What's Floating Around

What’s Floating Around Cloud 9? 25 April 2016


Welcome to another week and this week its all about the CHS Show which takes place in Leeds tomorrow at the First Direct Arena. The Conference and Hospitality Show (CHS) is the leading event in the North for event organisers, venue finders and PAs.

The show is now in its 7th year and for 2016 is moving from Elland Road to the world class First Direct arena in central Leeds. The event incorporates an exhibition of national companies – including venues, hotels and suppliers of meetings products and services, numerous education sessions and networking events.

The show has a well-established hosted buyer programme and specialist education streams serving both the PA and the event organiser and it has to be said, that out of the oodles of event trade shows that take place within our industry each year, CHS is right up there as one of our favourites here at Cloud 9 Towers.

We are lucky enough to attend as Hosted Buyers which means that the lovely CHS people treat us to an overnight stay and welcome party the night before the exhibition and even though we are hosted, we are not obligated to do a set number of appointments which is usually the case.

Instead at CHS we have the opportunity to wander round and talk to those venues exhibiting with who we are interested in finding out more, or simply catching up with those properties that we know well and have an existing working relationship with.

This informal approach is one of the reasons we love CHS and also the fact its just one day is also a plus as many of the shows these days run over two or three days and if you are hosted, it can be a big chunk out of your working week to attend.

But what makes Trade Shows important for our, and all other businesses?  With so many potential clients gathered in the same venue, trade shows present incredible marketing opportunities. They give companies the chance to connect with the customers who are most interested in what the company offers.

Most companies set up booths featuring video displays, printed signs, promotional materials, and well informed sales people to highlight what is exemplary and appealing about the company. Representatives will provide presentations, hold competitions and all sorts of promotional activity to capture the attention of trade show attendees and CHS is no exception.

We’re not typical trade show visitors though as if you are not careful you can find yourself bogged down by a million and one brochures – many of them duplicated if more than one of us is attending and we prefer to try and keep most of activities online these days. So exhibitors don’t need to worry about the bag collectors from our end anyway – you know the type – not interested in the stand apart from the freebies!

Luckily in our industry, everyone who attends CHS will be interested and qualified to attend so its unlikely that the exhibitors will be plagued by lots of visitors wasting their time.

However, exhibitors can sometimes get it wrong and those that don’t understand the importance of marketing in advance can fail to get visitors to engage at their show. Also exhibitors who don’t have a clear goal can come a cropper. It’s all well and good handing out leaflets and promotional material but if you want to attract business then make sure you are getting your message across.

Additionally, its all very well collecting a million and one business cards, but exhibitors should concentrate on the quality of the visitors to their stand, not the quantity. Its also really important to follow up as many leads as possible as soon as possible after the show.

Promotional giveaways are a constant presence at trade shows and you can spend a fortune on water bottles, bags, phone chargers, pens, stress balls, as well as printed brochures, but what are these really doing for you, especially if you’re handing them out to anyone who walks by the booth.

Lastly, social media really counts as well and is a great way to engage at exhibitions, with photos and commentary online.

We’ll be engaging at CHS on Tuesday and using the assigned hash tag #CHSRocks and in our opinion, it certainly does!

Have a great week everyone and don’t forget that the nominations for the CHS Awards are out on Tuesday too…