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Must Know Trade Show Terminology

If you’re new to trade shows, you need to know the language. Trade show terminology is a bit different than regular terminology. There are certain terms you need to understand or you may not know what someone is talking about at your next trade show.


Here’s a list of some of the most important terms used at trade shows today.

Advance Receiving

The location determined by the trade show management for receiving freight before the show starts is known as advance receiving. Usually, freight will be stored at this location and sent to the actual show location when the appropriate time arrives.

CIF or Cost, Insurance, Freight

CIF is a pricing term used to describe cost, insurance, and freight. It’s usually included in the stated price.

Dead Man and Dead Time

Dead Man is a term used to describe a temporary post used for support during installation. Dead time is the time a worker cannot perform duties due to a factor outside of the worker’s control.

End Cap

An end cap is an exhibitor space located in such a way that it has aisles on three of the four sides.

Floor Port

A utility box in the floor with electrical, plumbing, internet or telephone connections is known as a floor port.

Jigged Crate

A special-purpose crate used to help secure exhibit properties is known as a jigged crate. It’s made with hardware to keep the properties from shifting during shipping.

Modular Exhibit

Any exhibit constructed with components that can be interchanged is known as a Modular Exhibit. This type of exhibit allows you to change different components from one show to the next.

Show Services

The company hired by the producers of the tradeshow to offer services, such as catering, carpentry or furnishing is known as the show services company.

Other trade show terminology to become familiar with includes:

  • Baffle – A partition used to control light, sound, traffic flow or air.
  • Boneyard – A place to store empty crates during the show.
  • Build and Burn – Any booth design created for one-time use.
  • Charging Stations – An area set up to charge electronic devices, such as cell phones.
  • Double-decker – A two-story exhibit.
  • Elevations – Scaled drawings showing the side and front view of the exhibit.
  • Exhibitor kit – The package you receive when you first arrive with all the rules, forms, regulations and other information in it.
  • Hardwall – Any exhibit wall made out of solid materials instead of fabric.
  • I&D – Install and Dismantle.
  • Labor Call – A method of hiring union employees with a specified amount of time and a minimum pay for each laborer.
  • LTL or Less Than Truckload – A rate charged for freight with a weight less than the minimum to qualify for a truckload.
  • Panel System – A prefabricated exhibit with rectangular panels that connect.
  • Prefab – A trade show booth already built and ready to be installed.

Trade show terminology is very important. Make sure you understand different terms and if you’re not sure, as someone before you commit to anything.