Tips for Setting up a Booth at DrupalCon

For DrupalCon Baltimore I was volunteered to help with the lounge for Amazee Labs. This was my first year helping to set up a booth for any conference event and I learned a lot in the process. Fortunately, we have seasoned boothers which made the whole process look easy, but I realized there must be a lot of learned knowledge locked away. In the spirit of open source, I asked six of the vendors here to answer a few questions about their experiences and all were happy to contribute.

The following interviews have been edited heavily (due to my poor journalistic skills). Any and all mistakes are mine.

myDropWizard

myDropWizard booth

How long have you been setting up booths?
This is our second DrupalCon booth, but we've also had a presence at Drupal camps.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
The concept, design and setup was all us, but we used third parties to help us create videos and print signs.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
It's hard to say, we've re-used some materials and ordered others new this year. Overall we've been planning for the last two months.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
This is DrupalCon, it's a big deal for us. Work hard to get it right, start as early as possible. Try to avoid ordering things last minute, maybe even try to setup as practice before the event. I wish we would have taped out a ten by ten square in our office to better experiment with the booth size. I didn't realize how many things were required to be bought from the official convention center vendor, so look into that as well.

Thank you David!

New Valley Media

new valley media booth

How long have you been setting up booths?
This is our second Drupalcon.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
We do all our designs and builds in-house.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
At least four weeks.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
Make sure things are lightweight because you'll be carrying them. Start planning early, at least six months out. Try to stick out from the crowd. We did recon at previous DrupalCons to develop something unique.

Thank you Christina!

EY

ey booth

How long have you been setting up booths?
At EY we've been doing them for two years, but we have five years of previous DrupalCon experience.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
We work with local talent for each Drupalcon to build our booth. We also source beer and swag from local suppliers. At the end of DrupalCon we'll work with local charities to donate anything of value.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
It took 2-3 months from concept to design, source the local talent, and build the final booth.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
Get here early so you'll have time if anything goes wrong. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Thank you Liz!

Third and Grove

third and grove booth

How long have you been setting up booths?
This is our first Drupalcon.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
All in-house.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
About 25 hours in total, but we started two months out.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
Ask the conference vendors about options early. We wish we had a bigger backdrop and carpet for our booth. We decided to spend more on giveaways than atmosphere. I'm happy to see there are more design focused companies here, and hope to talk and learn from them.

Thank you Dan!

Lingotek

lingotek booth

How long have you been setting up booths?
Six years.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
In-house.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
We put some extra time into our booth because we use it throughout the year. We probably spent 80 hours over the course of many months. We also start planning early, at least a year in advance.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
Be flexible and able to accept mistakes, adapt. We had a problem with our stickers, for example, which means I had to overnight a whole batch, so they aren't available on day one. Take every problem with a grain of salt, it's not the end of the world.

Thank you Calvin!

Amazee Labs

amazee labs lounge

How long have you been setting up booths?
Four years.

Do you develop it in-house or work with a third party?
We do everything in-house.

How long did it take you, from concept to completion?
About 20 hours, over the course of two months.

Any general tips you'd like to share, or things you'd do differently?
Cool swag is the easiest way to make an impression. You want people to come by and say, "I heard you have (fill in the blank), how do I get one?" Then just make sure you have enough supply for the demand.

Thank you Andrew!

April 27, 2017
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