Finding the Perfect Trade Show
Gaining targeted, relationship-driven travel sales is very important to your business. One of the best ways to obtain these sales is by participating in a trade show.
When you first start seeking out trade shows, try thinking like your potential travel client and look where they are looking. Consider their age, gender and spending ability. If you’re looking to tap into the bridal market, consider sponsoring a bridal show. Shopping malls, bridal boutiques, radio stations, and wedding reception venues are also known to host bridal shows. You can usually find event listings for local bridal shows online. If you’re looking to sell to families, consider sponsoring seasonal and family-oriented events like craft fairs, community fairs and outdoors events. Check your city or local chamber of commerce’s website and event listings for events in your community.
The bottom line is—don’t participate in a trade show if you don’t think that your potential clients will be there.
Now that you’ve found some shows in your area that will attract your potential clients, how do you decide whether or not to participate? There are several qualifying questions and factors to take into consideration.
First, you should consider the location and size of the show. If it is close to your home or office, future client meetings will be easy and convenient. Be sure to see if there is free parking at the show, as the cost of parking may deter people from attending.
Secondly, your booth size and location is also an important factor. Ask yourself questions like “What is the size of the space I will get to market my business? Will my booth be located in a heavy-traffic area? What does the show producer provide vendors in terms of tables, table-skirting, lighting and flooring? What will be required for set-up and teardown?” Asking these questions are important because extensive set-up needs may raise your overall costs and make the show less profitable to you in the long run. The answers to these questions will help you determine if the trade show is right for you.
The third factor is cost and it is key in figuring out if the event will contribute to an increase in profits for your agency. It’s always a benefit to get access to the names and contact information of the attendees. That way you can follow up with them by using a direct mail piece or an email campaign. Also, some shows may give you the option to purchase space to have your company or name mentioned in any of the show’s printed or advertising materials, like a show guide, program or the flyer promoting the show, which means more eyes and ears on your company name and logo. If advertising is included with the cost of your booth…even better as these types of ads on their own may become costly!
Additional aspects to consider are the time of year, week, or even the day that the show takes place, the number of attendees expected, and the number of other travel vendors that you will be competing with at the show. Large shows that are heavily promoted in the media will attract more potential clients, but you may need to recruit additional help to staff your booth and you will have less time to interact with potential clients. Smaller shows may result in higher quality leads and allow for more time for you to sell your services to those in attendance.
Don’t agree to sponsor a show or buy a booth without first determining the maximum amount you are willing to spend. Smaller shows can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 per table or booth and larger shows can go into the thousands. But, don’t worry. You don’t have to spend a lot to make this work for you! Decide how many shows you will do in the next year and budget accordingly. Count everything from booth setup and display costs, to giveaways, printed materials and signage. Be sure to talk to your tax accountant because there is a good chance that most of these business costs can be written off!
If you have difficulty finding the potential in your trade show investment, then participating in that specific show may not be worth your time, money or effort. But don’t let that discourage you; there are plenty of trade shows out there, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you and your business!
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