Strategic Business Planning for Hotels and Resorts
s Strategic Business Planning for Hotels and Resorts
s Turning Show Leads Into Show Sales
s Meetings Industry Technology
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E2: Exhibitions & Events
Editorial Advisory Board
David Audrain, CEM: chairman
Messe Frankfurt, Inc.
Patrick Buchen, CEM
Adjuvant Expos, Inc.
December 2006 Skip Cox
Jennifer Hoff, CEM
National Trade Productions, Inc.
3 Love That Lasts: 15 5 Keys to Generate More Qualified Prospects and Susan Hueg, CEM, CMP
Communication Key to Exhibitor Retention Sales from your Trade Show National Business Media, Inc.
McKinney & Company
8 Carrying Around Unwanted Baggage 18 Turning Show Leads Into Show Sales
The Check List for Checking Your Baggage ExpoExchange
20 Meetings Industry Technology Richard Westerfield
Trade Show Marketing Institute
10 Asia Watch
IAEM Editorial Staff
22 Strategic Business Planning for Hotels Steven Hacker, CAE
13 And the Winner is … and Resorts president
Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP
IAEM Services, Inc.
In the Next Issue: Exhibitor Advisory Boards, Grants, and Greening director of marketing/
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Love That Lasts: Communication Key to Exhibitor Retention by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP
Just like any other kind of relationship, the organizer/exhibitor
relationship goes through times of stress. We are headed into
one of those periods now. Times are turbulent in the industry.
The signs are clearly on the wall. Sony and other large companies
are opting to hold their own shows, while smaller companies are
questioning the bang they get for their buck. Exhibiting budgets
are shrinking. Some are even being eliminated. Relationships are
being severed or fundamentally changed everywhere you look.
How do you prevent this from happening to you? Is your relationship
with your exhibitors strong enough to ensure that they will stay
loyal to your event through the tough times? Remember, trade
shows are only included in marketing budgets when someone
inside the organization advocates for them. You need someone
on the inside who understands the value of what you are offering
your event offer is and how participation in your exhibition will
clearly help their bottom line. Do you have that person on your
side? You are about to find out.
What is that? You do not want to adopt a wait-and-see attitude
The success of the exhibition industry rests squarely on the about the most important aspect of your business life? The
strength of relationships. Not just the new relationships that form time to reach out to exhibitors and reinforce these critical relationships
every day on the show floor, where your exhibitors are doing their is NOW, just as we are about to head into another busy
very best to wow the attendees, but the relationships that you, exhibiting season.
as meeting planners and show organizers, have the show organizer
has with the exhibitors. Eight things you can do to strengthen those crucial
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Love That Lasts: Communication Key to Exhibitor Retention cont’d
1 Focus on Communication 3 Delegate "Point People"
Success is dependent upon relationships, and relationships are Use staff to prove to exhibitors that you care about them and
dependent upon clear, concise and constant communication. their exhibiting experience. Have staffers available to assist new
Make this the year that you focus on truly getting to know your exhibitors, answer questions for the regulars, and ensure smooth
exhibitors. The better you know them, the better you can meet operations for the 'old pros'. It is easy to forget how overwhelming
their needs. The better their needs are met, the more invested exhibiting can be, especially for smaller companies that may
they will be in returning to your show year after year, after year. never have attended a show before. Having someone on hand
that can answer questions, give directions, coordinate service,
2 Meet Face-to-Face and point out the 'do not miss' extras can make all the difference
The opportunity to do face-to-face marketing is one of the key in the show experience.
strengths of exhibitions. It is the unique selling point used to
attract exhibitors to our shows. Yet how many of take the time to 4 Embrace E-Mail
meet with the exhibitors in person? While in-person contact is best, it is not the only option. E-mail,
Web site forums, and other virtual communications are default
I realize that this can be difficult, especially for those of you who options for communication as a younger, more Web-enabled
have shows with many hundreds of exhibitors. There is no way generation of exhibitors’ ventures onto the show floor.
you're going to be able to meet with each individual. However,
make it a priority to get some face time with the top ten major Consider sending daily e-mail reminders with helpful hints and
exhibitors, and as many more as possible. Make yourself avail- tips as the show date gets closer. A few simple lines sent to a
able before, during, and after the show. mailing list with minimal effort let lots of people know you are
invested in their success.
