The Independent Hotel Show has always been a highlight of our events calendar, a true industry event completely dedicated to the needs of hoteliers and alike. As a supplier the event provides us with an opportunity to showcase new products, develop and learn about industry trends and the challenges hoteliers are facing, as well a fantastic networking opportunity to connect with our industry peers and customers.
This was the first year that I attended the show as a visitor. I got to truly experience the event how our customers do, of course I try to do this every year, but you would be surprised how fast those two days go by when your stand has a constant flow of eager hoteliers!
This year I was able to take a step back and really take in what was on offer, in fact I think I looped the exhibition hall at least six times. I got into the mindset of a hotel owner, thinking about how I could maximise the experience to leave satisfied that a day (or two in some cases) away from my busy hotel was justified. I considered the products and services on offer during my first loop, identifying those that would be of interest and why, and why some of the stands appeared less appealing. It stuck me at this point that I hadn’t really planned my visit as well as I could have or indeed as well as I do as an exhibitor. Do you plan your visits to trade shows? Perhaps some visitors were only attending to see a particular supplier, to meet a colleague or to hear from this year’s outstanding panel of speakers and some of course may have been new to the industry and wanted to experience everything on offer.
So here are some useful tips for the next time you visit the Independent Hotel Show or any of the other fantastic trade shows on offer.
- Set your own objectives– why are you attending, what are you looking to achieve? What products or services are you looking for?
- Pre-register– same time (and sometimes money at paid events) and skip the queues!
- Plan your visit -Print a copy of the floor plan, you could plan your route or simply mark your top exhibitors you are looking to connect with.
- Be open to new ideas– just because you are not looking for a particular product or product service right now be prepared to engage with suppliers that may be able to introduce you to a better product or solution!
- Spend time after the show reviewing your takeaways– bags upon bags of samples, business cards and brochures? Sort through them, prioritise them, don’t leave them under your desk never to be opened again!
- Expect to do the whole show in an hour – if an event Is running for two days, I would visit for two days. The nature of these types of events means that its possible you will miss the person you really want to see.
- Make assumptions– You will often see the same exhibitors at these kinds of events, just because you saw them last year, doesn’t mean their offering is the same!
- Fill your diary with meetings and seminars– these are great but make sure you have the time to visit the exhibitors as well.
I am already looking forward to returning in 2022 as an exhibitor, our stand will be our best yet and we already have so much to show you. Keep your eyes on our blog for our latest news, we have some exciting stuff coming soon.
Photo credit: The Hospitality Partnership