It’s never too early to start planning your SEMA Show booth design, which means exhibitors are already thinking about how they can present the best version of their organization at the car world’s biggest event. Whether you’re exhibiting at this year’s SEMA Car Show or will in the future, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes work your team can do to make the most of the experience. Keep reading to learn more about how the trade show experts at Cardinal Expo can help your SEMA booth design shine on the Vegas strip.

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Exhibiting Best Practices for SEMA Car Show: What to Do Beforehand

The location of your booth can help make or break your success on the expo floor. But even the best location is worthless if you’re missing the paperwork or materials you need to exhibit or if your staff isn’t prepared.

To aid your chances of SEMA Car Show success, keep the following factors in mind before deciding on your SEMA Show booth design or booth space:

Submit Your Paperwork

First and foremost, you want to ensure that all of your necessary trade show paperwork has been completed and submitted before the due date. All submission deadlines and due dates for exhibitors can be found on the official SEMA Car Show website. As soon as you know you’ll be exhibiting at SEMA and this information is available, mark it on your calendar.

Know the SEMA Show Floor Plan

At major shows like SEMA, where thousands of companies will be exhibiting, your booth space options may be determined by the exhibit hall’s organization. For example, the floor plan for SEMA Car Show 2023 is divided into 7 main areas of the Las Vegas Convention Center, with each area dedicated to exhibitors working in specific facets of the auto industry:

  • The West Hall is for trucks, SUVs, and off-road; powersports and utility vehicles; and restyling and car care accessories. It also houses the SEMA Overland Experience, dedicated to overlanding vehicles and products. The West Hall is located on Convention Center Drive and Paradise Road, next to the atrium. It connects to the North Hall by sky bridge.
  • The North Hall is for business services; mobile electronics and technology; and first time and featured businesses. It also houses the SEMA Battle of the Builders and SEMA New Product Showcase. The North Hall is located on Convention Center Drive and Paradise Road, across from the Silver Lot. It connects to the West Hall by sky bridge.
  • The Central Hall is for restoration marketplace, hot rod alley, and racing and performance. It is located across from the Silver Lot on Paradise Road. It connects to the Lower South Hall by sky bridge.
  • The Lower South Hall is for wheels and accessories. It also houses the Global Tire Expo. It is located on Desert Inn Road across from the Bronze Lot. It connects to the Central Hall by sky bridge.
  • The Upper South Hall is for tools and equipment and collision repair and refinishing. It also houses the SEMA Collision Repair Stage and the SEMA Garage. It is located on the upper level and can be accessed from the Lower South Hall and Central Hall.
  • The Silver Lot houses SEMA Gear and often hosts events, such as this year’s SEMA Cruise, Hoonigan Burnyard Bash, and eBay Motors Experience. It is located on Paradise Road between Convention Center Drive and Desert Inn Road, across from the North Hall and Central Hall.
    • The Bronze Lot often hosts events, such as this year’s Optima Village. It is located across from the Lower South Hall.

    To get your booth space approved and ensure your best chances of success at SEMA, look out for booth spaces located in the exhibition hall associated with your specific niche.

    Choose the Right Booth Location

    Once you’ve found the area of the show floor that fits your business’ specialty, you’ll want to consider the best placement for your booth in your expo hall. There are a few key areas of your showroom you may want to consider:

    • Entrances and exits to the showroom, where foot traffic will remain high and consistent as attendees come and go from the showroom
    • Near bathrooms and food stops, where attendees will naturally flock to as the day goes on, leading to higher visibility for your booth
    • Areas of intersection, where attendees may need to look up for directions, consult posted signage or maps, or pause to figure out where to go next
    • Near displays for major companies or large displays, which will naturally attract attention to your booth’s general area

    Prep Your Show Team

    To get the most out of your SEMA Car Show experience, you need your team to be prepared for the fast-paced environment of the show floor. Staff should have a thorough understanding of your products or services and target customers, as well as strong sales skills and familiarity with trade show etiquette.

    Trade shows typically provide exhibitors with additional materials and information about the show in the months leading up to the event. This can help you plan out which networking and educational opportunities, discounts, and other opportunities you’ll want your team to take advantage of while at the show.

