You know it’s right, when it feels right

Sarah Stainer, BH Live’s conference and exhibitions manager at Bournemouth International Centre, on the ethos of ‘try before you buy’. For an exhibition organiser, the decision about where to place their event is all about creating a great platform for their exhibitors and an inspiring visitor experience that puts them in a mood to buy. Having worked in the event industry for more than 20 years, I’ve learned that for that, there’s no substitute for the personal familiarisation (fam) visit and talking face-to-face about how we can make their event a success. While a lot of our clients are returning after successful events, we meet a lot of our new clients at trade shows, connecting with organisers who we think will really benefit from bringing their event to one of our venues. But once we’ve made that first, positive connection, we need to make it personal. We invite them to come and take a look. Not just for a tour of the venues, but to get a real feel for how our destination will work for them and their visitors, and discover all the things we can do to transform the exhibitionspace into a busy and dynamic sales, networking and buying environment. Giving organisers the opportunity to test the entire exhibitor, visitor and destination experience for themselves is, for me, the most reliable way to win hearts and minds. It’s a bit like how students pick a university or when you are house hunting. The university’s facilities, testimonials, degree status and living costs all matter. But the moment you walk through the gates you’ll know if it’s right, or wrong. However great the brochure says it is, it’s only when you cross the threshold that the house you’re looking at feels like home. Fam trips allow clients the time to take it all in, including meets with hoteliers, restaurateurs and local attractions. They have the time to explain their needs so that they get the best possible exhibition package, which puts the venue in the ideal place to include a whole range of extras that will add value to that. For example, the sunrise yoga experience we created for the Royal College of Nursing is now part of our regular offer to clients as is the beach run that we took part in on World Kidney Day, along with a few early risers from the British and Dutch Transplantation Societies. I’ve also found that our first-hand experience in organising our own exhibitions gives us an edge – we really understand the pressure that organisers can feel. We’ve planned, sold, organised and operated our own wedding expos at Bournemouth International Centre and Bournemouth Pavilion for more than 20 years, so our teams know exactly what it’s like to run a live exhibition. Yes, we operate venues, but we also know from experience how to make good use of them too. With organisers working to long lead times, they need to feel confident that whatever we can do now, we can do just as well next year and the year after, if not better. They want their shows to be associated with a vibrant and growing business destination. Exhibitors pay good money for their stand and they want be sure it’s going to pay off, by attracting a good measure of high quality buyers, at each and every show. Visitors won’t come unless they’re sure it’s worth spending a day or more out of the office. It’s obviously going to take a few of us at least a day to get all that across to a new client, but it’s worth it. They’ll see the venue, be able to picture how it could look and meet the people who’ll handle the event.   This article was first published in the September issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
Sarah Stainer
Posted by Sarah Stainer
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

Others on EN

Good practice with data

Good practice with data

Simon Clayton, chief ideas officer at RefTech, on being open, transparent, and accurate about what you are doing with the data you handle.
Beware of the punter

Beware of the punter

Trevor Punt, managing director of TBG Group, on the rise of the stereotypical punter and the need for nerves of steel.
Peer to peer

Peer to peer

Will Broadfoot, director of Footfall Events & Marketing on unlocking exhibitor potential and improving participation.

WATCH THE EN AWARDS 2016 HIGHLIGHTS


silverstream.tv

Most Read Stories

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.
Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington: The Dealmaker in March

Steve Monnington of Mayfield Media Strategies, runs the rule over the latest global exhibition deals.
Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe: Marketing déjà vu

Helen Lowe, events and marketing manager at Europa International, talks about the importance of keeping up with the creativity amidst the chaos.

Latest News

EventTech 17 gears up for products, presentations and a playroom

EventTech 17 gears up for products, presentations and a playroom

EventTech 17 is set to become the UK’s largest event technology exhibition when it opens at International Confex next week.
Lion-Cachet: Event industry 'needs additional investment'

Lion-Cachet: Event industry 'needs additional investment'

Chad Lion-Cachet, chairman of investment company Clico Capital, is calling for more investment in the events industry, ahead of his UK Events Week seminar next week.
N200|GES partners with Gleanin on socially-driven event registration

N200|GES partners with Gleanin on socially-driven event registration

Event registration, lead retrieval and event intelligence firm N200|GES has announced a strategic partnership with social software company Gleanin.

Latest Features

When is the right time?

When is the right time?

It’s all very well having a successful show, but how do UK exhibition organisers replicate their success across the country and overseas? Three event profs share their experiences
Stand and deliver

Stand and deliver

When it comes to exhibition stands, the only limits are the exhibitor’s imagination (and floor space and budget), three stand building firms tell EN.
Treading water

Treading water

In EN’s monthly Crisis Management column, Murray Ellis, MD of British Marine Boat Shows, looks back on a 554,000-gallon pool platform structural failure at the 2004 London Boat Show.

Latest Galleries

100% Optical 2017

100% Optical 2017

More than 8,000 visitors arrived at ExCeL London on 4-6 February for the fourth edition of 100% Optical. The show featured more than 175,000 frames, catwalk performances and a comprehensive education programme.
Cumbria Flood Expo 2017

Cumbria Flood Expo 2017

The inaugural Cumbria Flood Expo, organised by flood emergency response charity CERT UK, took place on 2-3 February at Carlisle Racecourse.
Mexia Communications at 10

Mexia Communications at 10

PR and content marketing agency Mexia Communications celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Mexican Fiesta at the Royal College of Physicians on 26 January.