Industry Terms

Glossary of Industry Terms – Download

Audio/visual support such as television monitors, VCRs, or taped music. (See Audio Visual)

A/V Contractor
A supplier of audio/visual equipment and services.

Advance Mailer
Promotional literature sent to prospective attendees prior to an event’s opening.

Advance Order
An order for services sent to the service contractor prior to the installation date. Compare with Floor Order.

Advance Rates
Fees associated with advance orders, which typically include discounts when paid in advance.

Advance Receiving
Location set by show management to receive freight before the start of the show. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time.

Advance Warehouse
Location set by show management to receive freight before the start of the show. Freight is stored at this location and then shipped to the show at the appropriate time (Synonymous with Advance Receiving).

A bona fide representative with proper credentials from the party represented.

Air Freight
Goods shipped via airplane.

Air Ride Shipment
The safest, smoothest ride made possible by two or four air bags located at the rear axle of the trailers, tractor and/or fifth wheel as opposed to spring ride (Also called Van Shipment, Air Ride).

Air Walls
Movable barriers that partition large areas. May be sound-resistant, but not necessarily soundproof.

Air Waybill
A bill of lading that establishes the terms between a shipper and an air transportation company for the transport of goods from a given location to a given airport destination for a specified charge. Compare with Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.

A walkway intended for audience movement through an exposition or exhibit.

Aisle Carpet
Carpeting installed in trade show aisles.

Aisle Signs
Signs, usually suspended, identifying exposition aisles by number or letter.

Arm Lights
A light with an extended arm, typically clamp-on style.

The process of erecting an exhibit from its components. Also called Installation, Set Up.

Assigned Broker
A broker that is assigned to handle the freight for an exhibitor for an international shipment.

See On-site

Those persons who visit an event that are not exhibiting or connected with the event itself.

Audio Visual
Equipment, materials and teaching aids used in sound and visual (Also called A/V).

Authorized Signature
Signature of a person who is authorized to execute a binding legal agreement.


A light source that illuminates translucent material from behind.

Truck that loads from back-opening door.

The panels at the rear of an exhibit.

Backwall Exhibit
An exhibit that is back-to-back with another exhibit or against a building wall.

A form of identification; every exhibitor and attendee must wear a badge when on the show floor.

A partition designed to control light, air, sound, or traffic flow.

A suspended panel used as a decoration or a sign, usually made of fabric or paper for temporary use.

Bill of Lading (B/L)
A document that establishes the terms between a shipper and a transportation company for the transport of goods between specified points for a specified charge. Also see Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.

Blanket Wrap
Uncrated goods covered with blankets or other protective padding and shipped via van line. Also called Pad Wrap.

Blister Wrap
Vacuum-formed, transparent plastic cover.

A scale drawing of booth space layout, construction, and specifications.

A term used for a vehicle that is truck and trailer combined. U-Haul and Ryder trucks are in this category. Typically less than 24 feet of box.

A storage area for empty crates and contractor materials.

An area made up of one or more standard units of exhibit space.

Booth Area
The amount of floor space assigned to an exhibitor.

Booth Carpet/Padding
Carpet and padding purchased by the exhibitor, used to enhance the exhibit look and feel.

Booth Number
A number assigned by show management to identify an exhibitor’s floor space.

Booth Personnel
Staff members assigned by an exhibitor to work in an exhibit.

Booth Size
The dimensions of the floor space contracted by an exhibitor. Usually sold in 10′ x 10′ increments or by square feet (e.g., 100 sq. ft.).

Booth Space
The amount of floor area occupied by an exhibitor (Also see Booth Size).

The level at which a discount is given for a volume order


Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

Call for Presentations
Used by associations and organizations as a formal method of asking for and screening suitable presentation topics for use in the conference sessions.

Drapery, awning, or other roof-like covering.

Maximum number of people allowed in any given area.

Caravan Shipping
A shipping method that combines several clients on several trucks, from the same origin, to the same destination, thus traveling together (Grouped for efficiencies).

Certified Trade Show Marketer!

Hundred weight. A measurement used for shipping exhibit properties. Usually 100 pounds.

A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign countries (for display, demonstration or similar purposes) without paying duties or posting bonds.

A skilled worker used to uncrate, install, dismantle, and recrate exhibit properties.

Carpet Tape
Double-sided tape used to adhere the edge of a carpet to the floor.

A transportation line moving freight. Usually a van line, common carrier, rail line, or air carrier. Also see Common Carrier.

1. The fee charged for transporting freight.
2. The moving of exhibit properties over a short distance

Cash on Delivery (C.O.D.)
Collection or payment on delivery.

Caulk Block
Large wedge of plastic or rubber used to block the tires of a truck parked at the dock. (Also see Dock)

Certificate of Inspection
A document certifying that merchandise was in good condition immediately prior to its shipment.

