Home Retail Trade Show Security Checklist: How to Prep Your Team for Vegas, Baby!

Trade Show Security Checklist: How to Prep Your Team for Vegas, Baby!

We know many of you are in prime-time preparation mode for Las Vegas Jewelry Week, which kicks off May 31 with the opening of the JCK Las Vegas Luxury show (the Couture Show, the other big show in town, opens the following day).  

So we asked John Fierst, Vice President of Global Risk Services and Analytics at Jewelers Mutual (which publishes The Zing Report), to share his official checklist of safety tips, reminders, and best practices for trade events. Print it out, pass it along in an email, post it in the break room—whatever’s easiest!

And remember, if some of the tips feel extreme or overly “cloak and dagger,” remember that crime in the industry is at an all-time high, and that there was a major robbery—impacting several brands to the tune of thousands in losses—at a Las Vegas trade show just last year.

Planning For Your Trip

  • All of your travel plans should be made discreetly with itinerary shared with only a close circle of known associates (i.e. exact flight details, hotels, and car service pickups)
  • Review your insurance coverage with your agent, ideally at least a month in advance, to ensure you have proper protection to, from and while at the show. 
  • Safest option for product transport is shipping via armored car carrier – let professionals assist; make these arrangements well in advance of the event. 
  • Declare full value through the armored car carrier to ensure the paperwork will match the shipping documents and the carrier will exert due to get the package to the destination.
  • If actual product for the show is carried by you en route, consider hiring a guard to accompany you for protection – again make these arrangements well in advance. Be sure to plan with parties on the receiving end to ensure smooth and safe storage and delivery of product once you’ve arrived. 
  • Know show protocol for receiving you and your jewelry stock and have floor plans of show in advance to know where your booth is located to avoid any confusion once you arrive. 
  • Research any available details about the showcases or protective coverings in which you will house your jewelry — electric locks or metal keys? Have they been tested and are in good working order?  Know in advance either way and ensure they are tested and working. 
  • Where will the product be stored overnight if left at the show venue? Make sure you have secured overnight showcase or similar insurance coverage. 
  • Will the jewelry need to be stored overnight in the hotel safe/vault? Again, make sure you have insurance coverage. 
  • Seriously consider hiring either an armed or unarmed guard to be stationed at your booth — your guard is then dedicated to you, not the event. 
  • Inquire with your hotel regarding storage options in a main hotel vault and/or rooms if you plan on taking merchandise with you personally to the show, or during/after the show
  • Avoid updating or posting your locations, travel dates, times, and details on social media that would act as a tip for individuals to target your business back home, or you and your employees while traveling or at the show itself 
  • Stay up-to-date with any developing crime information at the show by closely monitoring Jewelers Security Association (JSA) bulletins. 
  • Purchase and bring along a Nest, Wyse, Ring or other camera device for use at the show in your booth for a temporary video redundancy. You will then have 24/7 access from an app on your phone of your booth when you are present or away from your designated area. This additional recording will be extremely useful if you experience a loss at the show.
JCK Show
At the 2019 LUXURY show (courtesy RX Jewelry Group)

Travel and Show Set-Up

  • Your travel itinerary to the show should remain strictly a “need to know” basis. 
  • Use only reputable car services – discuss no details about the show or your purpose with the driver or anyone else. Always keep a low profile even when engaged in what could be deemed innocuous conversation (cab stand assistant, front desk personnel, etc.)
  • Any time you are carrying product, have an escort/guard with you. 
  • Where possible, split merchandise/product amongst you and your traveling party. Again, make sure you have appropriate travel insurance coverage
  • If/when receiving your product in from an armored car, take an inventory and begin set up at the event. 
  • This is a particularly vulnerable time—be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Report anyone or anything which appears suspicious or out of the ordinary. 
  • Ensure that your guard, if you have hired one, is in place and alert to surroundings. 
  • During the event, all merchandise must be controlled behind lockable cases if not being actively shown. 
  • Showcases must be locked at all times.
  • Keys must be worn on a wristband and always placed back on the wrist after presentation. 
  • Have more than one associate available for set-up, take-down, and working the booth with you
  • Take an inventory three times daily: morning, afternoon and closing. 
  • Ensure your Ring, Wyse, or Nest recording device is active during the entire day and never leave your booth unattended. Leaving a booth unattended could also void any insurance coverage you may have— check with your insurance carrier and/or agent on that point.
  • At the end of the day, ensure all pieces are inventoried and placed neatly in protective materials and packed for overnight storage (safe or other approved show storage protocol). 
  • When you are at the show, have a contact person back at corporate that you are checking in with daily to give updates of the event and also ensuring a “check and balance” to ensure your safety and security. 
Couture Show
At the 2021 Couture Show (courtesy Couture Show)

Outside Show Hours + Departure 

  • Of course, socialize outside the actual event—it’s necessary to promote your brand and expand your network. But stay vigilant!
  • Be aware of your surroundings and conscious of that feeling that “something doesn’t quite seem right,” it probably isn’t.
  • Know the people you are socializing with and what you may or may not want to share with them. Even your network might not need to know every detail of your plans, product line and amounts you have at the event. 
  • Do not provide any details of your occupation or attendance at the show to individuals you do not know.
  • Be conscious of who is in earshot of your conversations such as Uber or cab drivers, even cellphone conversations. 
  • Use social media to promote your brand (of course!) but try to stay away from naming your specific hotel, address, time, and dates. 
  • If you are wearing any product outside of event hours at night, have security with you if you are wearing significant value and have adequate overnight storage available when the night is over (main hotel vault is preferred, room safes are not ideal)
  • When departing from the event, armored car pickup with meticulous planning and organization to get the goods to the next event or back to your corporate office is preferred. 

Top photo: Las Vegas lights (Pexels)

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