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Show Pro

24 Jan 2023

Shout about your presence

We delve into why it’s important to shout about your presence at The Meetings Show in this month’s Show Pro.

The Meetings Show brings together thousands of #eventprofs every year, and whether you are an exhibitor or attending the event as a buyer, letting people know you are there is essential to make the most of the experience.

Lindsey Thorpe, Marketing Promotions Manager at Malta Tourism Authority, Dan Payne, Marketing Executive at Lime Venue Portfolio, and Sarah Threlfall, Managing Director at Brightspace Events, share their tips and ideas for publicising your presence before and during the show.


Build pre-event buzz

“At Lime Venue Portfolio, it’s a big part of our values to create excitement. It’s therefore important to us that we arrive having whipped up some sort of excitement,” says Payne. “Going into the show without this momentum is harder. It means we must create it onsite and from a standing start. We prefer to have the audience already engaged and informed when they come and say hello to us.”

Payne advises a month to eight weeks is usually optimum to begin promoting your presence. “We understand that people have busy diaries and trying to excite them about something too far off doesn’t really work. What we do though is send some early messages to get them thinking, and ratchet it all up as we get closer.”

Thorpe agrees and says she likes to start promoting the fact that Malta is exhibiting at the show a couple of months before. “The more time you put in preparing and promoting your presence, the more you get out of the show.”


Multi-channel approach

Thorpe uses the email signatures provided by The Meetings Show and communicates the destination’s presence at the show via multiple channels including email, their newsletter, and LinkedIn.

Payne adds: “Traditional and social media would be the main marketing channels, but we also integrate heavily with our sales teams. We find this gives us lots of opportunities to be seen across different mediums, but we also get put into visitor’s diaries ahead of time so we can manage our schedules appropriately.”


Creative campaigns

To avoid getting lost in a sea of posts by exhibitors sharing that they are going to be at the show, think about what else you could share to create excitement. Lime Venue Portfolio does this through campaigns. “Each year at The Meetings Show we launch something interesting, exciting, and informative for the industry. We heavily promote this ahead of the show so we can make a big announcement at it. It extends the life of our campaign, gives it an anchor point, and adds value to our objectives for the exhibition.”

Thorpe shares how one year, Malta created a video that featured the hotel and DMC partner introducing themselves, whilst kayaking, so it also showed a bit of the destination off. “It worked well for us, and we had some good engagement and feedback. This year we are also doing the post-show fam trip, so that gives us something else to shout about on social.”

Don’t forget to post while you are at the show too, just to remind people you are exhibiting, as it could bag you a few more visits to your stand.


Engage partners

If you have partners exhibiting on your stand, or industry partners you work closely with, it’s worth exploring opportunities for cross-promotion.

Malta Tourism Authority always has several partners on its stand who can help amplify Malta’s presence. “We ask our partners to put the message out to their contacts and via their social channels, which increases our visibility more,” says Thorpe.

Lime Venue Portfolio likes to collaborate with industry partners. “In the run up to the show we work closely with The Meetings Show, the venue, even other exhibitors such as the Delegate Wranglers, to create live events and activation at the event. Last year was food tasting, before that was a launch event and cooking demonstration.

“Together, it all creates excitement and content for our marketing teams, and it signposts our stand as a place to get to know Lime Venue Portfolio, but also learn about food, events, sustainability, and to maybe grab something scrummy to eat.”


Buyer tips

While exhibitors need to shout about their presence to try and attract visitors to their stands, the priorities for buyers visiting the show are very different. They are there to learn through the educational sessions, meet with suppliers and update their product knowledge, so have different reasons for wanting to promote their attendance.

One of the main reasons for posting on social media pre- and during the event, is that it can result in unexpected meetings with a supplier contact who was unaware you would be there and also help create new connections that could be fostered at the show.

As Managing Director of an events agency, Threlfall says that she would always try and post before the show, but not too far in advance for fear of being bombarded with meeting requests. Her advice to exhibitors is to avoid blanket mailouts. “It’s a pet hate as they just kill your inbox and don’t add any value. In fact, it’s likely to do them a disservice as it would make me less likely to want to engage with that exhibitor.”

Promoting her presence during the show, is important to her from a brand building perspective. “A big part of why I am going is for my clients, to show that Brightspace is out there at industry events and keeping up-to-date with everything on their behalf. It promotes the fact that I am connected in the industry and helps position me as a thought leader.”

She adds: “Don’t forget to tag people in your posts, for example if you have had a good meeting, or been to an interesting educational session. Tagging people is important as it gets you more reach and engagement.”

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