Certificate of Insurance
A basic element of an effective risk management program. It serves as evidence of the financial capability of an indemnitor who has executed an agreement in favor of an organization.

Certificate of Origin
A document required by certain foreign countries for tariff purposes, certifying as to the country of origin of specified goods.

Cherry Picker
Equipment used to lift people to a given height.

Type of cloth used for backdrops.

Clean Bill of Lading
A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was received in apparent good condition. Compare with Foul Bill of Lading.

Client-Arranged Freight
Freight movement that has been arranged by the customer. They are responsible for the paperwork and liability of the freight movement.

Close of Business (COB)
End of business day (usually 5:00 pm).

Collective Agreement
A contract between an employer and a union specifying the terms and conditions for employment, the status of the union, and the process for settling disputes during the contract period. Also known as Labor Agreement, Union Contract.

A pillar in an exposition facility which supports the roof or other overhead structures. Usually shown on a floor plan as a solid square.

Commercial Invoice
An itemized list of shipped goods.

Common Carrier
A transportation company moving people or goods. For exhibit freight, the carrier usually accepts only crated materials and consolidates the properties of several customers into one shipment bound for the same destination.

Computer-Aided Design (C.A.D.)
Computer software program that is typically used by design and engineering workers to draw or illustrate simple to complex shapes and figures.

Educational and informational seminars generally held in conjunction with an event or convention.

A person to whom goods are shipped.

Person or company who sends freight.

A delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under the agreement that the agent will sell the merchandise, receive a commission, and remit the net proceeds to the exporter.

A person who sends freight.

Consumer Show
An exposition that is open to the public, showing what are generally known as “consumer products.”

Construction Drawing
A drawing which gives detailed diagrams and instructions for building an exhibit.

To ship freight to a central depot where several loads bound for the same destination are put together before being shipped to that destination.

Contact Person (P.O.C.)
The person that is on the show floor or origin that one can contact for questions or answers; otherwise known as the “point of contact.”

An individual or company that provides services or materials to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also see Official Contractor, Exhibitor Appointed Contractor.

Convention Center
A facility where expositions and/or conferences are held.

The charge placed on beer, liquor and wine brought into the facility but purchased elsewhere. The charge sometimes includes glassware, ice and mixers.

Corner Booth
An exhibit space with exposure on at least two aisles.

Counter to Counter
A shipment that is made at last minute. This will have to be delivered and picked up from the counter of an airline or bus depot (Also see Expedited Freight).

A skilled worker who provides services at the exposition facility. Also called Labor.

Crate Label
The label on the crate or container that has the number or ID of the crate or container.

Crated Freight
Containerized freight, items shipped in protective containers.

Crating List
An itemized list of the contents of a crate.

An aisle at a right angle to a main aisle.

Cross Bar
Rod used in draping or as a support brace.

Cubic Content
Literally, length x width x height. With reference to booth space, the placement of exhibit properties at a height of 8 feet or more above the leased area. Also a measurement used in determining shipping costs for van lines.

The authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports. The term also applies to the procedures involved in such collection.

Custom Exhibit
A display designed and built to meet the specific needs of an exhibitor.

Customhouse Broker
A person or company licensed to enter and clear goods through Customs.

Cut & Lay
Installation of carpet other than normal booth or aisle size.


Doing Business As.

Department of Transportation.

Deadweight (tons of 2240 lbs.)

Damage Report
A report submitted by an exhibitor to a freight company or drayage contractor itemizing damage to shipped goods.

Dark Day
Terminology for a day during the move-in or move-out of the convention facility when show-site services are shut down.

Dead Man
Temporary post used during installation to help support the weight of an overhead structure.

Dead Time
Time when a worker is unable to perform duties due to factors beyond his or her control.

Term used to describe a false floor built into a van to allow stacking of freight in order to prevent damage as well as to utilize more of the van’s capacity.

Declared Value
A shipper’s stated dollar value for the contents of a shipment.

Dressing up an exhibition with carpet, draping, foliage, etc.

An individual (skilled craftsperson) or company (a contractor) providing services for a trade show and/or its exhibitors.

Deferred Freight
Long-haul freight that waits (usually one to two days) for available cargo space, shipped at a reduced rate.

Persons hired to illustrate or explain products.

DIM (Dimensional) Weight
A method that a carrier will use, instead of actual weight of shipment, to calculate the cost of shipment. This method will consider a weight based on a shipment dimensions instead of the shipments actual weight. Most always, carriers will apply the more expensive of the two. Length x width x height divided by 194 for domestic shipments, or divided by 166 for international shipments.

A catalog of basic information about the show, including exhibitors, floor plan and schedule of events. (This is also sometimes referred to as an On-site Program or Program.)

Shipments sent directly to show location.

