The comments that follow are equally interesting.
After reading through it all, and considering my own BtoB Marcom experiences with regard to exhibition and trade show cost management, I conclude that it is simply a time to get back to transparency. That is assuming that we were there at one time.
The blog (which you owe it to yourself to read) discusses dubious techniques used to pad the revenue of trade show managers and venues. Some people comment that, even with such practices, the total cost is still cheaper than making sales calls (What?!?!? Bad practices are OK as long as they are financially superior to the alternative?), others bemoan exorbitant fees, and others share that, in their lands, drayage doesn't even exist!
In the short term, what can we do? I've radically adjusted our exhibit designs to sidestep most of these outrageous costs. The result? My team has become comfortable with our new look and feel. No one is screaming to go back to the old (more expensive) style.
Has the life already been strangled out of my (former) downstream exhibit vendors? Are they a dead man walking?