Beyond the goody bag; are Industry events still relevant?

2023 is the year where ALL of the events Industry trade shows, networking events and forums are back in full force. Event professionals have flocked back to in-person events with organisations increasing the number they are holding this year.

On the surface, it can look like all fun and no work (this is events after all, there’s no excuse for boring), just a lovely day out, a glossy goody bag and a great Instagram opportunity. Where is the real value?

We thought we’d share where we feel the real value lies from these events as a venue finding agency, and why we’ve already locked several in to our calendar already this year…

1. Keeping up with the Jones's.

Everyone likes to say their industry is fast paced, but in our case, it’s particularly true. Just recently we’ve had Jury’s Inns hotel group becoming Leonardo hotels, in Edinburgh we’ve got a new Red Carnation opening (100 Princes Street) and the Hoxton in Haymarket. Virgin opened their first hotel in Edinburgh last year and there’s another one due to open in Glasgow soon. It’s the same story everywhere – if you look at London, there are new venues opening all the time, for example the new One Hundred Shoreditch in East London, or the art’otel London Battersea. It’s an exciting time!

When searching for a venue, using paid listings, booking tools and online research can be helpful, but they are often not where you get the most up to date information – by the time they are updated with new details, chances are it will have changed again.

With the hospitality sector expo’s and trade shows it is different. Venues and hotels use these as a platform for sharing their latest news, future developments, new products and refurbishments – they’re there to share a particular message or initiative from their brand. By attending these events we can hear them first hand, see them in more detail and therefore share the most relevant information with our clients, helping them to stay ahead of the curve.

2. People buy from people.

It’s a well-worn cliché because it is true!

Working to develop and nurture our network of industry contacts and professionals is one of the most valuable things we can do. Not only is it a way to find out about the latest information from our industry colleagues’ perspective, but events also give us a chance to help them understand our clients’ specific needs.

We represent our clients at these events and by engaging with our network we can turn conversations into opportunities. We offer a high touch, expert, in-depth service and get to know everything that is important to our clients to deliver exactly the right venue every time. By sharing this with our Industry colleagues – why something is going to work particularly well, how offers can be tailored to fit their brief, we create a foundation of understanding.

This means the next time our network receives an enquiry from ExecSpace they’ll:

  1. Know we’ve contacted them because we genuinely think their venue is a good fit for the client.
  2. Already have a better understanding of what our client is looking for.
  3. Be able to provide a more detailed and relevant proposal which gives them a higher chance of securing the business.

By spending time with the people who can make it happen, we are more efficient, effective, and get better outcomes for our clients, which we feel is time well spent.

3. Working smarter not harder.

As we’ve mentioned ExecSpace offer a very high touch service. We support clients throughout each stage of the venue finding process, from initial enquiry, through to site visits and finally contracts/payments. However, even with the most well-planned days of site visits, we can probably only fit in five to six maximum, which can be limiting if we’re looking to view a range of options.

 

At Industry events, we can utilise booked appointments with venue representatives to help with the selection process. 15-minute slots can be booked throughout the day in a speed networking style, which gives us between 12-20 opportunities to have an in person conversation. Granted we are not viewing a property at this point, but even those 15 minutes face to face can help us whittle down a shortlist so the venues we do visit with our clients are the top priorities.

 

Again, more efficient, and effective in helping our clients find exactly the right venue first time, rather undergoing a long and circuitous process.

Investing in the experts of the future.

Finally, one of the reasons we think industry events are so valuable is because we use them as a development opportunity for our team.

We already invest time into events and exhibitions because of the direct value it offers to our clients and the venue finding process, but to develop talent for the future we feel it is important for our team to absorb the learning and development shared.

The best way to support our clients with their venue finding needs is to help them access information and advise them using our relationships and experience. Therefore, the more we invest into our team so that they become the experts of the future, the more value this will bring to both them and the clients of the future.

While we would love to attend ALL the Industry events in 2023, we have to maintain a balance and make sure we are there for our clients, so we focus our activities!

Locked in our diary this year so far are:

A London show that isn’t just about London, international venues are always well represented here and they include a robust educational programme too.

This show is fabulous for London venues and is particularly good for the more unique and unusual. We like the mix of venues, local suppliers, and restaurants.

We usually attend both Leeds and Birmingham events as they’re great for networking and offer a balance against being too London-centric, offering more national coverage. We already attended the Inspirational Venues Roadshow in February.

We help many of our clients with events around Christmas, so this one is a must attend, despite it being in July and usually being rather warm! It’s a great event for finding new and different options – last year we discovered Ocean Diva for example.

While we source venues throughout the UK, we are Scotland based, so we support our local expos! The next tradeshow is in February 2024, but the new EVENTIT roadshow is happening right now in various locations throughout the UK, and we’ll be going to the next event on 15th March – look out for Lou who will be on the panel.

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