To take apart an exhibit. Also known as Take-down, Teardown.

Display Builder
A company which fabricates exhibits.

Display Rules & Regulations
Exhibit construction specifications endorsed by major exhibit industry associations. Also the specific set of rules that apply to an exposition.

A platform where freight is loaded onto and removed from vehicles or vessels.

Dock High
Usually refers to a truck or bobtail truck that has a bed is at least 4 feet high, thus being “dock high.”

A platform where freight is loaded onto and removed from vehicles or vessels.

Shipment which is picked up at origin site and is delivered direct to show floor; shipment stays on one truck to reduce handling and reduce risk of damages.

A two-storied exhibit. Also known as Multiple Story Exhibit.

Refers to a pay rate for work performed beyond straight time and over-time. Double-time is double the normal hourly rate.

When an exhibitor reduces the size of its total exhibit space (e.g., having a 400 square foot space and moving to a 200 square foot space).

A craftsperson who installs drapes, fabric, and special decor.

The service that includes delivery of materials to an exhibit space, removal of empty crates, storage of crates during the show, returning of crates at the end of the show, and delivery of materials to the carrier loading area. (It is a two way charge, incoming and outgoing.)

Drayage Contractor
A company responsible for handling exhibit materials at a trade show.

Drayage Form
A form completed by an exhibitor requesting handling of materials.

D.T. Labor
Double Time Labor. Work performed on overtime and charged at twice the published rate.

Duplex Outlet
A double electrical outlet.

A tax imposed on imports by the customers’ authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of goods (ad valorem duties), some other factor such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other factors (compound duty).


A stand for displaying objects.

A direction or path or escape from harm; to move away from.

Electrical Contractor
A company hired by show management to provide electrical services to exhibitors.

Handles installation of all electrical equipment.

Scaled drawings depicting front and side views of an exhibit.

Empty Crate
Reusable packing container in which exhibit materials were shipped. When properly marked with “EMPTY CRATE”, labels are completed with booth number and company name. The empty crates are removed from the booth area, stored and returned at no charge (Also called “Empties”).

Empty Crate Labels
Special stickers available at the Exhibitor Service Center. Special crews pick up empties during setup and return them during tear-down; (that’s why the correct booth number is so important).

End Cap
An exhibit space with aisles on three sides.

Est. Wt.
Estimated Weight.

Exclusive Contractor
A contractor appointed by show management as the sole provider of specified services.

Exclusive Use
The rental of a carrier’s entire cargo space by one shipper.

Exhibit Booth
Individual display area constructed to exhibit products or convey a message.

Exhibit Designer/Producer
Company responsible for designing and constructing exhibit booths.

Exhibit Directory
A guide for exhibition attendees which lists exhibitors and exhibit locations.

Exhibit Hall
The area(s) within an exposition center where exhibits are located.

Exhibit Manager
Person in charge of a company’s exhibit program.

Exhibitor Appointed Contractor
A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors. Also called Independent Contractor, EAC

Exhibitor Kit
A package of information which contains all rules, regulations, and forms relating to an exhibition, provided to exhibitors by show management. Also called Service Kit.

Exhibitor Prospectus
Promotional brochure sent to prospective exhibitors by show management to encourage participation in a trade show.

Exhibitor Service Center
A centralized area where representatives of various show services can be contacted or located (Also see Service Desk).

Exhibitor Service Manual
Manual containing general information, labor/service order forms, rules and regulations as well as other important information pertaining to exhibitor participation in an exhibit (Also called Exhibitor Manual or Service Manual).

Expedited Freight
Freight that is done at the last minute and is handled in a special manner (Expedited).

Expocard Reader
A device that electronically reads an attendee’s name and demographics for use by exhibitor in postshow lead follow-up.

To send or transport goods out of one country for sale in another.

Export Broker
An individual or company that brings together buyers and sellers for a fee.

Export Management Company
A company that transacts manufacturers’ export business for a fee.

Export Merchant
A company that buys products directly from manufacturers, then packages the merchandise for resale under its own name.

Export Trading Company
A company that buys foreign merchandise for resale in its own local market.

An event in which products or services are exhibited (Also referred to as Exhibition, Expo, Trade Show and Trade Fair).

Exposition Manager
See Show Manager.

Exposition Rules
The set of regulations which govern a given trade show.


A notation on floor plans indicating the locations of fire hose cabinets.

Free On Board (vessel). A price quotation under which the exporter quotes a price that includes delivery of the goods on board the vessel. When FOB is used in conjunction with an inland shipment, the expenses up to the point specified are covered by the seller, but shipping expenses after that point are charged to the buyer.

The construction of an exhibit.

Fiber Optics
The use of cut glass fibers to display colored light.

Fire Exit
A door designated for emergency egress, which must be kept clear of obstructions.

