Trade shows, travel shows, wedding shows – we’ve all been there, standing in a crowded room the size of Costco, trying to get noticed, start relationships, and maybe even close deals. But for the amount of money you’ve paid to be there, how much is your typical return on investment? Here’s how I make trade shows work for me.
First, I never pay for a booth at a show. I use my strategic partnerships with resorts to jointly offer a trip giveaway at the show in return for a free booth and my branding on every poster, flyer, and press release. Before I’ve even spread out my booth’s tablecloth, I’m ahead of the game on brand recognition.
Second, I make a point to meet all of the vendors. I say hello, chat with them, learn what they have to offer and tell them what I have to offer. I pick up all of their business cards, and if someone comes to my booth looking for another service, I know exactly where to send them (and the other vendors will likely do the same for me).
Third, I come prepared to answer any question and have a note pad handy to write down memory triggers of the people I speak with. When they call me the next week, I want to be able to remember whom I spoke with and where they want to go.
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The trick to working trade shows is to make people remember you while you remember them. Find ways to collect contact information, and be sure to enter every name and email address immediately into your newsletter database. Offer an incentive to “Like” you on Facebook and Twitter. And, use each show as a springboard to build relationships with vendors who complement your services. You might just find your new strategic partner in the booth next to you.
After having built Elite Travel in the wake of 9/11 and during the collapse of the airlines, natural disasters, the recession, and the onslaught of online booking engines, Tammy Levent knows better than most how to create a successful business in an adverse climate. She believes that for travel agencies to succeed, they need to redefine the business and change the way we think of travel agents.
In 2013, Levent partnered with several top entrepreneurs to develop The Travel Agent’s Success Kit ™ (TASK) to help struggling travel agencies successfully adapt to this new age of travel.