Security Tips for Trade Show Exhibitors
When thousands of people descend upon a trade show exhibition hall with their co-workers, customers and client prospects, the good news is that there is a lot of sales prospecting and high-powered networking going on. The bad news is that the conference site may become a Mecca for theft. Not only are the Hershey Kisses left on the trade show booth counters at risk, but also your company’s sensitive top-secret information may also be in danger of being stolen if left unattended or unsecured.
The big issue, then, is how can you safeguard against theft of company equipment and knowledge during a trade show exhibit?
According to Karla Krause-Miller, Director, Cappa and Graham, Inc., the event planning company in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, it starts with the security guards who are hired to check trade show attendance. They are busy making sure that all visitors are legitimate and have the proper badges. The guards do not have the responsibility of insuring that your equipment is safe. You must be aware that it is up to you to protect against any trade show booth theft. With that in mind, there are certain rules and precautions one must take at the trade show exhibit hall in order to insure your trade show booth is secure.
The first rule is to keep your valuables either locked away or in your line of vision at all times. This goes for purses, briefcases, cell phones, laptops, company manuals, price lists, and anything that may be of interest to your competitors. Theft happens extremely fast. You need to keep your eyes focused on protecting your vulnerable assets at your trade show display.
Be aware that anything you leave in your trade show exhibit after the show is also at risk for theft. Never leave valuables or any confidential company items lying around your trade show booth after hours. Be sure to detach all plugs and movable connections to your trade show booth demonstration equipment, such as a keyboard, mouse, floppy drive, monitor, etc. Take these items to your hotel room to keep them safe overnight.
Never count one hundred percent on your trade show booth lock box. It is ok to lock up large pieces of equipment that can’t be easily moved and have them stored overnight at your trade show booth, but whenever possible, remove valuables from the trade show booth counter lock box at night. There is standardized keying that can unlock most pedestals where demonstration supplies are stored. That’s a big help when you lose your key, but can be a liability if someone else has access with a key copy.
Use laptops that have only demonstration software on them. Be sure that none of your sensitive corporate information is stored on the hard drive.
Beware of security issues beyond the trade show exhibit floor-- from hotels to meeting rooms and places where visitors meet. Use the hotel safe deposit box for jewelry and cash, not the one in your individual room.
Before you go to an out-of-town convention, check online for travel alerts so you can better prepare and know what precautions to take. When you get to your hotel, ask the front desk about how safe the neighborhood is and what places to avoid.
When you leave your room later in the day, you many want to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door to detract intruders from breaking in.
Be ever vigilant in keeping your trade show assets protected. If you do, you can
have a worry-free trade show experience—whether it be the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, the Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the Santa Clara Convention Center or the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.
By taking steps to insure against theft, you can better enjoy a trouble-free networking and sales experience with the hundreds of industry visitors to the trade show exhibition.
About the Author: Dick Wheeler is President of Professional Exhibits & Graphics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with showroom in Sacramento. Firm is full-service premiere trade show exhibit, graphics and management services company. http://www.proexhibits.com