Know Before You Show

SEMA News—September 2016


By Grant Walter and Clint Simone

Know Before You Show

The Top 10 Things New Exhibitors Need to Know Before Attending Their First SEMA Show

  Know Before You Show
Deadlines for shipping freight and all other Freeman logistics can be found in the SEMA Show Exhibitor Services Manual; available at

For new exhibitors at the SEMA Show in November, the list of deadlines and paperwork to get done can seem quite daunting. Some of these elements can mean the difference between success and frustration, particularly for first-time exhibitors.

Lorri Monty, director of operations for the SEMA Show, offered some helpful advice to those currently preparing for their first Show.

“If you are exhibiting for the first time, take care of simple (but important) things first,” Monty said. “Once you have confirmed your booth space, make your travel arrangements, both flight and hotel. Once done with that, register the staff who will be working your booth. You can then move on to the details of other necessary aspects of your booth—the design, getting your freight to the Show, marketing and promotions, and needed booth services.”

Next stop is the Exhibitor Services Manual at, where Show management has organized all of the resources pertinent to a successful exhibit at the SEMA Show. To help you navigate efficiently, each section is broken down to the basics. Simply click the buttons to the left of the homepage to see the products and services available. Spend some time getting to know this website because time spent understanding the tools available to you will pay dividends with ease of participation, giving you better visibility with buyers and saving you valuable time and money.

The companies assembled in the ESM are the official vendors of the SEMA Show. Management worked with them to create value pricing and flexible terms. These companies were chosen for their understanding of the SEMA Show and their high levels of customer service. Show staff recommends that you consider all of these companies as you create your Show plan.

SEMA’s editors have compiled a list of 10 need-to-know items before exhibiting for the first time at the SEMA Show:

1. Hotel and Flight Reservations

Make your hotel and flight reservations ASAP by using OnPeak is the Official SEMA Show Housing Vendor and can assist with all hotel needs. For travel, Alaska, Delta and United are among the first airlines offering up to 10% off on round-trip airfare to Vegas. Note: Be especially cautious about accepting solicitations from third-party vendors for travel or lodging.

  Know Before You Show
Details such as product demonstrations are a great way to attract additional traffic to your booth. However important promoting your booth may be, that plan should be addressed after checking the most important items off the to-do list, such as registering for the Show and booking travel/lodging.

2. Register for the Show

Badges are required to be worn at all times in the SEMA Show area. Register early and avoid long lines on-site.

3. Become Familiar With the Exhibitor Services Manual

The Exhibitor Services Manual (ESM) actually contains everything on this list and more. The manual is the best resource to use prior to the Show for information regarding deadlines, display guidelines, authorized vendors, Freeman assistance and booth logistics. Visit

4. Know Your Contacts

Knowing your SEMA representatives can be hugely helpful because it is their job to help exhibitors every way possible before and during the Show. A complete list of important contacts at SEMA can be found in the ESM at We recommend that you bookmark or print them to make getting in touch with us easier.

5. Print the Deadline Checklist

Another helpful section of the manual is the Deadline Checklist, which can be found at The deadline checklist includes relevant deadlines that if met, in many cases will result in significant savings. Order early; save money.

6. Write a Press Release

The SEMA Show Online Media Center features Show-related press releases from exhibiting companies. Exhibitors may submit a press release to be included on the site by using the form at Show-related press releases from exhibitors will be posted on the site and promoted to media attendees. There are also tips for press-release writing and the 10 PR mistakes exhibitors commonly make. Take some time here. Learn how to let your customers know you’ll be at the SEMA Show!

7. Display Vehicles

If you plan to have a vehicle on display inside or outside of your booth space, deadlines apply to submit applications. Both feature and booth vehicle applications can be found in the ESM at

  Know Before You Show
In the days leading up to the Show, having a list of SEMA contacts printed is a best practice in case of immediate need.

8. New Products Showcase

A frequent destination for media and buyers, the New Products Showcase offers a unique opportunity for increased exposure and additional publicity. It’s where exhibitors showcase their best and newest products. Go to and get your products signed up. With the first item free, there is no reason not to.

9. Target Times

The tremendous size of the SEMA Show necessitates a scheduled freight move-in plan that ensures an orderly and efficient setup. Each exhibitor is assigned a target time. This is the time for your exhibit freight to arrive at the SEMA Show. Target dates are listed in the ESM by booth number.

10. Ask Questions—Get Answers

If the overall pre-Show preparation process still needs some clarity, there is always someone to reach out to. Lorri Monty is available to answer questions via e-mail at

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