Chapter News

Habla Trade Show?

Recently on the MeCo listserv, Candy Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, posted the following list of exhibition terms that are often confused:

  • Booth (the 10′ increments of concrete rented to an exhibitor) vs. exhibit/display/stand (what you build within your rented booth space). Unless you’re pouring concrete, you can’t “build a booth!”
  • Shrink wrap (which is heated to shrink around a product, like a box of software) vs. stretch wrap (that is used to consolidate and protect items on a shipping pallet.)
  • CWT stands for “hundredweight” (when referring to the per-100-pound material handling rate charged to move exhibitor freight; the “C'” indicates the Roman numeral for 100), not “crate weight” or “carton weight.”
  • Podium (a riser that you stand on) vs. lectern (a pedestal that a speaker stands behind)
  • Mounted graphics (mounted on a substrate for stability) vs. laminated graphics (with a protective covering over the graphic, possibly on the front AND back)
  • Trade show or tradeshow (a B2B show) vs. a consumer show (B2C). If it is open only to business, that is considered “trade”.
  • Pallet (open wooden portable platform open at 2 ends to allow a forklift or pallet jack to lift it off the floor) vs. skid (the pieces of wood on the bottom of a crate to allow a forklift to get under it to move it.)
  • Bill of Lading (the document that forms a contract between the exhibitor/shipper and their carrier, is a contract of carriage, document of title and is a receipt of goods shipped) vs. Uniform Material Handling Agreement (that is the agreement distributed to exhibitors by the General Services Contractor at a show that must be completed to allow the GSC to move an exhibitor’s freight at the end of the show from their booth and relinquish it to their designated carrier as part of the material handling agreement)

When I contacted Candy, she provided a few more from an article she had written for EXHIBITOR magazine:

  • More about Uniform Material-Handling Form versus Bill of Lading: For the longest time, I thought these forms were one and the same because they look a lot alike. They’re definitely not. The uniform material-handling form that you receive from the general services contractor (GSC) after paying the balances on your on-site invoices is an agreement between the exhibitor and the GSC to handle the exhibitor’s outbound freight – but just between the booth space and the designated shipping carrier’s vehicle. Failure to turn it in will guarantee your freight is forced.You may also have a bill of lading (aka B/L or BoL) provided by your carrier to turn in at the service desk with the uniform material-handling form. The B/L is the shipping document that establishes the terms between an exhibitor (shipper) and a transportation company (carrier) for the transport of goods between specified points for a specified charge.Your truck driver picking up your freight will accept your load and complete a bill of lading based on the order you placed with the carrier, and will compare it to what’s loaded by the GSC based on your uniform material-handling form.
  • EAC: The acronym EAC can have more than one meaning. The most common meaning is exhibitor appointed contractor. But EAC is also often the acronym for a trade show’s exhibitor advisory committee or exhibitor advisory council, whose members evaluate the show and the way it is managed, and make future recommendations. In the medical industry, many shows differentiate the exhibitor appointed contractors from the exhibitor advisory committees by calling the suppliers exhibitor designated contractors (EDC).
  • Drayage versus Material Handling: These terms are interchangeable. They’re both used to mean the act of moving your equipment and exhibit properties between a dock and your booth space. The term drayage comes from the word “dray,” a low, flat cart used to move heavy loads short distances. But since the days are long gone when horse-drawn drays unloaded ships and moved goods into warehouses, the term drayage is often replaced by the term material handling. Just don’t tell the old-timer teamsters that – to them, it’s still drayage.

If you’re ever stumped and need to look up an industry term, you can go to EXHIBITOR’s online glossary at

Candy Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMP, CMM, is an independent exhibit-management consultant, trainer, speaker, writer, and an Exhibitor conference faculty member. Fun Fact: She is nicknamed “The Booth Mom®” by her clients for baking and taking 40+ dozen homemade cookies to shows to share during set-up. [email protected]

MeCo is a free online forum for meeting planners and suppliers to discuss issues surrounding the meeting and hospitality industries. MeCo is run entirely by volunteers. To find out how to join, visit

Thomas RaddeHabla Trade Show?