When people have meet each other personally, they have a face
and personality to put with the name and it qualitatively changes 5 Use Direct Mail
the relationship. It is far easier to opt out of Mr. Joe Smith's Direct mail is another way to open communication with your
show than Joey's, especially if Joey was the guy with whom we exhibitors. Use surveys, educational mailings, planning calendars
shared a few laughs while getting the exhibit set up. and anything you can think of to keep your name constantly in
front of the exhibitors’ eyes.
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Love That Lasts: Communication Key to Exhibitor Retention cont’d
It is best if to use direct mailings that offer some value to customers. Ask your exhibitors what makes your show unique. If they cannot
Rather than a flyer that says "25 days until Super Expo!" come up with an answer, you need to find out why. As Seth
consider "25 Things to Do In the 25 Days Until Super Expo!" This Godin says in Purple Cow, “If you're not remarkable, you’re invisible.”
demonstrates an investment in their success. And in the exhibition industry, invisibility = death.
6 Learn What Exhibitors Need & Want 8 Devote Time to Relationship Building
Communicating with exhibitors provides an ideal opportunity to How important can somebody be to you if you only talk to them
learn what they need from show management. Ask them what is fifteen minutes out of every year? Not very! Building alliances
good about the show – and what is not so good. You may discover with exhibitors takes time. Give your relationships the time they
that simple improvements could make a huge difference to your deserve. Commit to spending 15 minutes a day, every day,
exhibitors. throughout the year, doing something to build better relationships
with exhibitors, such as a phone call to check how they’re doing
As an added bonus, when exhibitors see that management or sending them an article of interest.
listens to their suggestions and acts on them, they feel valued.
They become invested in the success of your show – partially In Conclusion
because some of it was their idea. Again, increased exhibitor Do not be surprised if opening up communication results in a
retention will result. flood of suggestions and complaints. People who generally would
not say provide feedback hesitate less when they feel comfortable
7 Constantly Innovate communicating with you. You may feel overwhelmed by all the
Boredom is one of the top reasons relationships die. The same negativity, especially when it had appeared that everything was
holds true for the trade show environment. What are you offering going so well with your show.
your exhibitors that they can't get anywhere else?
Negativity is not necessarily bad. It is actually a sign of a deepening
of relationship with exhibitors. Do not fool yourself; exhibitors had
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Love That Lasts: Communication Key Hot Off the Press!!
to Exhibitor Retention cont’d The Art of the Show – 3rd Edition
complaints long before they were asked about them. The
complaints may not be major – in fact, they are probably not,
or they would either have been brought to your attention or
the exhibitor simply would have stopped exhibiting – but they
are worthy of your attention.
If you do not know the issues, you couldn't do anything about
them. Armed with the knowledge of what your customers
actually want, you're far better prepared to meet their needs.
Demonstrating your responsiveness is another way to
reinforce the organizer/exhibitor relationship.
You will be making your show better and making your
exhibitors happier at the same time – all the more reason for
them to stay, even during the tough times. And when times
are good, your exhibitors will be right there with you to enjoy IAEM is pleased to announce the release of the Third Edition of
The Art of the Show, an Introduction to the Study of Exhibition Management.
the party! The third edition of the textbook has been re-written by exhibition
and event industry experts, in response to the changing business
environment, including globalization and technology enhancements.
Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, The textbook will be available for purchase on 15 December 2006.
Lake Placid, NY, author: “Meeting & Event Planning for
To place orders, please visit www.tradeshowstore.com, or contact Pamela Rodgers at
Dummies,” working with companies to improve their meeting
+1 972.687.9225 / e-mail: email@example.com.
and event success through coaching, consulting and training.
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Reno-Tahoe, America’s Adventure Place boasts the highest concentration
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Carrying Around Unwanted Baggage by Mary German
The Check List for Checking Your Baggage
Insurance may be a wise choice depending on the contents or if
you are flying internationally. Liability on international travel is
limited to $9.07 per pound. If your bags are damaged or lost,
report it immediately to the airlines and get the contact information
for the person who took your report. A case number may be
assigned to the report which could be helpful for later reference.
