the majority of the MICE industry digests their Frankfurters in Frankfurt, I remain
here in London contemplating Church House Conference Centre’s five-year
business plan, which is currently undergoing its annual update. To some this
may sound like a tedious task, after all I wrote it last year and on the front
it says it is good for five years; however the time spent on the annual review
of the plan is one of the most valuable exercises of the year for us and indeed
for any business.
of the biggest question marks is should we also be exhibiting in Frankfurt? Or Barcelona
in November? It is safe to say our exhibition strategy is, without doubt, one
of the parts of our Business Plan that gives me the most headaches. It is an
area that we allocate considerable money to, but with more and more tradeshows
crowding the market place there are some difficult decisions to be made.
you turned the clock back four years I would have said that anything other than
a domestic-based show, targeting a domestic audience, would have been an
unnecessary extravagance for Church House. At the time we were in a comfort
zone that said: “We know our business and our business knows us”. Boy have
things changed over the last four years! Many of our clients are now new and from
further afield, so shouldn’t our exhibition strategy follow the same pattern?
obvious question has got to be “Do exhibitions still give us a ROI?”. The
answer to that is a definite yes, the right ones do. With a strong follow-up
strategy the ROI of an exhibition can be measured, the main issue however is
whether or not to take the plunge as testing a new show can be an expensive
experiment. So far this year we have dipped our toes into the BNC Global Event Show
at The Brewery and were extremely happy with the results. We have also signed
up for The Meetings Show UK at Olympia in July and in 2014 our Business Plan
now tentatively contains two overseas shows, to reflect the growing number of international
events being held at Church House.
where is all that extra money coming from I hear you all ask? There will
probably be some shuffling of the pack, with the ROI of each show we currently
exhibit at being assessed and in some cases dropped. There are also many other
areas of our marketing budget that over the last few years we have been able to
economise on, but that is another story, and one I will happily tell in the future.
this blog my conclusion is that exhibitions are still very much a key part of a
venue’s marketing strategy, providing essential face-to-face opportunities with
buyers, however there is a definite change in the market place and we should
all take a very careful look where we spend those valuable marketing pounds.
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