Bridal show builds bigger international audience

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Ocean Media Group has attributed a rise in international visitors at the British Bridal Exhibition at Harrogate to aggressive marketing efforts with the UK Trade and Investment team. Overall visitors to the exhibition, which ran 12-14 September at the Harrogate International Centre, were on par with last year and included 3,920 unique visitors. Notably, retailers from outside the UK rose by 6 per cent, bringing overseas visitors to 15 per cent of the total audience in 2010. Retailers within the total figure also increased from 3,555 to 3,608. Ocean Media said it worked closely with UK Trade and Investment in order to increase overseas visitor numbers through new marketing incentives. This helped the Yorkshire and Humber-based companies exhibiting at British Bridal Exhibition, event director for the British Bridal Exhibition at Harrogate, Wendy Adams said. Ocean also claimed 50 per cent of visitors attended for more than one day.“It was a really successful show and exhibitors didn’t stop for the duration of the show,” she said. British Bridal Exhibition runs twice a year in March and September. In addition, up to 15 per cent of its exhibitors in 2010 were outside the traditional bridal wear or accessories remit, Adams said. Examples included Frank Usher, Jon and Joe, London, Ann Balon, Mascara and Scarlet. Ocean also consulted overseas trade and consumer press to attract visitors. “We work closely with trade magazine Nordic Bridal and subsidise accommodation for a number of Scandinavian retailers to come to the show through them,” Adams said. “We also work closely with the Irish press who send out email newsletters to their retailer advertisers.”In a bid to provide more value to these players, the show added a new catwalk show for occasion wear this year encompassing prom, mother-of-the-bride, cocktail and evening fashion. “Retailers [our visitors] are diversifying to create new revenue streams and our exhibitors have identified the alternative route to sales opportunities our bridal shows deliver,” Adams said. The bridal show has now extended its marketing efforts into broader fashion shops, she added.
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