Event Planners - we ask the experts ...

Event Planners – we ask the experts …

Event Planers have one of the most high pressure jobs out there.

Each and every year companies throughout the world spend hundreds of thousands of pounds showing off their products, services or brand to prospective clients and customers.

And it is the Event Planners job to make sure they get what they pay for from the opening day of the event to closing day.

As an Event Staffing Agency we can play a big part in a companies event success so we sent an email to a number of Event Planners throughout the UK and were lucky enough to be able to secure some very insightful answers from to high profile event planning businesses for you.

What questions did we ask the Event Planners?

Basically, we kept it simple.

They are busy people so we didn’t want to waste their time with a long list of questions that none of them would have answered anyway.

The questions we put to the event planners were …

  • In your opinion, what are the three main factors that contribute to a successful exhibition stand?
  • In your opinion what would you choose as the most engaging promotional giveaway at an event?

Some very intriguing answers …

James Barr @ TN4 Hospitality …

TN4 Hospitality Event Planners

Exhibition stands are one of the most complex marketing tools of all, a great platform for communication and acquiring new customers but getting the balance between an impressive looking stand and a coherent one can be tough.

So in answer to your first question:

  1.       The layout of the stand is very important, too much advertising, too many interactive tools and too many stand staff can scare potential custom away but too little can also have the same effect. The stand should always reflect the company’s corporate identity and visitors should know at a glance the areas in which the company operates.
  2.       Employing the best staff on the stand, not so much the case with smaller companies as the people on the stand have probably prepared the company’s presence at the exhibition but with larger companies who have employed external staff, each stand member should receive a written briefing well in advance so they know the identity of the company and the goals for the exhibition, they should also receive a face to face briefing before the exhibition starts.
  3.       Call me old fashioned but smile and have fun while being professional, with potential customers spending on average between 30 seconds and 3 minutes on a stand, you could talk to over 100 people in a day, make sure you show the same energy and enthusiasm to the first person you spoke to, to the last person you speak to as that last person could be your next big client!

Second question: I used to be a fan of the USB stick with presentations on, I have plenty in my bag still but now people store documents in the cloud. So for me I think the best give away is the mobile device charger, we all spend a lot of the day on our phones and if you’re busy at an exhibition your phone battery will be on 50% by lunch. So a thoughtful and practical gift that can be used again and again exposing your logo every time it’s used to them and others around them.


Cindy-Michelle Waterfield – iwantaspeaker.com …


Great questions and happy to help.

Question 1:

i) If you are lucky enough to have a speaking slot, co-ordinate your efforts and make sure the presentation is all about giving information that is useful to your audience and relevant to your business –NOT a sales pitch or is given by a bad speaker.  Conference organisers are quick to sell the benefit of having a speaking slot, but many company’s abuse this and it’s often an offput.  One client I worked with said their CEO always spoke and he was the worst speaker she’d ever heard so preferred not to have their stand associated with him!!  However, when you use this opportunity wisely, and the audience like what you are saying and you finish your presentation at the end with a ‘if you want to know more info, come to our stand’, they will come.  Another client who did recognise this said that whenever they had their CEO speak, they always picked up at least 1 client from every exhibition he spoke at, so got him to speak more and started using their exhibition Stand at every opportunity where their CEO spoke as it became the focal point for people to go to  after hearing his presentation.

ii) Your pre conference advertising/infomercials.  Letting clients and potential clients know that you will be at a conference with a stand is a brilliant way of letting them know that there is an opportunity for them to approach you and have a chat.  This means that clients and potential clients who don’t want the hard sell, or don’t want you to come to their office, or don’t won’t to come to your office, or have a few questions but want to ask anonymously or think that they could be wasting your ‘call out time for a few questions’ or think that they can consolidate time by seeing 3 or 4 other suppliers at the same time now can feel that they have a way to reach out, connect and interact in a more subtle way.  We have been far more successful when we ask people to come and see us and then following up from the exhibition, than trying to call and get individual appointments.  By using the exhibition stand as the subtle ‘port of entry’ means you are making the lead time and associated costs a whole load smaller.

iii) Make your stand ‘comfortable’ to those you invite to stay for a while.  Dressing your stand with loads of info and leaflets is great for passers-by, but what about those who do want to come and chat?  By having a relaxed seating area and simple hospitality of a bottled water and cup option while they talk to you and you LISTEN shows that you care enough to take time for them.  Remember – exhibitions are a two way thing – just as much as you are there to obtain a full order book and a feeling of achieving something for being there – the attendees are also there to achieve something – moan, buy, info gather.  Exhibitions are hard enough with loads of info being thrown at you and pitches left right and centre, so finding somewhere to escape, be heard and have acknowledgement gives a sense of achievement too.  The only thing here though is to spot the time wasters: those who want to use your facility to take the weight off their feet and drink your water….  But even then, they have a use when managed well – they make your stand look busy which is always good for when that potential client pops by.

Question 2:

In your opinion what would you choose as the most engaging promotional giveaway at an event?  What a great question.  So simple and yet so hard to answer.  I’ve seen many over the years and forgotten more.  The day of the mouse mats and cup coasters has been and gone, the retro sweets are here in force, together with the metal travel cup while the little foam squeeze ball/toy seems to be a constant followed by the ‘always useful’ pens and pads. For me, it’s always been dependant on what I need at the time and the industry I work in.  For example, working in the Speaking industry where dates are important, a simple calendar in the shape of a pen pot sent at Christmas one year was by far the most useful giveaway I received as I kept it on my desk for the whole of the year. But a packet of retro sweets (or 3) that I was given at the last exhibition, while nice, out of mind the moment I finished eating them.  Something that is useful for your potential clients and relevant to them that is also relevant to you is always best.  We are still looking for something for ourselves but I do hold a good collection of pens in handbags, desk, draws and the car – so maybe, the humble pen – while it is the most simple and often used give away, still remains the top of the give-away chart.  The difference between those that are kept and those that are lost into hangbags, draws and cars and not on my desk is: the quality of the pen.