Time and research have shown that exhibitions are undoubtedly an important part of the sales and marketing mix, however they do involve a considerable investment and it is therefore imperative for exhibitors to make the right choices. This decision has never been more important as we struggle through a period of recession and money has to be spent wisely. With so many exhibitions to choose from, event organisers have to work hard to ensure that they are among the chosen ones.
Selling the space should only be the beginning of the story and not the end. So how do organisers retain those important exhibitors, attract new ones and add value to the cost of exhibiting?
Exhibitors need to know that the visitor quality and mix is appropriate for their product or service. Visitor numbers are not necessarily an indication of success, far better to have one visitor who is the decision maker and key to your business rather than 3 who are not. So drawing in the top buyers and decision makers is a must for successful trade events.
A good organiser will find out all about his exhibitors business, how they function, understand their product and customer base, what their future goals are. They will build a relationship with each client and prove that they are targeting visitors on their behalf.
ITTFA member, TTG ITALIA which runs two major travel shows in Italy, TTG Incontri and BTC, achieves this in several ways including running educational and training programmes and via targeted and crossed communication on selected groups of potential visitors and exhibitors. Antonio Dellâ€™Aquilano, Exhibition & Event Manager TTG Italia explains further.
â€œIn 2009 we organized over 100 one hour training courses during the three days of the fair, dedicated to all segments of travel professionals. We want to repeat the same successful experience in 2010. We believe that if companies have to invest their money and personnel time in participating at exhibitions, as well as the business opportunities made by the meetings at the fair, they have to come out with added professional value for their personnel too. For the same reasons, we invest money in bringing very high caliber Italian and foreign speakers for seminars.
We also select segments of exhibiting companies and communicate their presence to a particular segment of potential visitors â€“ for example we have hundreds of tour operators dealing with, among other products, golfing holidays; we target golf clubs, which are not normally associated with travel exhibitions, but they contribute by creating travel demand organizing golf holidays for their associates. We do the same with many different segments. On the other hand, we attract more exhibitors, telling them what we are doing, in terms of targeted communication, to bring specific visitors to the fair.â€
TUR, leading Scandinavian travel trade fair held in Gothenburg each year also looks to going that extra mile and getting closer to its exhibitors. Johan F Lundberg, Exhibition Manager of TUR gives us an insight into why TUR is so successful.
â€œWe have an on-going project at the Swedish Fair in Gothenburg where we analyze the future for fairs in general and then try to break down the conclusions as to how this will affect our fair. There is no doubt that every participant (exhibitor and visitor) are looking a lot more at what they get for their money. We have to give them a tool so they can measure their ROI. We have to have an even more direct and open discussion with the business itself so we are aware of what is real for them. Therefore we have tried to be more involved in the on going discussion of businesses and also provide different platforms where they can meet. In our business plan for TUR we have highlighted that it is vital for us to get even more involved with all the players in the business. The main thing is to be a platform for the business to meet, to be the natural meeting place and outside the fair, provide conditions where the business can meet in real life and in the digital world. We want to be on show all year in a variety of places.
In order to achieve this we have tried to build up our webpage (tur.se) to provide news and topics for the business rather than only provide information about the event thus extending the life of the fair. For 2010 we will look at articles on our webpage and give our whole customer base an opportunity to comment on certain topics on our new Facebook group. We have also started â€œBookTURâ€, a webpage where all the exhibitors can promote their best offers during the fair. You canÂ´t buy anything onâ€BookTURâ€ you have to come to the fair to buy it. We use the BookTUR in all our public advertising which means that the exhibitors get free marketing for their products through our market. They sell more products and the public loves the good prices. It is a clear win-win!
We work harder to collaborate with all the different organizations in the business and together we carry out seminars, galas, dinners etc. Thus providing more opportunities to market the show and build our network.
All this will hopefully lead to the conclusion that TUR is the natural meeting forum for the business - not for our sake â€“ but for themselves. To participate in a fair is a cost-efficient way to keep up the most important thing in all business, the personal meeting itself. There is no substitute for that. From such meetings you can build faith with your partners for successful long term relationships.
TUR and TTG Italia are setting high standards and like other ITTFA members go the extra mile to prove their commitment. This is what helps exhibitors choose one show over another and in these challenging times it is important to build a close relationship for both parties to maximise results.
ITTFA is dedicated to the continual development of the travel trade show industry, increasing participation and setting high standards worldwide. For details on all our members visit us at www.ittfa.org
For further information please contact: Wendy Walker / Sara Armitage Evans, International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA), Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 18, 2010