With IMEX America — the largest meetings industry trade show in the USA — coming up next week, Relevé Unlimited shares our top tips for planners to get the most out of tradeshows. The Relevé Team has been attending meetings trade shows like MPI’s WEC (World Education Congress) and Canada’s IncentiveWorks for more than 20 years, and we’ve discovered these tenets to be key to making the most of your investment of time, energy and finances.
- When considering how to get the most out of a trade show, the most important rule is to “know why you go.” Whether you pay your own way or your employer covers your expenses, a meeting planner’s time is her / his most valuable commodity and attending a quality trade show can be an excellent way to achieve several goals in one fell swoop.
IMEX identifies five potential goals for meeting planners attending their event:
- Ideas and inspiration
- Finding new suppliers and destinations
- Meeting with my current suppliers and destinations
- Education and Inspiration can found throughout the three main days of IMEX, but if you want to free up some of your time for walking the trade show floor, then consider coming in a day early for SMART Monday, the FREE day of education open to everyone attending IMEX (meaning that both planners and suppliers are in attendance). Powered by MPI, SMART Monday kicks off with a stimulating Purposeful Meetings keynote by Events Industry Council Hall of Leaders honoree Janet Sperstad.
Then spend the rest of your day earning the first level of MPI’s new Event Design Certificate, joining in the Association Leadership Forum or the PCMA Business School session on Innovation; getting new professional headshots for free, tour the back-of-house operations of the Venetian | Palazzo | Sands Expo, or partake in any of the dozens of educational, inspirational or wellness sessions offered HERE.
Educational and inspirational opportunities continue all day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at IMEX in classroom-style Seminars, and on the Exhibition Floor via the Campfires, Hot Topic Tables and the Research Pod in the Inspiration Hub, as well as in the Play Room and Lunch Time Live Zones.
- The best way to find new suppliers and destinations (or meet with your current suppliers) is via a 30-minute appointment with them on the exhibition floor. Our next of our top tips for planners to get the most out of tradeshows in a limited amount of time is meet with DMCs (destination management companies) like Relevé Unlimited. Leading DMCs educate planners on destination and location advantages, and they’re ready to guide you to your best options in high-satisfaction attendee experiences delivered via the DMC’s vetted and trusted vendor partners. DMC’s are in the business of guaranteeing your event’s success while saving you time, angst, and money.
- When planning your appointments, keep in mind that the exhibition floor tends to be arranged in geographic zones. For example, if you know that your next meetings will go to Southern California and New York, save yourself time and steps by booking your consecutive appointments for one geographic region at a time. The IMEX floorplan is available HERE — just scroll over the floorplan to view the exhibitor stand names and numbers.
- Another of our tips for planners to get the most out of tradeshows is take charge of your appointments with potential vendors — be prepared with your event goals, as well as your budget, event dates, and number of attendees. Take notes efficiently — you will forget later which supplier said what in that meeting.
- Make sure to bring plenty of business cards, and whether networking, attending a seminar, or in an appointment with a potential supplier, don’t forget to smile. When meeting vendors and other colleagues, a smile goes a long way towards making a lasting, positive impression. Also, wear your name badge proudly on your right shoulder so that when you meet someone and shake their hand, they can see it easily.
- Follow-up after the show is over to keep in touch with your contacts, whether you send out LinkedIn invitations or follow through with your new connections via email.
- Finally, make sure you make an appointment to see Relevé Unlimited Director of Sales & Marketing Fred Huther in Visit Santa Barbara booth B425. Make your appointment today HERE!
Relevé Unlimited has been the ultimate Planner’s Partner throughout Southern California since 1992 — contact President Diane Hamilton to find out how we can support your next event in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County (including Ojai, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Newport Beach, and Dana Point).