Fire Lane
An aisle that must be kept clear of obstructions to allow emergency egress.

Fire Retardant
Term used to describe a finish which coats materials with a fire-resistant (not fire proof) cover.

Flame Proof
Term used to describe material that is, or has been treated to be, fire-retardant.

Flatbed Truck
A truck or trailer that is equipped with a flat bed (Not an enclosed box).

Worker(s) used by foreman to help assigned labor for short periods of time.

Floor Manager
An individual representing show management who is responsible for the exhibition area.

Floor Marking
Method used to mark booth spaces.

Floor Order
Order for services placed after exhibit installation has begun. Compare with Advance Order.

Floor Plan
A map showing the size and locations of exhibit spaces.

Floor Port
A utility box recessed in the floor containing electrical, telephone, or plumbing connections.

Foam Core
Rigid foam covered with heavy paper stock used for mounting signs, art, etc.

To send literature or other information and/or have representatives call on prospects identified at a trade show.

Forced Freight
Anything that is left on the show floor that the official services provider has to remove from the venue.

The person given charge of a project.

Forklift, Forktruck
Motorized vehicle used to load, unload, and transport heavy items.

Foul Bill of Lading
A carrier-issued receipt indicating that transported merchandise was damaged when received. Compare with Clean Bill of Lading.

Four Hour Call
Minimum work period for which union labor must be paid.

Free Trade Zone
A port designated by the government of a country for duty-free entry of any non-prohibited goods.

Exhibit properties and other materials shipped for an exhibit.

Freight Desk
The area where inbound and outbound exhibit materials are handled at a trade show.

Freight Door
A large door located on the perimeter of an exhibit hall that accommodates large trucks and freight management operations.

Freight Foreman
A title that is given to the person that controls the freight movement on show site.

Freight Forwarder
A shipping company which handles export shipments for a fee.

Freight on Board (F.O.B.)
Typically seen as origin or destination. This term establishes at what point the shipper releases their obligation of responsibility or liability.

Full Booth Coverage
Carpet covering entire area of booth.

Full Trailer
A trailer that is full.


International term referring to the “aisle”.

Garment Rack
Frame that holds apparel.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. A multilateral treaty intended to reduce trade barriers between the signatory countries and to promote trade through tariff concessions.

General Contractor
Show management appointed company providing services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also called Official Contractor. Compare with Exhibitor Appointed Contractor.

A term used to express overall size limitations typically on a shipping unit (package, case, carton, crate, etc.) Formula… (Height ((Length Width) X 2)) (Also see Unified Inches).

Gobo Light
A stenciled light which projects an image on to a wall or other surface.

A photo, copy panel, or artwork applied to an exhibit.

Communicative elements – color, copy, art, photographs, etc., used to illustrate a booth theme or décor.

Grid System
A network of structural members, electrical conduits, and other support systems on a pattern of centers.

Gross Square Feet
Total space available in exhibit hall as compared to net square feet, usable exhibit space or occupied exhibit space.

Gross Weight
The full weight of a shipment, including goods and packaging; compare tare weight.

The number of food and beverage servings to be paid for, whether or not they are actually consumed; usually required forty-eight hours in advance.


General term used for an exposition facility or the exhibit area within a facility.

Items that one person can carry unaided (meaning, no hand trucks or dollies).

Hand Truck
Small hand-propelled vehicle used for transporting small loads.

Hard Card
1. Work order for labor or services.
2. Drayage contractor’s record of materials received or shipped.

A type of exhibit construction in which walls are made of a solid material, rather than fabric.

Hardwall Booth
Booth constructed with plywood or similar material as opposed to booth formed with drapery only.

Hard Wire
Any electrical connection other than receptacle-to-receptacle; charged on a time plus material basis.

A sign or other structure across the top of an exhibit.

High Cube
A term used to describe that type of container required for a shipment that is taller then 9 feet, typically used with regard to sea bound shipments.

High Jacker
Equipment used to lift people to a given height.

International term referring to “rent” a service or product.

Hold Harmless Clause
A contract clause that relieves one party of responsibility in the event of a legal claim.

An event or gathering usually separate from the exhibit, in which refreshments are served and exhibitor personnel and invited guests socialize.

Hospitality Suite
Room or suite of rooms used to entertain guests.

Hotel Cut-Off Date
The date agreed to in the housing contract when the hotel is no longer obligated to honor the room block or group rate, usually 30 days prior to the show.

Hotel Delivery
A delivery of freight to a hotel location. This will most always have special considerations for they may or may not have the adequate material handling equipment or facility.


ID Sign
Booth identification sign.

I&D/ Decorator
An individual or company providing installation and dismantle, booth and hall dressing services for a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Decorator services may be provided by carpenters, sign painters or others depending upon union jurisdiction; (Term applies to both contractor and skilled craftsperson).

