Here are six tips to help you navigate international waters:
1. Communicate with your companyás host-country managers or associationás host-country members. Gain perspective on local customs and customers, your companyás message within that country, and relevant company history there.
2. As soon as you are aware of your participation in the show, start monitoring fluctuations in currency exchange rates so you can budget accordingly.
3. Be aware that exhibit setup specifications are often unique to the host country. Also, electrical voltage and electrical plugs specifications.
4. Most shows provide walled “shell schemes” rather than pipe and drape. Packages are available, and sometimes required, which include attachments for these walls such as shelves and counters.
5. Many foreign countries add a VAT, or value-added tax, sometimes as much as 18 percent. In many cases, this can be refunded to the exhibiting company after the show. Be sure to keep the original receipts.
6. Contact the show organizer to gather information in advance on group-rate hotels, transportation, shipping, customs requirements, and venue services.