Airlines have a high success rate on finding misplaced luggage,
usually within hours. Most airlines will authorize emergency funds
for out-of-pocket expenses based on the following:
• You will receive a larger sum if you are away from home.
• The purpose of trip may be considered (i.e. tux rental for a
• The anticipated length of the delay is taken into account. You
may not receive compensation if your luggage is returned within
It is always a little risky to check your luggage, but if a problem
• If you must purchase several outfits, the airline may offer to pay
occurs, most airlines will assume some responsibility for replacing
half of the cost.
the contents or repairing damaged goods. That is the good news.
Unfortunately, the liability on lost or damaged luggage is about
In the event that your luggage is officially declared lost, you will
$1,250 per passenger on larger aircrafts with more than 60 seats.
need to submit a claim form with the airlines office. If you had
Despite the contents or value of your personal items, this is the
connecting flights, the final carrier is responsible for processing
maximum an airline will pay to settle the matter.
the claim. Airlines tend to be suspicious of fraud tactics and will
not automatically pay the full amount of the claim. They will only
Some airlines offer insurance at a cost from $0.50 to $2.00 for
consider depreciated value, not the original or replacement cost.
each $100 of additional coverage that increases the potential liability.
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Unwanted Baggage cont’d
• Be thorough and include as much
information as possible.
• List all items lost.
• List where items were purchased.
• List the original price paid and provide
receipts whenever possible.
It is a lengthy process that may take up to
six months just to declare your luggage
officially lost, then another six weeks to
three months to pay your claim. There is
no guarantee that you will get the full
amount of the claim since airlines will
impose the liability limits and consider only
depreciation value. Check with your
homeowners insurance to see if losses
away from home might be covered. The
airline may also opt to offer a settlement of
free travel for future flights. Weigh your
options to determine the best value and
ask about blackout dates or other restrictions
that might be included.
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DMG’s GASTECH 2008 – Thailand’s Biggest in the early 1990s, ITE (www.ite-exhibitions.com)
Energy-related Trade Show Yet has developed into a major player in the global
Globally traveling trade show GASTECH, which was event business and now organizes over 190 exhibitions
acquired by DMG from Amsterdam RAI several and conferences every year in 16 countries.
years ago, will be Thailand’s biggest international
trade show in 2008 in the energy field, says Marcel The agreement is between Hong Kong – Shanghai
Ewals, managing director of AsiaCongress. GASTECH Venue Management (Zhengzhou) Limited
has seen a tremendous growth because of the (“VMZL”), the ZZICEC’s management company,
expansion of the natural gas industry globally, and and ITE Group Plc. It provides that ITE plans to
has grown to become the largest private sector organize between four and six exhibitions annually
organized event in its field. It will occupy the within the next three years. VMZL and ITE will
Asia Watch entire facility of BITEC, one of Bangkok’s leading
work closely with each other in order to facilitate
necessary research in developing the exhibitions
and the efficient operation of the new events in
Because of the nature of the visitors of GASTECH, order to maximize the success of those events.
all five-star and four-star hotels have been blocked
to accommodate the estimated 5,000 executives of The Year’s Largest Parking Equipment Expo
the gas industry. The event is locally assisted by Closed Successfully
AsiaCongress, a regional partner of international Shanghai International Parking Equipment and
trade shows and conventions, to manage the Intelligent System Expo 2006 (Interparking 2006)
requirements and to bridge the cultural challenges and the International ITS Expo & Conference 2006
of the Asian region. Shanghai were held 8-10 October 2006 at the
INTEX Shanghai. Organized jointly by World Expo
Global Exhibition Firm Signs Agreement with Group Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd.;
ZZICEC the China Heavy Machinery Industry Association
A significant business agreement has been reached Working Committee for Parking Equipment
between the Zhengzhou International Convention & Manufacture; the Road Traffic Safety Association of
Exhibition Centre (ZZICEC) and ITE Group Plc, a Shanghai; and Shanghai Service Trade Association
prestigious international exhibition organizer of Parking, the expos run under the theme of
committed to using the ZZICEC for major exhibitions “World Expo 2010 and Urban Transportation
in the future. ITE is the latest firm indicating long Intelligent Integration.”
term interests in the ZZICEC. Since its establishment
Asia Exhibition Council (AEC)
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Many national and international companies of such a firm is a credit to the ZZICEC’s success
engaged in parking equipment systems and intellectual thus far, and more importantly, an indication of the
transportation to meet and share ideas. Interparking venue’s potential.”
2006 attracted suppliers of relevant technologies
and equipment from countries such as China, HKCEC Voted “Best Convention & Exhibition
Germany, the U.S., Korea, Japan and Russia. In Centre” Second Consecutive Year
total, 6122 trade visitors from 18 countries and The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
regions visited the exhibition. The exhibition also (HKCEC) has been voted as the “Best Convention
drew great attention of the media. & Exhibition Centre” at the 17th TTG Travel
Awards. The award was created last year, making
Montgomery Expresses Interest in ZZICEC this the second year in a row that HKCEC has
Asia Watch One of the world’s most prestigious international
exhibition organizing companies has formally
received the honor. The 17th Annual TTG Travel
Award was based on the total votes of the readers
expressed interest in using the Zhengzhou from TTG publications such as TTG Asia, TTGmice,
International Convention & Exhibition Centre the online TTG Daily News, TTG China and
(ZZICEC) in the future. The company is TTG-BTmice China. The awards recognize the
Montgomery, based in the United Kingdom, which most outstanding individuals and organizations
has a significant business portfolio reflecting within the Asia-Pacific travel industry.
impressive and ongoing global exhibition industry
business and networking activity that can benefit Despite robust competition, the HKCEC set 18-year
Zhengzhou and the ZZICEC. Montgomery is a operating records for the fiscal year 2005-2006
holding company for a group of exhibition companies (1 July – 30 June). A total of 1,322 events were
with interests in different parts of the world. held including 123 exhibitions, 37 international
conferences, 119 entertainment and special events,
The announcement of this new interest was made 373 banquets and 670 other events. To better facilitate
by Cliff Wallace, chairman of Hong Kong – Shanghai its clients and accommodate growing demand of
Venue Management (Zhengzhou) Limited exhibition space, construction of HKCEC’s second
(“VMZL”). Wallace said, “It is gratifying that the expansion is underway and scheduled for completion
business held in the ZZICEC during its first year of in early 2009. The expansion will add 19,400 square
operation has made a positive impression on inter- meters of exhibition space and provide a total of
national organizers like Montgomery. The attraction 82,682 square meters of rentable exhibition space.
Asia Exhibition Council (AEC)
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Why are these people smiling and applauding?
Because they’re working with the event industry’s
leading source for integrated meeting and event solutions.
“Experient has more Formed by the merger of three industry-leading companies—Conferon, ExpoExchange and ITS—Experient™
than ever become a is more than a name. Our legacy, broad experience, established relationships and peerless buying
valuable and necessary power combine to form the only company that creatively and conveniently delivers the total event
part of the group travel experience for event organizers, attendees and exhibitors.
component of our
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For more information on any of our products or services or how
“Experient has done a we can perfect your event experience, please visit our Web site at
great deal to help make our www.experient-inc.com, contact Amy Munn at 866-516-1461 or
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relationship between us.” We take care of the details of your event.
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And the Winner is … by Richard John
• If you do not have a recognition program, you should! What is
• Launch it, and make the whole process high-profile from the
start. Your “award ceremony” should be part of a little soiree –
maybe at the end of the first day – just to announce the winners
and generate a bit of energy.
Do not try and recreate the “Oscars” with an awards program. You
should have no more than three or four categories, and these could
be split between the range of exhibitors the event attracts. “Best
Shell” and “Best Space Only” can be a good divider, or “Best
Small” and “Best Large” booth. Decide what constitutes “small”
and “large,” depending on the exhibitor base; there is no point in
having one category with 250 contenders, and another with four!
You may also consider the prize for “Best Newcomer.” By its
As an organizer, you will be aware that many of your exhibitors put definition, returning exhibitors cannot enter. In my experience, every
a huge amount of time and effort (and often money) into creating company that has won this award re-books the following year.
attention-grabbing exhibits. And others will not. Extra motivation
can often be provided by having a “best booth” award. The public
And, because the exhibition booth should be seen as only part of a
relations opportunities – as well as additional goodwill – are substantial;
company’s participation, why not add in “Best Use of Integrated
but how do you do it?