    Shipping Your SEMA Booth Design

    Whatever your plan for the SEMA Car Show is, one thing is for certain: SEMA is a big show and can get very chaotic. Planning the logistics for your booth in detail ahead of time, therefore, is of the utmost importance. It can drastically improve your trade show experience and make everything easier on your team.

    Consolidate Your Shipments

    Nothing is worse than receiving the materials for your SEMA Show booth design, only to realize that you’ve missed a shipment or something got lost in the mail. To avoid this, you should aim to consolidate all of your material shipments into one larger shipment. In doing this, you reduce the number of mistakes that could be made by yourself, the shipper, or the venue across many smaller packages. 

    If you have multiple vendors, it’s best to have them ship everything directly to you, and then ship all your materials in one large shipment to the show. This, again, helps prevent the endless issues that can come from shipping in separate, smaller shipments: Are you sure they’re all addressed correctly? Which items are contained in which shipment? Did you keep track of all the tracking numbers?

    Coordinate Shipping Your Trade Show Booth to SEMA in Las Vegas Carefully

    When shipping your trade show booth to SEMA in Las Vegas, you’ll want to ship your required materials to the advance warehouse before the show itself. If you try to deliver to the show site instead, there will be more deliveries to contend with and it could take longer to unload, increasing your costs for the freight carrier’s time.

    Since SEMA is such a huge show, it’s important to be precise about your shipments, otherwise you may risk having it lost. Follow these tips:

    • Keep track of the warehouse’s open times. When do they begin accepting shipments? What day is the last day that they accept shipments? What are their hours? Keep track of these and plan accordingly.
    • Confirm your receipt with the showroom. Since SEMA is so big, a shipment has a higher risk of getting lost if it has been mislabeled. Ensure that your booth number, exhibitor name, and all other relevant information is correct before shipping, and confirm that your shipment is received.
    • Communicate with the on-site staff. In the flurry that is the SEMA Car Show, it’s easy for materials to get lost or misplaced. Once you know your shipment has made it to the venue, make sure you communicate with the on-site staff to confirm that every item of your SEMA booth design is accounted for. 
    • Take pictures. Be sure to photograph all boxes and crates before you ship them. Make sure to document the tracking number, freight carrier, how many pieces or parts were included, each package’s weight, and where the package was sent to and from. Doing this can assist you in locating your items in the event they become lost or misplaced.
    • Carefully choose your freight carrier when shipping your trade show booth to SEMA in Las Vegas. Some carriers are better than others, and some are more well-versed in delivering trade show shipments than others. Be sure to do your research and ensure that your carrier of choice has adequate experience in the field to lessen the risk of items being lost during shipment. This is doubly important when scheduling the pickup of your show materials. Experienced carriers understand what comes with trade show delivery and pickup, so there is less risk of losing your items or incurring extra costs.

    Prepping for the SEMA Car Show: Tips for Show Cars

    An eye-catching booth design with a show car that visitors can interact with. Using an interactive SEMA booth design like this can help attract audiences and keep their attention.

    Want to bring show cars to SEMA? It takes some extra logistics and planning to pull off. Not only that, but there are additional considerations to keep in mind when planning your SEMA show booth design if you’ll be incorporating a vehicle. Keep these tips in mind:

    • Know your timing. Larger car shows like SEMA have very tight schedules when it comes to arrival, staging, and entering the convention. You will typically be staged in a parking lot behind the convention center, so it’s important to know that location and your staging time so you can arrive during the appropriate period. Stay in contact with the general contractor about when they will escort you and your vehicle into the convention center.
    • Allow time to detail your show cars. Your cars will get dirty during shipment—that much is a fact. This is why it’s so important to understand your timing during the staging period. Be sure to allow time in your schedule to detail your cars.
    • Maintain communication with your exhibit builder. There are likely parts of your SEMA booth design that will need to go under, above, and around your show cars. Ensure that your builder has the appropriate pieces in place before your arrival to the convention center to expedite the setup process. 
    • Consult fire marshal regulations. When cramming this many motor vehicles into an enclosed space, there are going to be some regulations that dictate the amount of fuel that can be in each vehicle, whether the battery must be disconnected, and other similar safety regulations. Gain an understanding of these rules to avoid any difficulties entering your vehicle into the show. 

