Exhibition News January 2018 - Page 31

en roundtable it’s not quite so rigid in dentistry as it is in optics, therefore you have to get the balance right. You have to know what your audience want. “We were quite surprise with the Dental Showcase that what the visitors actually wanted to see was the new kit, all the new toys that exhibitors were bringing. That was the primary reason they wanted to attend.” The physical journey How visitors move around the show floor is an important factor in their overall experience at an event, with elements like signage and wayfinding tools playing an increasingly important role. “It’s about connecting the dots,” says Wetshi. “Making sure that each of our different personas know where they can go in the show and what’s available for them. Before the show we try to communicate that as well as we can and then at the show we’ve been working a lot with fixing up things like signage. “Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make a difference.” Nicholls adds: “We have 450 exhibitors in one hall, and if you’re a paramedic or an emergency planner you’re going to have a different physical journey. It’s a lot of stands and a lot of content to find your way around.” It’s a challenge, says EN, because on one hand you want visitors to find what they came to see, but also you don’t want people to head straight there and then leave the show. “We don’t have a vehicles area and PPE area etc.,” agrees Nicholls. “It’s every sector covered in every corner. But I think it’s about making the visitor’s actual journey easier, so they can get there, find what they want quicker and make the most of their time.” “I know there’s tech out there, but there’s nothing better than an educated person saying, ‘how can I help?’,” adds Farnfield. “Personalisation is becoming more and more important.” Personalisation can come in many forms, including small touches before and after a show that can made a huge difference to visitors. “You see some very good stuff being done,” says Wyre. “A competitor show to us sent out direct mail before the show to all the people who had pre-registered. They sent out a gold coffee voucher – nothing original but it made them feel special – and a personalised printed map showing their journey to the venue from the address they registered with. “It’s just a little nod, it shows they’ve thought about it” It’s important to make visitors feel valued, agrees Wetshi. “Even with how we handle our VIP invitations,” she explains. “Obviously we want our most important members there but we also found ourselves giving some out saying, ‘you have been upgraded to VIP’, simply because they had attended our event for three consecutive years. "With things like that we usually have very high conversion.” Exhibitors and visitors “For the meetings and events industry the trade shows have become stale,” says Farnfield. “It’s very much driven by hosted buyer programmes and driven by meetings. "If you’re a visitor you book a level of appointments going round the show and then you’ve done your bit and go to networking drinks. “There’s rebellion to that in the UK, because UK buyers don’t like doing that. Because of the major trade shows in Europe that do that, it’s trained the exhibitors not to be that interactive with walk-bys. They are expecting