If you were to extract the true purpose of hosting a conference, meeting or event, separating it from all the creative ideas, the hospitality, the networking, the F&B experience and the entertainment, surely, what you would be left with, is the simple desire to create an impression.
Leaving a lasting impression isn’t always easy, event planners need to ensure every element of their event is pulling its weight towards their goals. Their choice of event space will have one of the greatest impacts, which is why alternative venues; spaces that have a ‘wow factor’ such as museums, university lecture rooms, historic buildings, sporting venues and theatres are becoming increasingly popular.
If you consider some of the trends we’re seeing in the events industry at present, you’ll see that the demand for unique venues is on the rise, and is likely to continue to grow:• Millennials and Gen Z-ers are driving the demand for inspiring spaces to meet, work and socialise • Event organisers feel a constant pressure to increase audience engagement • The importance of personality and personalisation have entered the mainstream of event organising • Delegates attendance is higher when the event promises an ‘Instagram-able’ experience – delivered in spades by many alternative venues (according to a recent study by EventBrite—in partnership with Ipsos and Crowd DNA—48% of Millennials say they attend live events to have something to share on social channels, and 78% say they enjoy seeing other people’s unique experiences on social media)
So, how can alternative venues capitalise on the increased demand and ensure they’re reaching the right audience with the right messages?
Consider a trade show
The costs of attending a trade show can be far lower than PR stunts and big launches, yet the impact on the market can be significant, because all elements of your campaign can be executed in one sweep – under one roof.
And don’t be put off by the perceived cost of exhibiting; it can be less expensive thank you think, especially when considering the longer-term ROI. If budget is limited, explore attending as a stand sharer. Taking space on an association stand (if you’re a member), or on your local or national business tourism body’s stand can be a cost-effective way of exhibiting. In doing so, you can also benefit from the experience and expertise of your main stand holder and other partners.
To get the most out of the show, it is important to understand exactly what is on offer before you go, do your research and you can take full advantage and achieve your goals when you are there. Some of the benefits include:
Lead generation – relatively captive, well-targeted audience who are there to do business. At IBTM World you can, in effect, do 365 days of business in just three days
Quick results – generate potentially lucrative, qualified business leads in a short timeframe
Face-to-face makes it easier to establish a rapport. It’s a chance to get to know customers and potential customers first-hand – learn what they want and explain why they should buy from you. At IBTM World exhibitors get a personalised diary of mutually-matched one-to-one appointments, so you know that you’re only meeting with buyers with whom there’s a good chance of doing business
Speaker opportunities – it’s often free to speak as part of the education programme, so it’s well worth looking into opportunities. This will raise your profile and can lead to PR opportunities, social media promotion and media coverage
Awards – participating in awards during and around the event can help raise the profile of your venue, creating PR, blog and social media opportunities
PR and marketing – there are myriad opportunities to raise the profile of your business at trade events, from working with the event’s PR team, to submitting information for newsletters and other materials. Explore every avenue available to you as an exhibitor and you will reap the rewards
Showcase your venue to best effect
People come to trade shows with open minds, ready for discovery. They come to discover new venues and ideas, to learn about cutting-edge technology, to discover inspiration from the many exhibitors and to discover knowledge and skills from expert-led conference sessions. With so many industry professionals and trade association representatives from different sectors and backgrounds gathering together, trade shows are a buzz with thoughts and opinions on hot topics, trends, opportunities and challenges. As an exhibitor, your brand is positioned at the centre of this positive energy, ready to inspire and excite.
Get prepared well ahead of the event and think about how you can best showcase the uniqueness of your venue in a way that shows how versatile and easy it is to use as an event space. And how creative you can be with that space. Make sure your marketing collateral and images are up to scratch and that your website is shipshape. Create some short and snappy case studies to visually demonstrate how the space can be used – especially if your venue is on the quirkier side of alternative. Think about how you can stand out from the crowd without being too gimmicky.
Modern trade shows are hi-tech places to promote your businesses, conduct trade and make new contacts. Many businesses exhibit at trade shows in the hope of receiving one specific benefit or achieving one goal, only to find that there are many more benefits and opportunities than previously imagined. This is because trade shows offer so much more than just ‘trade’.
Exhibiting is a rare opportunity for your brand to become tangible – a living, breathing entity, represented by dynamic imagery, video and sounds, interaction, product and service demonstrations and, most importantly, the inspiring people from your business that are readily available to discuss the competitive advantages your alternative venue offers.
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For all media enquiries, additional comment and request for interview please contact
Becca Krug, Nancy Cremore, Evie Kennedy or Andra Miclaus at davies tanner:
Tel: +44 (0)1892 619100
Notes to Editors
IBTM, part of Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading showcase for the meetings and events industry (also known as MICE) with a portfolio of 5 global and regional events providing business solutions on 5 continents. They include IBTM World, IBTM Arabia, IBTM Africa, IBTM Americas and IBTM China.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 22 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf travel.
About DAHLIA+ Agency
DAHLIA+ Agency works with a wide range of meeting and event professionals who seek to lead the next generation of bringing people together through tech and digital solutions. Whether you’re a veteran planner or savvy supplier, an emerging event-repreneur or a destination looking to stand out on the map, DAHLIA+ Agency puts you, your organization and your message under our microscope to determine how you can stay ahead of the curve.