If there is one thing I've learned, it's that patience is a virtue when it comes to managing a trade show program.
Like a marriage, you are in it for the long haul. You can plan and plan, but things don't always fall into place as you think they will or should. Just because you asked for something from the exhibit house doesn't mean it will happen on time (more than likely, in all fairness and the wish for perfect customer service, it will). Or you get the space you wanted at that all-important big show (or the small one, for that matter). Change and detours are a way of life in the exhibit marketing business. Here are some words of advice:
Just roll with it.
Yeah, right. But really. If you can't get that space, work with what you you do get (but don't forget to ask the promoter just why--maybe they didn't get the real word on why you wanted your first choice).
Your best bet for success is to look at the big picture. Yes, the details of budget and graphics and all that are important, but be sure to look at your program broadly--how it fits with corporate and department objectives, when specific shows happen as events with regard to product releases and such, what you have to accomplish as goals over a series of shows, how a group of products interact with each other over that same course, and how your staff will work overall.
Lesson Learned: roll with the punches, be honest and look at the big picture.