Once you have identified your aims, refer to these at each stage of the planning process. This will allow you to cross check each decision against your overall aims, helping you to streamline the planning process and ensure your plans don’t journey off-course.
Calculating A Budget & Profit Benchmark
As with every major event, exhibition planning is limited to a budget, and the success of your event is dependent on how you utilise the funds you have available.
The main budget-eaters are things like:
Choose where to host your exhibition carefully. This space not only determines how many guests can attend, but also how many other exhibitors can provide content for your event. You might also want to consider what impression the venue reinforces – is it worth hosting in a grand venue to create a more glamorous feel? Or would a less opulent venue be appropriate?
You need to allocate a good proportion of your budget to getting the word out about the exhibition. It’s important to bear in mind the difference in approach when marketing to the attendees and the exhibitors. The attendees need to be convinced that the exhibition will have something for them, and the exhibitors will need to be convinced that the attendees will want to buy from them. Getting these two messages to connect is vital to the success of the entire event.
Décor & Technology and Furniture
The internal décor will have a big impact on how your guests perceive the event. Furniture, branded images, banners and screens are a good way to create an impressive visual experience. The Technology you use throughout the event is also very important.
Depending on the type of exhibition, you might want to include an industry leader to present a talk or seminar. Case studies and industry leaders insights make great talking points, and this will not only provide a more rounded experience for the attendees, but will give you more of an edge when marketing the event.
Food & Drink
You may want to include refreshments during the event, which will incur extra upfront costs, even if later incorporated into ticket prices.
Big events require logistics management. This includes managing the exhibition space, knowing who’s turning up and when, organising the timings and the general flow of the day (or series of days). It’s important to have a team dedicated to the smooth running of the event.
Staff & Hospitality
Allow some budget for general hospitality and logistics staff to be available throughout the event.
Logistics (in more detail)
As with any event, logistics are a key element to plan. Simple things like ensuring the exhibition location has near-by parking, accommodation and travel links are vital to success. With an exhibition, you’ll also need to consider:
- The setting up and dismantling of stalls
- Arrival and departure times of exhibitors
- Where you need equipment and when
- Organising lanyards and hand-outs
- Organising networking events
- Overall time management
- Pre and post-production (setting up and dismantling of displays)
Co-ordinate a team to focus and manage each of the processes in detail - managing all of these aspects acutely will ensure a seamless operation.
Generating a Profit From Exhibitions
Exhibitions can be a great way to turn a profit, especially if the content offered to the attendees is of a high quality. Likewise, quality content gravitates to good quality attendees – the two aspects need to meet in the middle to create a successful exhibition. People will pay for the privilege of attending an event that surrounds topic relevant to them. Likewise, people will pay to showcase their product to a number of qualified leads. Both parties need a reason turn up!