Interstate Commerce Commission.

Lighting available in hall, built into exhibit, or available on a rental basis.

Bringing of goods or products into a country from another.

Independent Contractor
A contractor hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management appointed contractors. Also called Exhibitor Appointed Contractor, EAC.

An exhibitor’s unauthorized use of floor space outside the leased booth area.

Inland Bill of Lading
A contract between a shipper and transportation company used when transporting goods overland to an exporter’s international carrier. Compare Ocean Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.

Inherent Flame Proof
Material that is permanently flame resistant without chemical treatment.

In-line Booth
An exhibit that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle. Also called Linear Display.

The process of setting up exhibit properties according to specifications. Also called Assembly, Set Up.

Installation Contractor
A company responsible for supervising and coordinating workers who install and dismantle exhibits.

Installation & Dismantle
The set up and take-down of exhibits. Also called I & D.

Insurance Policy
A contract between an exhibitor and an insurance company securing payment of a sum of money in the event of loss or damage.

Interactive Exhibits
Exhibits in which the visitor is involved with the exhibit in a proactive way.

Total amount of equipment available for a show.

An itemized list of goods and services specifying the price and terms of sale.

Island Exhibit
A display with aisles on four sides.

ISO Certified
Certification obtained by performing to a set of standards created by the International Organization of Standards (ISO). This outlines the requirements for quality management systems and functions as the model for quality management systems and serves as the model for quality assurance in production, installation and servicing. It defines in generic terms how to establish, document and maintain an effective quality system.


J Handle
A handle with wheels located on one end that is used to leverage and move crates and skids by hand.

Jigged Crate
A special-purpose crate with hardware to secure exhibit properties in place to prevent shifting during shipment.

Job Foreman
A person in charge of supervising and coordinating workers.

Junction Box
A distribution point for electrical power


K.D. (Knockdown)
An exhibit with separate components that must be assembled on-site.

Kit See Service Kit

A small structure, open on one or more sides, for the display of a product or for use as an information station or for material distribution.


A method to tag and identify exhibit properties which includes information as to where the shipment is to be shipped to and from.

Contracted workers who perform services. Also called Craftspersons.

Labor Call
1. Method of securing union employees.
2. Time specified for labor to report (as in a 7 A.M. call).
3. Minimum amount for which labor must be paid.

Labor Desk
Exhibit hall location where exhibitors may place orders for labor.

Labor Form
The form used by exhibitors to order labor.

See Craftsperson.

The process of bonding two or more substances together.

The demographic information retrieved from visitors to your booth which helps you determine that person’s intent to buy your product/services. A tool to help your sales force close the sale.

Lead Man
The person in charge of I & D crew. This individual is responsible for the installation or dismantling of an exhibit booth.

Lead Tracking
A manual or automated system used to conduct follow-up activities for sales prospects resulting from a trade show.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)
The rate charged for freight weighing less than the minimum weight for a truckload.

Letter of Credit (L/C)
A document issued by a bank at the request of a buyer of goods which authorizes the payment of a specified amount of money to the seller when certain terms are met.

A legal term referring to responsibility for damages or injuries.

A power lift attached to a van to enable loading and unloading without the use of a dock.

The amount or type of illumination in an exhibit or exhibition hall.

Light Box
An enclosure which contains lighting underneath a translucent facing material. Used to back-light signs or graphics applied to the face.

Limits of Liability
A term used in a shipping contract to specify the monetary limit that a carrier will pay with regard to damages incurred on freight during a shipment.

Linear Booth
Any booth that shares a common back wall and abuts other exhibits on one or two sides.

Linear Display
An exhibit that is constructed in a continuous line along an aisle. Also called In-line.

Loading Dock
An area within an exposition facility where freight is received and shipped.

Public area that serves as an entrance or waiting area.

A secure storage area within an exposition facility.

A specific symbol chosen to represent a company. Usually comprised of stylized type alone or in conjunction with graphic art.

Low Voltage
A term applied to electrical currents of 24 volts or less. Usually used in animation and specialty lighting.


Mailing Lists
A list of contact names and addresses used for marketing purposes. These lists can be obtained by gathering information on site or by purchasing or renting from an agency or company.

Make Ready
To mount or prepare artwork for photography or reproduction (i.e. make camera-ready).

A list of cargo.

See Service Kit.

Marshaling Yard
A lot where trucks gather for orderly dispatch to show site.

To cover for painting or protection.

Masking Drape
A cloth used to cover storage or other unsightly areas.

Material Handling
The unloading of your shipment, transporting it to your booth, storing and returning your empty crates and cartons and reloading your shipment at the close of the show (Also called Drayage).

Material Handling Agreement (M.H.A.)
Bill of Lading; contract for freight movement services.

Material Handling Charge
The drayage dollar cost based on weight. Drayage is calculated by 100 pound units; or hundredweight, abbreviated CWT; there is usually a minimum charge.

