Value Added Tax
➤ VAT is 16 percent. Depending on where your European stand builder is based, you may not have to pay VAT.
➤ Many proposals and estimates do not include VAT in the total. Ask vendors about this in advance to avoid being blindsided by the charge.
➤ Exhibit halls use 220 V.
➤ You will need adaptors for electrical equipment.
➤ Ensure that your equipment will run on 110 V (U.S. standard) and 220 V (Spanish standard).
➤ Fluorescent lights may not work since Europe runs on a different Hertz speed (50Hz in Spain versus 60Hz in the United States).
➤ Disposal of waste generated during I&D is the builder's responsibility.
➤ Exhibit cleaning services can be ordered through show services.
➤ The exhibit builder determines disposal fees for build-and-burn exhibits. Since it will be included in your overall cost, you will not see the disposal fee as a separate line item.
➤ Spain operates on a GSM network.
➤ Check with your cell-phone provider to make sure international calling is included in your coverage.
➤ If you need a temporary cell phone, purchase a pay-as-you-go phone with minutes at the airport.
➤ Smoking is prohibited inside show venues in Barcelona, but most will have designated outdoor smoking areas.
➤ Should you intend to play music in your exhibit, you need to obtain a music license or pay for usage of the venue's license and obtain prior approval from the show organizer.
➤ Police/Fire/Medical: 112
➤ U.S. Consulate General: 93-280-2227
Greetings and Culture
➤ "Hola," for "Hello," will suffice.
➤ Overall, Europeans are more formal than Americans. Professionals that are older and have executive titles should be addressed initially with Mr., Mrs., or Ms. It is better to err on the side of being too formal than too casual.
➤ Hospitality is common in exhibits, and typically includes cookies or other sweet snacks, and coffee, tea, juice, and other soft drinks or beverages.
➤ Check with your show- venue's catering service, or if you are free to bring in your own food and drink.
➤ There are no restrictions on serving alcohol in your booth, though it isn't common. When served, wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage at trade shows.
➤ Most Barcelonans speak Catalan, with Spanish being a common second language. However, Catalonians do not necessarily consider themselves Spanish and can be offended if you attempt to speak in Spanish.
➤ Expect Spanish, English, and Catalan to be spoken. It is recommended to hire a local translator who speaks all three languages in your booth.
➤ Print literature in English. Events in Spain will draw attendees from throughout Europe, and English is the common business language. If the show has a large Spanish population, consider printing collateral in Spanish as well.
➤ Business attire is preferred for trade shows unless casual attire is tied to a particular booth theme.
➤ Don't wear a lot of jewelry or show tattoos or piercings unless it is appropriate to your industry.
General Facts and Tips
➤ Personal safety is a concern. There are thieves around major tourist areas in Barcelona. Don't speak in a loud voice in English or display cameras, as it can mark you as a target.
➤ The Spanish eat dinner starting at around 9 p.m. Do not expect to find many restaurants open at 5:00 p.m.
➤ During large international shows, hotel rooms are completely booked. So book six months to a year in advance to be safe.
➤ The metro system is efficient and easy to navigate, allowing you access to anywhere in the city.
➤ It can be challenging to find someone to accept the work you need done. Shop vendors sometimes say they are too busy to complete your order. Show-service desks commonly tell exhibitors to buy furniture at the local Ikea, rather than renting it from them. Bottom line, don't expect that the same U.S. services will be readily available in Spain.
Installation and Dismantle
➤ Spain does not have labor unions in its exhibit halls. Many show organizers require your chosen labor contractor to fill out a health and safety form and a risk-assessment form.
➤ Crews generally work eight or nine hours in a day. If you expect a 10- to 12-hour day, be sure to confirm this with your contractor in advance to avoid delays.
➤ Most exhibit houses will quote a turnkey price for I&D, not an hourly rate.
➤ Exhibit builders generally ask exhibitors to sign off on the installation prior to show opening.
➤ Once you sign this, do not expect laborers to return to your space until after the show.
➤ Drayage is becoming more common, particularly with large international shows. Check the exhibitor manual to see if the show you're attending will charge for drayage.
Robert Campbell, vice president, Uniplan GmbH & Co. KG, Basel, Switzerland; Christopher Dorn, president, Idea International Inc., Tokyo; Jeffrey S. Hannah, president and CEO, Nuance International Inc., Lawrenceville, GA; Frank Liu, deputy general manager, Uniplan GmbH & Co. KG, Beijing; Lorraine Lorenzini, director of international account management, Freeman, Dallas; Matthew Pearce, president, Exhibition & Event Association of Australasia, Chatswood, NSW, Australia; Gino Pellegrini, president and design director, Inter-Global Exhibitions Group, Denver; Jeannine K. Swan, owner and president, Global Exhibit Management, Fort Worth, TX; Jori Wilmoth, manager of international services, Derse Inc., Milwaukee