Marketing”? That can cover promotional and public relations activities,
internet promotions – on their site and the exhibition’s site –
I am often asked to be the best booth judge at events across sponsorship, the interactive element of their booth and, of course
Europe, and I have learned the following: the effectiveness of the staff.
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And the Winner is … cont’d
Once the categories are decided, develop the assessment There may be two or three judges who conduct their own
process. Remember to keep it fair; for example, a charity is independent tour of the exhibition, without conferring with the
unlikely to have the resources of private companies and cannot other judges. After viewing the booths, the judges reconvene in
be seen to be too lavish with money. However, insist on strict the show office to discuss and debate their findings, and draw up
and fair judging criteria; the whole judging process should be a shortlist. Then it is back to visit the show floor again to review
open to verification with a full audit trail. of the finalists – again independently – before regrouping to make
the final decisions.
Consider working in partnership with someone like the editor of a
media sponsor (great public relations here) and goodwill. Before Since there are several criteria used to assess the exhibitors, we
the judging begins on the show floor, spend the first couple of avoid arguments of “but my booth looks prettier.” Although
hours in the press office reviewing which organizations meet the that may be the case, perhaps the staff was talking amongst
criteria for the awards. Those companies which come instantly to themselves when they should have been stopping visitors. Keep
mind must be doing something right with their marketing and the forms for at least a year, as exhibitors often want feedback. It
promotion, so they immediately make it to the short list. is surprising how competitive they can get. There may be ties, in
which case we can either look to “weighting” one of the categories,
opting for a majority vote or, giving the tiebreaker vote to one of
The judging forms normally have a few headings; my favorites are:
• Impact of Booth
Then we have our three finalists and selected winner in each of the
• Clarity of Message
categories, and our work is done. Time to slip into cocktail dresses
• Effectiveness of Staff for the awards ceremony; well, I am nothing if not flexible!
• Effectiveness of Marketing Collateral
• Other Richard John is the Events Guru.
Marks are based on a ranking of one through five.
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5 Keys to Generate More Qualified Prospects and Sales from your Trade Show by Mike Drohan
Unfortunately, it ends up costing you plenty in missed opportunities,
lost sales to your competition, and a diminished return on the
investment you have made on the trade show.
First, understand why 80 percent of trade show leads
There are two key concepts here. The first is that trade shows
create a problem of having too much activity at one time. The
second is that the flurry of activity can cause you to be inefficient
or misuse your time. With so many prospects to reach it is
difficult to know where your time and effort would be most
productive. Having a system to quality-grade your leads before
sending them to the sales team will greatly help.
You are flying home with hundreds of leads from your trade show.
Second, significantly increase sales by increasing the
After all of your efforts to have a successful show you can finally number of quality prospects that you generate from
wipe your brow and relax. But a part of you feels like you have your show.
been here before. You know that the leads that you have worked
so hard to create are perishable. You know that you probably will Most companies let too many good prospects fall through the
not follow up with all of the leads as quickly as you should. cracks and potentially into the hands of their competition. They do
a great job with all the preparations to have a great show and generate
Most companies are not equipped to capture the results they a large number of leads; however, they typically do not do a great
should from their trade show. Industry statistics show that a job to identify and engage all of the real quality prospects.
staggering 80 percent of trade show leads do not receive follow
up. Historically, most companies are willing to settle for the What typically happens is that sales reps cherry-pick what they
results they get and just chalk it up to the cost of doing business. think are the top prospects. The important fact here is that there
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5 Keys to Generate More Qualified Prospects and Sales from your Trade Show cont’d
are many more good prospects but they are hidden in the other As we have discussed, the leads are perishable. Contacting a
80 percent of the leads. lead weeks after the show is a waste of time. Contacting each
lead immediately after the show while everything is still fresh and
Third, leverage the time of your sales team. a priority, and before the competition does, is critical.
