Having run numerous events from village fetes, conferences and major food festivals, we appreciate the time and effort needed to attract and retain good quality exhibitor traders.
Not only do you rely on your visitors for revenue, but your trader exhibitors are equally as important. These days we all have our work cut out for us, attracting and retaining good quality traders. This is mainly because they now have the 'pick of the stands'. With a far wider selection type of events to trade at, plus all the day to day business costs that never seem to go down, value for money is higher on their agenda.
1. Research - get out and about, visit those competing events, exhibitions, markets, craft fairs, vintage events, steam rallies, shows and festivals, mystery visit shops who also trade at events, buy online. Do they buy from local suppliers, what is their staffs product knowledge like, are they just importing produce or are they physically making their product? Build some rapport with them.
2. Look at whom you place next to whom - when laying out your stands how do you shop? When you buy bread, do you think of cheese, when you think of cheese do you think pickle, when you think pickle to you think pork pie, when you think pork pie do you think cider and so forth. This can be applied to any trade or industry sector.
3. Avoid favouritism - this is one sure way to lose your reputation, so be fair to everyone. We move all our exhibitors around every year. Why should the favourites always get the best pitches if they are all paying the same price?
4. Look after your trader exhibitors - keep them informed of your progress, involve them in your marketing plan, grab volunteers and help them off load and set up, make sure they all get loo breaks, a brew if its cold or a cold drink when its hot. Go and ask them - or at least if you are not being pulled about by others as many as you can anyway! DO NOT over duplicate your stands too many jam makers are you can get yourself into a right sticky mess!
5. Encourage them - to provide feedback, to tweet and Facebook, to collaborate with each other on produce to make new products even! Their social media accounts and customer databases allow a reach out to potential visitors on a vast scale if they are given easy to share information.
6. Keep an eye on proceedings - during set up, the event itself and break down. Watch out for who gets along with whom and visa versa, who has business knowledge they could help someone with, watch for pinch points too with your visitors for future reference. If your event area is only small think about applying timings to set up.
7. Maintain your database and keep in touch with your exhibitors. Knowledge is vital, especially about the competition!
8. Work with your event suppliers such as paper cup companies, napkin suppliers, printers, food writers and pass on special offers. Even better work with these guys well in advance they may pay you to promote them to your exhibitor traders.
9. Don't over charge for your stand - if your footfall is low don't over charge, but likewise if you do get the foot fall and people continually sell out great - keep your price held for as long as you can and encourage visitors to come earlier. Keep an eye on those who continually sell out though - not too great for your event.
10. Make your application forms simple - not all small business have the time to download, print, complete by hand, scan and email or post back - and copy document after document does not help the trees either! Call Event Owl to see how you can save yourself and your exhibitors valued time in the process! Your bottom line relies on bringing in good quality traders on board and early - Event Owl runs a deposit scheme to help you get that bottom line looking good - early.