Thinking about participating in a trade show or other marketing event in Australia?
Going global with your exhibition strategy can be a great way to capitalise on promising markets and build international business networks. However, while technology makes the world seem smaller every day, exhibiting on foreign shores has its own particularities, and each country is different.
Aussies may speak English, but that doesn't mean exhibiting here is the same as putting on a show back home. We have our own laws, customs and materials that can influence your experience here.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for an event in Australia:
1. The tyranny of distance
Many people from abroad are surprised at just how massive Australia is. It's an enormous country – the sixth largest in the world. In fact, it's almost as big as the United States.
That means you need to take distance into account when planning your event itinerary, especially when coordinating road show schedules that will require you and your assets to transverse the country.
In particular, be aware that Perth is one of the most remote cities in the world. Participating in an event in such locations requires special attention in the planning stage to ensure all of the logistical arrangements are in place and factored into budgets.
2. Goods and Services Tax (GST)
The GST is a 10 per cent surcharge added to most goods, services and other items sold or consumed in Australia. Businesses must collect the GST for their transactions, and most companies include the GST in the price of their goods.
However, you do need to keep GST in mind when thinking about your trade show budget and booth design. When exhibition designers and builders talk about budgets for stands, we always refer to an amount exclusive of GST as we cannot create things with tax collected for the government. You'll find the GST added at the bottom of your quote.
3. Communications and electronics
Whether you're planning to add some technology to your booth or thinking about your personal devices and communication, rest assured that Australia has decent 3G and 4G coverage. Many visitors switch to international roaming plans and use their own phones, but a more affordable option might be to buy a SIM card for your device – if your phone is unlocked.
Additionally, Australia's power plugs and outlets differ from those of other countries, so make sure you have adaptors if necessary. Australia's main power supply is 230 volts, 50 Hz, and exhibition halls typically have 220-240V sockets, which means your equipment may require step-down transformers. Appliances from Asia, Africa and Europe operate on the same voltage, but visitors from the US, Japan and Canada need converters to use their own devices.
4. Drayage fees and scheduling
If you're used to exhibiting in the United States, you've probably had to pay drayage fees to have your materials transferred to the event location. Good news – this charge is not common in Australia.
However, each show will have a list of official suppliers for the event, and you can choose whether or not to use their services, such as furniture hire. For access to and through the loading dock, though, you might be obliged to use the services of an official onsite agent and may need to book your place early.
5. Emergency numbers
Australia's police, fire and medical emergency number is 000, which you can call for free from mobile phones, landlines and pay phones. Add it to your contacts or itinerary so you have it on hand, and consider looking up the contact information for your country's embassy as well.