By Amy Milshtein

Trade Show Cleaning: Who Cleans for the Cleaners?

Trade shows and conventions are big business — again. Attendance may have dropped during the Great Recession, but one look around the ISSA/INTERCLEAN trade show, held last October at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), makes it clear that the trade show is back. Approximately 16,000 industry insiders gathered to network, grow their businesses, learn new skills, and have fun (Jay Leno, anyone?). When it was over, attendees left tired, inspired, and scrolling through a longer list of LinkedIn contacts. The LVCC, however, did not fare as well — conventions always mean heavy cleanup. Luckily, with the right tools, trade show cleaning can be quick and easy.


The Basic Box


For many years, convention centers were basically nothing more than big boxes. They held enormous exhibit halls, smaller breakout spaces, and giant ballrooms with nary a window in sight. Materials were chosen for their robustness and flexibility. This model makes a lot of sense. The simple design streamlines load-in, reconfiguration, and cleanup. It also makes for a plain vanilla experience. "Convention center meeting rooms in North America [are] predictable and almost indistinguishable," according to Populous Magazine.


A New Hope


Today's sophisticated business traveler demands more from their trade show experience. They want the convention center to have a sense of place that emphasizes a connection to the host city. They need advanced technology so they can live stream events and stay connected via social media. Food choices must be varied, healthy, and of high quality. Outside locations should be inviting to encourage walking. And amenities like soft seating, power stations, and quiet areas should look like they belong in a high-end hotel.


This mandate means that architects are using more unusual materials and methods to set their designs apart. Convention centers feature glass facades, mood lighting, high-end materials, and unique color schemes. They are located in city centers instead of outskirts, and they include outdoor areas and on-site retail. These buildings are becoming exciting destinations in and of themselves, where guests work, play, and enjoy their stay.


The Cleaning Challenge


These innovations make trade show cleaning more challenging for convention center cleaning staff. Instead of a simple concrete floor to autoscrub, there may be a multitude of materials, like tile, wood, laminate, carpet, and yes, even concrete, throughout the space. Using an all-in-one cleaning system will keep these hard surfaces sparkling, sanitary, and safe in less time than a mop and broom or autoscrubber.


The popularity of windows means that cleaning glass to a streak-free shine is now added to the work list. However, large expanses of glass will make the job seem daunting. The right tools, like a professional squeegee and microfiber pad, cuts time and effort from the task.


Soft seating, much more inviting than hard benches, takes more care to clean. Staff should wipe down or vacuum the surface, depending on the upholstery. Outdoor areas need to be in pristine condition to remain appealing. Leaves and other natural debris should be removed. If food is consumed outside, tables and chairs need to be fresh and free of food particles, which means cleaning several times a day. A squeegee and microfiber system will simplify the process.


Food service areas need to be thoroughly clean as well. Sweeping and mopping these areas spreads dirt, grease, and bacteria around, creating unsafe conditions. Instead, try a system that removes dirt completely. And don't forget the restrooms. No matter how high-end the materials and luxurious the finishes, a dirty, uncared for restroom can ruin anyone's trip. A no-touch cleaning system speeds this task and is safer for staff.


Click here to learn how to simplify the trade show cleaning process.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. 

Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.

She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.

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