Means of Egress
An approved stairway or ramp constructed to the specification of the fire code used for access and exiting.

The most common width for a backwall panel. (1 Meter = 39.37 inches)

Structural elements that are interchangeable. Allows for maximum flexibility in arrangement and size.

Modular Exhibit
An exhibit constructed with interchangeable components designed to be set up in various arrangements and sizes.

The date specified by show management for dismantling exhibits.

Date set for dismantling. Process of dismantling exhibits.

Combining two or more types of audio/visual support in a presentation.

Trade name for plastic materials.


Not Otherwise Herein Provided.

Net Square Footage
The total amount of leased booth space in an exposition facility.

The action or process of negotiating or being negotiated — often used in plural: negotiations.

No Freight Aisle
Aisle that must be left clear at all times during set-up and dismantle. Used to deliver freight, remove empty boxes and trash, and in case of emergency.

Noise Decibel
A unit for measuring the relative loudness of sounds. For CES, the maximum level is 85 db.

A scheduled exhibitor who does not show up to claim booth space or ordered services.


Owner’s Risk.

Ocean Bill of Lading
A contract between a exporter and an international carrier for transport of merchandise to a specified foreign market. Compare Inland Bill of Lading, Through Bill of Lading.

Official Contractor
Show management appointed company providing services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also called official services contractor. Compare with Exhibitor Appointed Contractor.

Official Program & Exhibitor Directory
Program book distributed to attendees and exhibitors, listing information about the show, conferences sessions and provides a listing of the exhibitors and services offered.

A move-in date which is outside (before or after) of the officially assigned target date.

One-Time Spotting
The unloading of freight/machinery and the placing of it in a designated location. Exhibitors must be present for spotting of materials. This service does not include unskidding, balancing or extended time.

A reference to the exhibit location. Also called At-site.

On-site Order
Floor order placed at a show site.

On-Site Registration
Process of signing up for an event on the day of, or at the site of, the event.

O.T. Labor
Work performed on overtime.

A designation for work performed outside the hours specified as normal working hours. Usually work performed on overtime is charged at a substantially higher rate.


Per Diem.

Packed Weight.

Packing Case
See Shipping Case.

Package Plan
Management-provided furniture and/or services to exhibitors for a single fee.

Packing List
A document prepared by a shipper itemizing contents of shipment and including other information needed by the carrier.

Pad Wrap
See Blanket Wrap.

Padded Van Shipment
Uncrated goods covered with blankets or other protective padding and shipped via van line.

See Skid.

Panel System
A prefabricated exhibit composed of connected rectangular panels of various sizes.

Particle Board
A panel made of compressed, glued wood chips.

Peg Board
The trade name for a type of hardboard with perforations at regular intervals. Usually used for hanging items.

Peninsula Display
An exhibit with aisles on three sides.

Perimeter Booth
A booth space on a outside wall.

Pipe & Drape
Tubing covered with draped fabric to make up the rails and backwall of a trade show.

A demonstration area, usually higher than the surrounding floor.

Point of Contact (P.O.C.)
The primary contact person with regard to a business or service.

Point to Point
A shipment that is direct and never changes trucks.

Pop-up Booth
A term generally referring to a booth that requires minimal tools to set up and is set up by the exhibitor.

Portable Exhibit
A lightweight display unit that can be moved without a forklift.

Refers to any activity that occurs following the closing of the event.

Power Strip
A movable unit having multiple electrical outlets.

A pre-built exhibit ready for installation.

A privately owned vehicle, such as a passenger car, van, or small company vehicle, as distinguished from trucks, tractor-trailers, and other over-the-road vehicles. A POV left unattended will almost certainly be towed away. If you must unload a POV, use the POV line. (see the following)

POV Line
Special loading dock reserved for POVs where material is unloaded at prevailing drayage rates. To get on a POV line, driver reports first to the marshalling yard.

Reservation which has been made in advance with necessary paperwork.

Refers to any activity that occurs prior to the show opening.

Press Kit
A package of materials put together for the media. Usually a folder containing press releases, product announcements, and other materials.

Press Release
An article submitted to the media for publication. Usually announcing news about a product, company, or individual.

1. Exhibit Producer: An individual or company which designs and/or builds exhibits.
2. Show Producer: An individual or company which manages trade shows.

Press Room
Location on-site where members of the media can obtain press releases, product announcements and other materials, as well as write stories, conduct interviews, make phone calls and place stories.

Priority Point System
Method of assigning booth space. Often the system is based on the number of years a company has been exhibiting, sponsorship dollars and size of the booth.

Private Security
Security personnel hired from a privately operated company (Also Booth Security).

Pro Forma Invoice
An invoice sent to a buyer prior to the shipment of merchandise which provides detailed information about the kinds and quantities of goods to be shipped.