    Making Your SEMA Show Booth Design Stand Out

    Las Vegas sign outside of SEMA Car Show venue

    Do Your Research

    More than anything else, work to ensure that you’re well-researched and prepared to make an impact at the SEMA Car Show. If you’re working with another company to create your SEMA Show booth design, manage the build, and arrange shipping and show services, they should be familiar with SEMA and the auto industry as well.

    SEMA has been doing these shows since 1977. If this is your first time going to the show, it may seem daunting to enter a show with this much history and such a dedicated audience. There is an upside to going to such a storied show, however. The culture is so well-established at this point, you should be able to get a good idea of what showgoers are looking for when attending. 

    If you’re looking for more tips on going to automotive trade shows, check out our blog post to get some car show booth ideas. If you’re looking for assistance with your SEMA booth design, contact Cardinal Expo. Automotive shows are worlds apart from other industry-specific shows, and Cardinal Expo has the auto show booth design experience you need to succeed.

    Understand Your Audience

    Car shows—and the SEMA show in particular—are a different beast when compared to other industry-related trade shows. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to embody the spirit of the show with your SEMA show booth design. 

    These shows are chaotic at times with big crowds, loud music, fancy cars, and passionate car enthusiasts. Embrace it! Bring your best cars. Be loud, colorful, and engaging.

    The automotive industry isn’t quite as buttoned-up as others. Don’t be afraid to let your brand’s personality shine through your SEMA booth design. As much as you’re there to advertise your products and services, you’re also there to give the showgoers a good time. 

    Cater to what this audience likes! Use bold, NASCAR-inspired racing suits. Incorporate flashy lights into your booth design and bring your most over-the-top build.

    Create a Well-Balanced SEMA Booth Design

    Creating an exciting, engaging booth that can capture audience attention is the first step. But don’t forget to highlight your products and services as well with product displays, demos, or interactive technology alongside knowledgeable staff. This audience is especially interested in hands-on engagements with your products and talking shop with your staff. Finally, stay true to your own branding to create a cohesive and recognizable look for your SEMA Show booth design and materials.

    Consider Renting vs. Buying Your SEMA Booth

    There are advantages and disadvantages to weigh when considering renting or buying a display. For businesses who want to stay involved in their industry’s trade show circuit and use the same booth for more than 10 shows, buying a booth may make the most sense. Buying your booth is the best way to invest in your future exhibition experiences and to go all out on the build of your dreams.

    If you are attending fewer than 10 shows per year or need to customize your booth between shows, then you may want to go with a rental. Renting a booth costs less than buying and offers you opportunities to scale up or down, test different layouts or styles, and customize your booth for every show.

    Work with a Full-Service Trade Show Partner

    There’s no better way to prepare a show-stopping SEMA booth design than partnering with an exhibit house that can make your display dreams come to life. Full-service trade show companies like Cardinal Expo can help you through every step of the exhibiting process—from crafting a one-of-a-kind branded display for your business, to getting your booth fabricated, shipped, set up, taken down, and stored. 

    Looking for Outstanding SEMA Show Booth Design? Partner with Cardinal Expo

    For nearly three decades, Cardinal Expo has been a national leader in the trade show services industry. We offer turnkey expo services for every aspect of the exhibiting experience—from display design and branding, to shipping, logistics, and set up. With flexible pricing and a wide variety of display options to consider, Cardinal can truly make the trade show display that‘s right for your organization.

    Whether you’re preparing to exhibit at SEMA Car Show or one of the thousands of trade shows hosted in America each year, Cardinal has the products and services your team needs to succeed. Contact one of our sales professionals below to learn more about how Cardinal Expo can help you thrive at your upcoming trade show.

    Contact Us Today

    We at Cardinal Expo are here to answer any questions you may have, provide you with additional information, and create an effective solution for your exhibit needs.

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