One of the biggest issues is to realize the limitations of your Fifth, have a solid follow up plan.
sales team. Having your sales team qualifying raw trade show
leads is simply not a good use of their time. Realize the goal is not to get as many leads as possible. The
reason you exhibited at event in the first place was to gain
And that is the best case. The worst case scenario is that the face-to-face access with key prospects. Do not overlook the value
leads never get called. Some leads just are not good prospects, of pro-active calls to reach the key decision-makers and establish
and for some the timing may just not be right and they might a personal relationship and increase results. Being able to call and
not be ready to buy yet. A key step to increase results is to qualify reach every lead immediately after the show will dramatically
the trade show leads before sending them to the sales team improve results.
so that they can focus their efforts just on qualified prospects.
Consider using an inside sales team, your marketing team, or Most companies do not have an effective plan to follow-up on
a company like Lead Generation Solutions that specializes in leads. A strong follow-up plan will enable you to effectively
lead qualification. manage your team, and move quickly and efficiently to increase
the number of prospects and sales.
Fourth, beat your competition and gain a competitive
edge. Mike Drohan is the president of Lead Generation Solutions, a
company that specializes in lead qualification solutions for
Your booth, unfortunately, was not the only place your prospects companies looking to leverage the efficiency of their field sales
swiped their cards to create a lead! If you can get there faster team and increase the return on their trade show and event
and more efficiently, you are going to be more agile and improve marketing efforts.
your ability to increase sales.
For additional information visit www.LeadGenerationSolutions.com
or contact at +1 (610) 688-7650.
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Advertise Your Events, Venues, or Products and Services on TSNN.com
TSNN.com is the leading online resource for the 22nd largest industry in the world - The Trade Show, Exhibition and Event
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o Text Links
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Turning Show Leads Into Show Sales by Mary German
provides the direction for the show’s marketing plan that
includes pre-show, at-show and post-show implementation. If
there is a disconnect between goals and objectives and show
marketing, it is not going to work,” says Friedmann.
Steve Schuldenfrei, executive director, Tradeshow Exhibitors
Association, agrees and recommends comparing year-to-year
goals, show costs and ROI (return on investments) to measure if
the goals and objectives are being achieved.
Importance of ROR
Aside from ROI and ROO (return on objectives), the importance
of ROR (return on relationships) cannot be underestimated.
Post-show evaluation and customer follow up are integral to
“People buy from people they like and drop those companies
turning show leads into show sales. But before you hang the
that they do not feel good about,” says Schuldenfrei. Part of the
customer “SOLD” sign, experts suggest developing a show plan
sale is relationship building. “The whole floor is about relationships,”
based on goals and objectives that not only set the stage for
adds Friedmann. “At the end of the day, the difference between
immediate sales, but long-term relationship sales.
your product and your competitor’s product is the people.” You
can make or break a sale with a bad relationship. She contends
According to Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, it is
that the best compliment is having your customers become
important to develop a plan that incorporates the show’s goals
advocates or salespeople for your business, which has far-reaching
and objectives, marketing strategy and execution. “Everything
(show success) happens as a result of clearly defined goals and
objectives,” says Friedmann. “It is the ‘oil in the engine’ that
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Turning Show Leads Into Show Sales cont’d
Lead Management contacted immediately and those who wish to be contacted in
Friedmann and Schuldenfrei recommend developing a lead the future. Not everyone is making a decision immediately after
management system for following up after the show. As part the show. The future leads pile separates the interested customers
of the plan, companies should determine how leads will be by date based on their company’s purchasing date.
transferred after the show, and develop a time frame for follow
up, including coordinating efforts with the sales and marketing Evaluations
team. “Quality of leads and not lead quantity generation should Companies should always evaluate the show to determine if
be the benchmark,” says Friedmann. the show met their objectives. “Evaluations provide valuable
feedback, but have to be carefully crafted to get real information,”
After the show, follow up should take place immediately. “A says Schuldenfrei. Goals and objectives are central to develop-
lead is cold if it is not touched in 72 hours,” advises ing an evaluation tool that addresses your company’s plan.