Promotional Opportunity
The ability to use advertising to create additional publicity.

A carrier-assigned number used to designate a specific shipment.

Any preliminary reproduction by photography, typesetting or lithography, provided by processor for approval prior to finished product.

Proof of Delivery (POD)
A carrier can supply POD upon request.


Quad Box
Four electrical outlets in one box.

The act of determining an exhibit visitor’s authority to purchase or recommend a product or service on display.


Metal or insulated rubber tubing used to channel electrical wires.

A low wall used to divide exhibits.

Raw Space
The actual space for an exhibit with no furnishings or decoration. In-line spaces do included a pipe-and-drape back wall and side rails.

Rear Illumination
A technique of using a light source to illuminate a translucent image from behind. Also called Back-lighting.

Rear Projection
A video technique in which images are projected on a screen positioned between the projector and the audience.

The process of repairing or reconditioning an exhibit to extend its life span.

An electrical device used to produce programmed effects by interrupting the flow of current.

Process of obtaining demographic information from an attendee in exchange for an entrance badge to the show. An exhibitor will also register its booth personnel in order to obtain exhibitor badges.

Release Forms
Forms provided by show management to permit the removal of materials from an exhibition.

Rental Booth
A complete booth package offered to exhibitors on a rental basis.

Return Panels
Side panels joined perpendicular to the backwall.

A device used to regulate lighting intensity. Also known as Dimmer Switch.

Request for Information (R.F.I.)
This document is requesting information be provided for the described goods or service, or information regarding the company and or its’ services.

Request for Price (R.F.P.)
A formal document from a company that is intended to provide information about the specifics of a purchase of goods or services. This document is requesting a price be provided for the described goods or service.

Request for Quotation (R.F.Q.)
A formal document from a company that is intended to provide information about the specifics of a purchase of goods or services. This document is requesting a quotation/estimate be provided for the described goods or service.

A skilled worker responsible for handling and assembly of machinery.

Right To Work State
A state where no person can be denied the right to work because of membership or non-membership in a labor union.

A platform for people or materials.

ROI (Return on Investment)
Measurement of how much benefit a company receives from participation in a trade show. Broadest example formula: income – costs = ROI.


Schematic Model
A diagram in model form.

Scissors Lift
A motorized platform used to lift people to a given height.

An electric or gas cart used to transport people and materials.

Fabric which is opaque when lighted from the front and transparent when lighted from the rear.

Security Cages
Cages provided to exhibitors for locking up materials.

Self-contained Exhibit
A display which uses the shipping case as an integral part of the exhibit.

A slang term for a tractor-trailer truck used for hauling freight.

Serial Number
A sequential number stamped on a product that is unique to that item. It is necessary to list serial numbers on materials that are shipped internationally.

Service Charge
Charge for the services of waiters/waitresses, housemen, technicians and other food function personnel.

Service Desk
The location at which exhibitors order services from show management.

Service Kit
A packet of show-related information and order forms provided to exhibitors by show management. Also called Exhibitor Kit.

Set Up
The process of erecting an exhibit from its components. Also called Assembly, Installation.

Set-up Drawing
Drawings which give detailed instructions for the installation of an exhibit.

Shipping Case
A reusable container for transporting exhibit materials.

Shipping Crate
A wooden container for transporting exhibit materials, which may be designed for a single use or custom built for extended reuse.

Show Break
Time specified for the closing of an exhibition and beginning of dismantling.

Service contractor’s main office and warehouse.

Short Form B.O.L.
A document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is moved between specific point for a specified charge.

Material used for signs.

Glass-enclosed case used to display articles.

Show Daily
A daily publication produced on-site that offers articles on exhibitors, their products/services and show activities.

Show Decorator
A company or individual responsible for providing draping, carpeting, and signage services for the trade show and its exhibitors.

Show Manager
The organizer and operator of an exposition.

Show Office
The show management office at an exposition.

Show Photographer
The show management appointed photographer for an exhibition.

Show Producer
An individual or company which manages trade shows, including leasing the exposition facility, hiring official contractors, and promoting the show.

Show Rules
The general rules and regulations governing a specific trade show.

Shrink Wrap
A process used to seal materials in transparent plastic.

Side Rail
A low divider wall, usually pipe and drape, used to divide one exhibit space from another.

Sign Standard
A frame on a stand into which a sign can be inserted for display.

Silk Screen
A method of creating graphics with a reusable stencil.

A low wooden frame used to support heavy objects or groups of materials for easier handling. Usually used as a platform for objects moved by forklift. Also called Pallet.

Decorative covering around tables and risers.

Ashtray stand.

A lowered portion of a ceiling.

The area occupied by an exhibitor in the exhibition hall.

Space Assignment
Booth space assigned to exhibiting companies.

