The exhibition industry loves a catchphrase – and I’m no different.

The most recent one was coined by a speaker at an industry event, ITE’s Baris Onay, who referenced exhibitions as the ‘handshake’ business.

It’s a good one – I like it.

But the one I like best is the reference of organisers being estate agents – selling plots of temporary land by sqm values.

Nothing more, nothing less.

It is simplicity at its best and pretty accurate as well.

But hang on – while this is a good comparison do we actually treat exhibitors with the same level of sophistication as the housing industry –it is a frightening thought that we could be worse than estate agents, huh?

The reason I ask is this weekend Cameron announced a new initiative whereby 200,000 new homes are to built offered at 20% discount for first-time buyers under the age of forty.

Nice one, Dave, a tasty opening salvo to the election campaign with four months to go.

But politicking aside, I am aware of only two UK organisers within the exhibition industry with special programmes in place for first time buyers.

Now that is incredibly low given that first timers would surely need extra care packages and support if they are to be repeat exhibitors and enjoy a long-standing relationship with an exhibition.

After all exhibitions are only successful if the exhibitors are successful.

But another lesson that can be drawn from the housing industry is the provision of mortgage products on the UK market.

Fixed, tracker, variable, offset, buy to let, help to buy, self-build – the list goes on.

Although it is confusing it does actually allow the homebuyer to find a financial payment plan tailored for their individual needs.

Imagine pricing and payment plans built to suit the need of the individual exhibitor at that particular time – now that’s good exhibitor service and with that comes opportunities.

Forget the rebook process.

Wouldn’t it be a signal of intent by organisers to encourage exhibitors to commit to more than just one year but three, four and five years – offering incentives on the way?

I know that this is veering towards dynamic pricing, which is floating around the industry and some are getting hot under the collar about it but big efficiencies can be drawn from committed exhibitors.

There is nothing wrong with dynamic pricing as long as transparency about the calculations and the rules of the game exist – just ask the airlines.

It’s when it’s unofficial – that’s when it starts to get a little bit funky on the exhibition floor.

This long term thinking and activation would be great for exhibitor growth and retention which are the only true indicators for top and bottom line results of an exhibition.

But you can’t make that type of leap instantaneously, it’s a long process of exhibitor consultation, research, and profiling and dedicated communications….

I would do a seamless link but the company details are below ;-)

Jim heads up Exhibitor Smarts, which is a newly created specialist agency working alongside organisers and suppliers to ensure that exhibitors engage, grow and return.

If you want more information about the Exhibitor Smarts please visit our website at www.exhibitorsmarts.com

 For exhibiting tips and chats follow Exhibitor Smarts on twitter: @exhibitorsmarts


Picture credit from The Beautifully Damned Blog – thanks!

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