Schuldenfrei. “There are companies that e-mail their leads
every night to fulfillment companies.” The fulfillment companies How do you know if you are exhibiting at the right show?
disperse the lead information immediately before the lead has Review your goals and objectives and observe which shows
a chance to get cold. attract your competitors. If your competition is at the show,
chances are that show could be right for your company. “There
Leads should be qualified and ranked when possible during the is no magic bullet or formula,” says Friedmann. It is really “a
show. “It is important to have some sort of ranking system,” lot about the basics” – assigning the right show personnel,
adds Friedmann, who recommends qualifying leads during the building ROR at the show and following your plan.
show. Many exhibitors rank leads based on show interest and
reception to show product or service. Ranking can be segmented
by creating a follow up plan for customers who need to be
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Meetings Industry Technology by Michelle Bruno
that meetings were little more than knowledge opportunities.
The use of e-mail, event Web sites, handheld devices and other
data delivery systems emphasized the core belief that the
primary value of meetings was to disseminate information,
hence the fear that more efficient ways to deliver information
would override more efficient ways to interact.
Virtual meetings have not replaced face-to-face meetings,
however, the healthy conjecture that they might, has allowed us
to shift our understanding of the value of meetings and the role
of technology. Initially, processes and applications were sculpted
by the capabilities of the technology, now the technology is
employed in service to the core value propositions of meetings
as a platform to network, communicate and collaborate in
addition to obtaining information. In other words, we have shifted
Not long ago, the question many event industry observers posed our understanding of how to use technology in the context of
to the industry was whether virtual meetings would replace meetings from one that is static to one that is dynamic.
face-to-face meetings. Fascinated by the enormous capacity of
the Internet to transfer information more expediently and efficiently The one-way data dump of the ‘90s has given way to the
than ever before, the first impulse of the early meetings complex data exchange of the millennium. The next generation
technology adopters was to develop applications, methodologies of Web-enabled devices, processes and applications will more
and processes that exploited what were thought to be the closely than ever emulate real life human interactions. Meetings
Internet’s greatest strengths: speed, affordability and access. industry technologist, Corbin Ball, cites the use of social networking
and matchmaking applications, the use of Web-based collaborative
Implicit in this earlier understanding of the role the Internet tools such as Google spreadsheets or Wikis and the breakthrough
played in meetings was an acceptance of the characterization applications of Web-enabled cell phones as hallmarks of the next
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Meetings Industry Technology cont’d
generation of meetings industry technologies focused more Nevertheless, Ball, a
closely than ever on communication and collaboration. Bellingham, Wash.-based ... the next generation
speaker and technology of technology
Another trademark of the next wave of technological advances consultant says, “Most of the
in the meetings industry according to Ball will be the continued real advances in technology
advances will focus
move toward standardization, in particular the use of XML such as the next generation of on the refinement
(Extensible Markup Language), a programming language that the Internet, Web 2.0, will
facilitates the sharing of data across different platforms remain largely unnoticed by
connected via the Internet. “Standards will enable us to be on most consumers.” In stark of programs
the same page electronically with things such as event histories, contrast to the dot.com boom and systems.
rooming lists, quotation requests, reservations, etc. It is all of the ‘90s, says Ball, where
data,” says Ball. “Great strides have already been made within venture capital and ideas proliferated, the next generation of
the industry,” Ball asserts, “with the APEX (Accepted Practices technology advances will focus on the refinement and maturation
Exchange), Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) and Open of programs and systems. “We are going through a really amazing
Travel Alliance (OTA) initiatives.” evolution right now. Systems are working much faster, walls of
communication are being broken down and most people do not
even know it,” he says.
IMPORTANT If you missed the latest
I A O T OUR MEMB RSH N IAEM Strategic News Briefing
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Strategic Business Planning for Hotels and Resorts by Neil Lewbel, Startup & Marketing Consultant
Event planners often focus their strategies on targeted industries, Simple (hotel/resort) amenities can enhance business and
attendees and exhibitors. Adding hotel and resort planning to the convenience. Free (or reduced rate) airport transportation
strategic mix can improve attendee experience and the bottom provides many strategic benefits. A show sponsor, requiring
line. Hotel business planning typically involves location, time, many people at the event, could save several thousand dollars.
