitors should be prepared to focus on the safe return of all booth staffers and company personnel first. You will then have to account for any losses due to the show not taking place. It’s an unfortunate, but rare situation. However, it can happen as one of my clients experienced in Baltimore due 2015 protests – the show was cancelled on the last day of install when all exhibits had already been setup.

Security Concerns At Trade Shows

2.) Theft of items in your exhibit or company property. Another unfortunate and more common situation at trade shows is the theft of items from your exhibit, especially a/v equipment. I once saw a union laborer chased by security personnel during installation because he stole a 42″ monitor from an exhibit. I’m not sure if they caught him or not, however, the company needs to be prepared to quickly find a replacement if you lose any part of your exhibit, a/v equipment or product demos. Never leave valuable items in your exhibit over night. Though many shows provide 24 hour security, you never know who can get into an unattended exhibit hall and steal items.

3.) Employee Liabilities. What should we do if a company employee shows up to staff a booth under the influence? Even worse, what should we do if an employee causes property damage or commits a crime while under the influence? What can we do if another company’s inebriated employee causes harm to our exhibit or personnel? Every company bears some level of responsibility for the actions of their employees, so it’s always important to know the company’s guidelines & expectations to ensure everyone remains safe and makes the right choose while traveling for a trade show.

In the end, like everything else, it’s best to be prepared so that you can react & respond in the right manner for any type of security concern at your trade show.


Written by

Michael Flavin sells St. Louis Trade Show Displays, St. Louis Trade Show Booths and Trade Show Displays in St. Louis MO. He has 9 years of trade show industry expertise and 14 years overall in design, sales & marketing.

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