At ECEF, keynote delivers strategies and tactics for event organizers
May 30, 2012 - At the Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF), held May 30 in Washington, D.C., keynote speaker Nancy Walsh, EVP at Reed Exhibitions, offered several insights on booth pricing at trade shows as well as suggestions for maximizing an event brand's digital presence.
Walsh said that although "events are coming back," trade show organizers need to reevaluate the pricing structure they use to set exhibitor booth fees. She cited several factors that can be hurdles, and how to overcome them:
• "All space is not equal." Some events charge the same booth price for the entire show, or for a whole hall. But pricing all booths in a large area at the same rate ignores the value of some locations over others. Walsh suggested pricing appropriate to location.• Traditional pricing structures need to be evaluated. For example, legacy low pricing for longtime exhibitors can in some cases be counterproductive. Although some "bellwether" exhibitors may require optimal pricing and location, when possible, Walsh suggests a reconsideration of sweetheart deals.• In general, customers appreciate pricng that varies with location, attributes and timing. Giving exhibitors different pricing options satisfies both the "bare bones" and the "package deal" customer, leading to a higher rate of re-signs and better customer satisfaction.
As for digital strategy, Walsh suggested that the primary values in digital offerings for event companies are in productivity (allowing attendees to register online, for example), brand exposure and content on demand. Online components can deliver leads before the trade show begins, she said. Another tactic to consider -- add "community managers," that is, staffers used to being on line all day, to manage social media and to ensure the "brand lives beyond the show."
By Michael Moran Alterio