space, services and cost. These components can also provide Even small exhibitors (with 5 to 8 people) reduce costs by about
strategic advantages for your event. $500. Strategic benefits extend beyond this obvious cost
reduction. Arriving participants do not need to research and
Travel between hotels, exhibit floor and meeting locations is arrange transportation, which can easily waste half an hour at the
often lost time for exhibitors, attendees and sponsors. A airport. In addition to added convenience, this enables more time
‘self-contained event’ with all activities and housing in one facility at the show. For a staff of 24 this equals 12 more person/hours
minimizes travel times and external distractions. It also encourages of on-site working time. If average employee overhead is
more interaction among exhibitors and attendees. On-site $42/hour, this is over $500 in additional savings. Sufficient additional
meeting space, golf courses, hiking trails and sports courts allow on-site time may reduce the number of staff required, with corre-
for seminars, tournaments, team building or spouse programs. sponding reduction in travel expenses. When staff time is billable,
These features enable planners to avoid the time and expense of this is an extra 1.5 days of revenue, without increasing staff size.
negotiating with multiple facilities and organizations.
Special hotel locations can motivate attendees or add focus to
On the subject of self-contained properties, Tim Swan, director of the event theme. Cheri Sprenger, marketing and communications
sales & marketing at the Orlando World Center Marriott, explains, coordinator for the Resort at Squaw Creek, points out their
“We often refer to this property as a ‘land-locked cruise ship.’ The “Tahoe location is a remote, beautiful mountain setting that provides
entire experience can be here. All the meeting space is under one a unique, 100 percent self-contained, retreat experience with an
roof and connected to the main building, complimented by an extensive list of on-site, outdoor recreational activities.” Family
extensive collection of restaurants and recreational facilities.” activities are a commonly overlooked strategic benefit. Sprenger
states, “We offer extensive children’s activities that are more
like a camp, rather than just babysitting. I find that is usually a
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Strategic Business Planning for Hotels and Resorts cont’d
big selling point to groups. When participants can bring their Strategic Event Business Planning Questions
families, attendance tends to rise.” Event professionals, and their (hopefully strategic) plans, typically focus their
tactics on targeted industries, attendees and exhibitors. However, an often-
overlooked component of strategic success is constant questioning, which
In addition to convenience, theme and focus, using a hotel or begins before writing the plan or implementing tactics. The answers help
avoid confusion and problems. They sometimes uncover opportunities to
resort can change the event’s cost and bottom line. “Our space
save money, increase business or improve efficiency. Soliciting answers and
pricing [as a hotel/resort] is based on a group’s overall spending,” advice can also open lines of communications with the event’s many con-
according to Swan. “Pricing could be nominal or zero for a stituencies, long before they fill out registrations forms or arrive on-site.
self-contained event generating sufficient revenue from other The following questions may help you develop a strategic hotel plan for your event.
streams. In a convention center, space cost may be a fixed
For Show Sponsor/Organizer:
amount or contingent on participation from surrounding hotels, What is the field or topic of event?
requiring more negotiation, time and coordination. It is important What is the event theme?
What are expected exhibitor & attendee counts?
for planners to analyze total costs when comparing hotels,
(Helpful for estimating floor space and facility requirements.)
resorts and convention centers. Carpet is a good example. All How many attendees will travel more than 100 miles?
of our space is carpeted, and that is included in our price. In (Indicating potential need for rooms.)
many convention centers, show management and exhibitors For Exhibitors:
pay for carpets in addition to space. This type of complete cost Do you want to keep attendees focused on a topic?
Do you want opportunities for client meetings or recreation in a “non-show”
analysis may show that hotel space is less expensive than atmosphere or outside attraction?
comparable space in a convention center.” Will you need on-site or off-site private rooms for hospitality, high-level
meetings or product demonstrations?
Sprenger advises event planners to research a resort’s seasonal For Attendees:
demand cycle. “Our location is definitely a winter and summer Will you be traveling more than 100 miles?
Do you expect to be at the event more than one day?
destination. Spring and fall are ‘shoulder seasons’ with significantly Will your organization pay for a rental car or transportation?
lower demand and pricing. If your schedule is flexible, booking Are you just visiting exhibits or also attending seminars and social events?
during the shoulder seasons can dramatically reduce costs. You Neil Lewbel advises clients on business plans, marketing plans and trade
can save a lot of money.” shows. The strategy to reach him is email to email@example.com.
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