You have probably been conversing with your fellow exhibitors about the show and how successful it was. I’d like to share some thoughts about how different participants measure success… in specific areas… overall… when those assessments are made… and the relevance/importance of each.
Bride View: Considerations: Show location (convenience, atmosphere, parking), value (price measured against comp cocktails, hors d’oeurves, exhibitor discounts, diversity of exhibitors, comfort level with aisle space, fashion show).
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would think brides likely would see the event as an 8.5 or 9 My particular bias, is that almost nothing in life should score a 10, because that means there is no room for improvement. And while there is always someone who will find the room too cold or too hot, based on the criteria I’ve outlined, that would be my projection.
You should know that Bridal Spectacular, the show producer, always does surveys with the brides, post show, to ask detailed, specific questions to ascertain a whole range of feedback, that gives a far more complete assessment of ‘show success from the bride’s view.’
Exhibitor Perspective: Keeping Score – Presumably, if you were an exhibitor, you had certain expectations about the look and feel of the show… the vibe, if you well, much as a bride does.
You might also have feelings about how many exhibitors in your category would be too many, and how many would be too few.
Important issues are both controllable and uncontrollable. Did the bridal show producer do a solid job of pre-show event promotion?… Radio, billboards, email, Facebook… and more. Was it effective? (translated: Did brides and their entourage, show up?) – The answers are Yes and Yes.
A show producer can control the width of an aisle, such that it’s comfortable for both bride and exhibitor. They cannot the timing of the arrival brides at the event, or the overall circulation in the room. The aisles were certainly nicely framed, and the layout was easy to understand.
Did you have goals and did you meet or exceed them? The #1 tangible goal should be appointments. The following tangible goal should be sales, resulting from those appointments. If you happen to have a prospect plunk down a deposit to book your services, at the show, that’s nice. But it doesn’t measure your total success.
Total success can’t really be measured until weeks or months, after the show. If a bride has just become engaged on Valentine’s Day, she may not even have the notion of videography on her radar, yet. But, she is all about venues and gowns. Yet, other brides are there to fill in a few last needs, so they are at a different time in the buying cycle.
Exhibitors should have a sense of how any bridal show went, during the course of it, but the fact is… any statement of wild success, moderate success, poor results, or anything else across the spectrum is premature.
- Did the show attract the appropriate quality and assortment of exhibitors?
- Was the show balanced with the optimum number of exhibitors in different categories?
- Did the pre-show marketing and advertising attract a sufficient number of brides and was exhibitor perception of our marketing, largely positive?
- Did the logistics of the event go well? (Bride check-in, exhibitor set-up, traffic flow, break down and load out.)
- Did booth presentation, overall, make for an impressive show (to the brides)?
- Were there any exhibitors that could use some coaching on enhancing their booth presentation and sales approach? How can they best be helped?
- Did exhibitors immediately feel inclined to sign up for future shows, thought their final measurement of sales is not yet complete?
- As the second year of the show, did execution of the show, from year one, for all concerned?
- Did overall financial results improve for exhibitors and the show?
Hotel Perspective: There is a different perspective, but it counts.
- Were the logistics smooth for the show producer and their exhibitors?
- Was our staff properly ready for doors to open, servicing the event, and closure of the event?
- Were both exhibitors and brides sufficiently impressed with our venue to consider booking or referring it for a wedding or other event?
- Was it a profitable event?
Wedding Community Perspective (non-exhibitor and exhibitor view): There is the Facebook view, the gossip view, the you-should-have-been-here approach.
Ultimately, some wedding businesses elected not to participate because of timing or staffing issues. Others felt the post-Valentine’s Day timing was too good to resist and the setting of a hotel-based show would attract a solid, preferred bride.
It’s always wise not to decide whether a choice to sit out, or opt-in, was good or bad, based on the opinion of a couple of industry friends. If you’re going to do touch-feely research, talk a dozen industry friends who exhibited, and then take the feedback with a grain of salt.
And this is true because the show brings in the same audience for ALL the exhibitors. It is up to each one to do pre-show goal setting and booth preparation, work the show (with appropriate goals), make appointments, and after the show, confirm appointments, and close sales.
Putting a bow on it
When you put it all together, there are few simple issues.
- Did the show cause brides to attend?
- Was there a good mix of vendors?
- Did my business do its utmost to present itself and were dialed in to make appointments?
If you do the post-show follow up, and close sales, as an exhibitor, you should have excellent results.
Judging by what I observe, last evening, just about every exhibitor is in a position to have a great return on investment. There is still nothing better than being face-to-face with brides (and vice-versa). And Veils, Tails & Cocktails demonstrated that, for all concerned.
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog