ILLUSTRATION: MARK FISHER
Our company has just started exhibiting internationally, and the jargon is baffling. What are some of the most difficult terms for U.S. exhibitors to initially comprehend?
Just as each language, country, and culture has its nuances, so too does the international trade show industry. To help keep you one step ahead of the curve, here's a quick rundown of international-exhibiting terms that often trip up North American marketers.
A bespoke stand has been designed and fabricated out of materials specific to the design, as opposed to prefabricated components or system exhibitry.
Build and Break (Installation and Dismantle):
This is the process of assembling a stand before the show and taking it down afterward.
While this term has its variations, it's typically used to describe an event where groups or associations are meeting for formal discussions. These can be stand-alone events or experiences associated with a specific trade fair, e.g., Mobile World Congress.
The public area between assigned exhibit spaces is the gangway or aisle.
Hire Stand (Rental Exhibit):
A hire stand is simply an exhibit that is borrowed, as opposed to purchased, from an exhibit house.
Linear Stand (In-line Booth):
A linear stand is typically located in a row of exhibits, all of which have the same depth and border one or more other exhibits. In the United States, in-line exhibits are normally divided with pipe and drape, but elsewhere they're often separated with "shell schemes," which comprise metal extrusions with rigid infills.
Lorry (Truck, Semitrailer, Tractor-Trailer):
In many parts of the world, what North American exhibitors might call a semi is referred to as a lorry. Often, a lorry is loaded from the side rather than the back.
Platform (Elevated Floor):
Platforms, i.e., elevated floors, are regularly used outside the United States to hide wires and pipes for plumbing, internet, electrical, and other services.
Any variety of pedestal that might be used to display products, tablets, etc., is commonly referred to as a plinth.
Stand (Booth, Exhibit, Display):
Simply put, a stand is a booth.
Trade Fair (Exhibition, Trade Show):
Despite the name, a trade fair is usually void of carnival rides and clowns in silly costumes, as it's the international term for a trade show.
— Jamie Zavoral-Brown, director of business development North America,
Bray Leino Events, Filleigh, United Kingdom