Space Rate
The cost per square foot of exhibit area.

Special Handling
Applies to exhibit shipments requiring extra labor, equipment, or time for delivery to exhibit space.

Split Shipment
Pick up or delivery of multiple shipments at more than one place of business of the same or different companies within the confines of origin or destination points.

Placement of equipment in exact location in booth.

A lamp that provides a defined circle of light.

Staging Area
A location used for demonstrations.

Posts used to support signage or other elevated objects.

European term for booth.

S.T. Labor
Straight Time Labor. Work performed during normal work hours at the standard rate. Compare with D.T. Labor, Overtime.

Stock Exhibits
A predesigned display modified for a particular use by the exhibitor.

Straight Time
The hours considered normal business hours.

Dismantle exhibits.

Supplemental Invoice
An additional invoice for services after initial invoicing has taken place.

An individual or company retained by a general contractor to provide services.


T & M
See Time & Materials.


Table Top Display
An exhibit designed for use on the top of a table or similar surface.

An individual or company hired to work in an exhibit to greet visitors, demonstrate product, or stage a performance.

Tare Weight
The weight of a container and/or packing materials without the weight of the goods it contains; compare gross weight.

Target Date
A date set by show management for the arrival of freight at a trade show. Usually shipments received before or after this date are assessed a penalty charge.

Target Freight Floorplan
Color-coded floor plan indicating freight delivery for individual booths.

Tariff Rates
Shipping charges for various types of cargo.

Union that handles all material in and out of the hall, except machinery. Exhibitors are permitted to carry small packages into hall.

The dismantling of an exhibit. Also known as Take-down.

Telescopic Pipe
Tubing in which one section slides inside another. Used to support drapes.

Freight handling or dock area.

Three Wire
Electrical cable with a continuous ground wire in addition to a positive and a negative wire.

Through Bill of Lading
A document that establishes the terms between a shipper and a transportation company covering both the domestic and international transport of export goods between specified points for a specified charge. For example, an air shipment can be covered with a through bill of lading; however, ocean shipments require both an inland bill of lading (for domestic transport) and an ocean bill of lading (for international transport). Compare with Air Waybill, Inland Bill of Lading, Ocean Bill of Lading.

Time & Materials
A form of billing in which a consumer is charged for labor costs (time) and materials.

Tow Motor
See Forklift.

Trade Fair
Broadly used as the international term for an exposition.

A method used to locate a shipment or acquire a status of a delivery.

Trade Show
An exposition related to a particular industry or group, and open only to the members of that group.

Traffic Flow
The movement of visitors through an exposition or exhibit.

Transient Space
Short-term rental space.

Trans Ship
A shipment that is on tour; shipping from event to event or shipments between events that do not include a shipment to or from the point of origin.

A collection of structural beams forming a rigid framework.

Twist Lock
A type of electrical plug that connects by twisting together.


Underwriters Laboratory. An organization which grants electrical ratings.

U.S. Standard Gauge.


Uncrated Freight
Items shipped outside of protective containers, typically shipped either loosely loaded and/or pad wrapped in trailers.

Unified Inches
A method of calculating the size of a shipping unit. It is calculated by adding the Height (Length Width) X 2. UPS has a 130 total UI limit and FEDEX has 150 UI limit (Another form of girth).

An organization of workers formed with the purpose of protecting workers’ rights and increasing bargaining power with an employer on such issues as wages, hours, and benefits.

Union Steward
An on-site union official elected by coworkers to oversee a particular union’s work in a facility and resolve any disputes over union jurisdiction. Also known as Shop Steward.


Value Added Tax. A tax that has been added to the overall price of a product reflecting the value added to the product by processing.

An overhead banner typically used as a light baffle.

Van Shipment
Shipment of exhibit properties via van lines, often consisting of large pieces, crated or uncrated, such as furniture or exhibit materials.

The trade name for a fabric closure with two components: hooks and loops. The two components adhere when pressed together and separate when pulled apart, allowing repeated use.

Plastic covering over carpet for protection.



A list of companies which are either interested in obtaining exhibit space, or relocating to a different space, but for whom no such space is yet available.

A construction product used for panels which are temporary.

Warehouse Receipt
A receipt issued by a warehouse for goods received for storage.

Waste Removal
The removal of trash from an area or building.

Waste Straight Oil Removal
Oils to be removed at end of show. Consult Exhibit Service Manual for form.

List of enclosed goods and shipping instructions, sent with material in transit. (See W/B)

A charge assessed for handling cargo at a pier.

Work Rules
The period of paid time which begins when craftspersons are turned over to an exhibitor and ends when they are released by the exhibitor.

Work Time
The period of paid time which begins when craftspersons are turned over to an exhibitor and ends when they are released by the exhibitor.


The booth two hours before the show opens!

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