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Plan Now To Avoid Panic Later

by Gwen Parsons 28. June 2013 19:20

Fall trade shows and events are just a couple of months away so summer is a great time to get organized. Remember Bill Murray’s movie “What About Bob?” Richard Dreyfuss played his psychiatrist and the author of “Baby Steps.” The trick is to break big problems, like event planning, down into small steps so they can be accomplished in an orderly manner. The first baby step toward a Fall event is to create a checklist of activities and their due dates. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Promotion Campaign
Develop a marketing plan for the event. Consider all of the on- and offline opportunities to promote your presence at the upcoming event. Your plan may include advertising, sponsorships, free VIP passes, press releases, a banner on your website, email broadcasts, newsletters, social media posts, premium giveaways etc. Using target dates for release, you can estimate when to place orders and start the development of artwork. Ideally your messages will be carried through in graphics, presentations, and other materials at the event.
Inspect your display
Be sure your display is prepared to represent you. Shabby graphics will reflect poorly on your company so order replacements when needed. If you plan to purchase a new trade show display, it’s a good idea to draft a brief. Describe your marketing objectives, the products and services you want to push, and interactions you are planning for visitors. Get input, buy in or approval on the brief from appropriate managers. Gaining consensus at the beginning will help you avoid having to tackle internal obstacles at the finish line. The brief can help speed your request for design proposals and guide your evaluation of display solutions.

Show Services
By now you have, or will soon receive, your exhibitor service manual. As the official digest of everything you need to know about the event, it’s important to go through it carefully. Determine which show services you will need and add the early bird dates for form submissions to your checklist. By planning to submit your service orders by the early bird due date you accomplish two things. First, you get the best rates on the services you need, savings of as much as 50 percent. Second, if you miss an early bird submission date you still have time to meet the final advance due date and qualify for some savings.

Book your travel
According to Sean O’Neal of BBC Travel, the old rule of thumb – booking tickets three months ahead for the lowest prices – seems now to be out of synch with the latest research. Based on studies by Kayak and FareCompare, O’Neal suggests purchasing on Tuesday afternoon, about three weeks in advance for domestic US tickets and a little more than a month in advance for international tickets to get the best deal.

As for hotels, compare the rate secured by show management to online rates. I got lucky searching online one night and saved over $1,500 for my team to stay at an event’s host hotel.

Beware: dates on this calendar are closer than they appear. If you find you’re already near a due date, don’t be discouraged. You’ve completed your first baby step!

 

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