SECO International Policy on Suitcasing, Outboarding and Competitive Events


In order to protect our valued exhibitors and their investment in attending SECO and in supporting SECO International, LLC’s mission, our rules strictly prohibit solicitation; “suitcasing” or “outboarding” by individuals, attendees or companies who transact business at the show or in official SECO show hotel(s) and HAVE NOT purchased an exhibit booth. SECO rules also prohibit any individuals, attendees or companies from scheduling an event that competes with an official event sanctioned and publicized by SECO International, LLC . “Competitive events” seek to draw conference attendees away from an official event sanctioned by SECO International and are therefore detrimental to the success of the official event.

What are suitcasing, outboarding and competitive events? “Suitcasing” and “outboarding” are unethical parasitic business practices in which non-exhibitors attempt to gain access to trade show attendees and/or exhibitors. These practices skirt the support of SECO International, LLC and the industry.

Suitcasing” refers to those non-exhibiting companies or persons who go to shows as an attendee but “work the aisles” from their suitcase/briefcase and solicit business in the aisles or lobby area.


Outboarding” refers to non-exhibiting companies that set up exhibits or events at off-site locations, hotel hospitality suites or restaurants, and encourage SECO attendees to leave the show floor/events and spend time with them.


Competitive Events” are any events that compete for conference attendees by being scheduled during the same or overlapping timeframe as an official event scheduled by SECO International, whether the event is educational, an exhibition, or a social event.

By suitcasing or outboarding the show, an individual, attendee or company gains an unfair competitive advantage over SECO exhibitors that have invested money and other resources to exhibit and deprives SECO International, LLC of income we use to support our many initiatives which include keeping continuing education costs at a minimum for our attendees. Please keep in mind this is an industry standard recognized by The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).

Any individual, attendee or company who is observed to be soliciting business in the aisles or other public spaces, or uninvited attendees in another company’s booth, will be asked to stop the activity immediately and may be asked to leave the premises. Likewise, known commercial activity conducted from a hotel guest room or hospitality suite, a restaurant or any other public place in proximity to SECO by non-exhibiting companies, will be shut down.

Those found to be in noncompliance with this policy will have their names published on the SECO website, and in registration materials and attendees will be asked not to support your commercial event. Additionally, those individuals or companies would no longer be welcomed at, or allowed to attend or sponsor, any future SECO meeting or any other meeting conducted by SECO International, LLC in whole or in part for a period of two years.

For more information on suitcasing and outboarding please visit the IAEE website.

If you or your company wants to hold an event during SECO International, please contact Bonny Fripp at 770-451-8206 to discuss how this may be accomplished within policy set forth herein.