Vis­i­bel View

Travel Bulletin - - CONTENTS - Si­mon Relph, manag­ing di­rec­tor Vis­i­bel Events

“What ’s the bot­tom line?” is an of­ten-asked ques­tion when it comes to mak­ing de­ci­sions to run with a project or an event. Of course, when it comes to run­ning an ex­hi­bi­tion, the host would be fool­ish not to ask them­selves, “What is the bot­tom line?” But to think of the bot­tom line in purely fi­nan­cial terms is short-sighted; what’s more, to only think of the host’s bot­tom line, is truly my­opic. To mea­sure the true suc­cess of an ex­hi­bi­tion, the host needs to con­sider the triple bot­tom line: the host’s, the ex­hibitors’ and the visi­tors’. This may sound ob­vi­ous, and un­doubt­edly most host or­gan­i­sa­tions will give some con­sid­er­a­tion to needs of the ex­hibitors and the visi­tors. How­ever, for an ex­hi­bi­tion to be truly suc­cess­ful and have the po­ten­tial for fu­ture growth, the host must do more than give a pass­ing nod to the other stake­hold­ers; rather, they need to un­der­stand their value driv­ers and plan the event in such a way that it pro­vides pos­i­tive re­turns to the triple bot­tom line. So how do you do it? There are many value driv­ers - both real and per­ceived - for each of the stake­hold­ers in an ex­hi­bi­tion. The only way that an ex­hi­bi­tion will have pro­vided pos­i­tive re­turns to the triple bot­tom line is if the host, the ex­hibitors and the visi­tors all walk away feel­ing that they are bet­ter off for hav­ing at­tended the event. So what are some things to con­sider?

The vis­i­tor

When plan­ning the ex­hi­bi­tion, it is of­ten best to start by look­ing at the bot­tom line de­mands of the vis­i­tor. Af­ter all, it is the pun­ters that will make or break your event. In­vari­ably, all visi­tors are look­ing for a re­turn on the time that they have in­vested in com­ing to the ex­hi­bi­tion. They will have pos­i­tive bot­tom line re­sult if they come away from the event bet­ter in­formed and bet­ter tooled to do their job. In other words, con­tent is king. If you get this right, you will drive greater and greater num­bers to your event. One very ef­fec­tive way to drive visi­tors to your ex­hi­bi­tion is through a well-re­searched and thought-out ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram in­cor­po­rated into the event. If you don’t have an in-house Con­fer­ence Pro­ducer, then do what many com­pa­nies and as­so­ci­a­tions do and out­source this com­po­nent of the event. A good Con­fer­ence Pro­ducer will re­search what is trend­ing among your tar­get au­di­ence and de­velop an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram that will at­tract them to the ex­hi­bi­tion.

The ex­hibitor

Let’s face it, the bot­tom line for an ex­hibitor is re­turn on in­vest­ment – both time and money. If an ex­hibitor feels that they have been given the op­por­tu­nity to present to a slew of new prospects with a good chance of con­ver­sion, then they will have hit their bot­tom line ex­pec­ta­tions. Of course, to do this, you need the right num­ber and type of visi­tors, which is why it is so im­por­tant to iden­tify your visi­tors’ value driv­ers when plan­ning the ex­hi­bi­tion, and in­cor­po­rat­ing fea­tures into the ex­hi­bi­tion that at­tract the visi­tors.

The host

The chal­lenge for many hosts, both cor­po­rates and as­so­ci­a­tions, is when your event starts to out­grow your abil­ity to ser­vice it prop­erly. This se­ri­ously threat­ens your abil­ity to de­liver a pos­i­tive triple bot­tom line. When you hit this point, most hosts will look to out­source the devel­op­ment and man­age­ment of the event to con­tinue de­liv­er­ing on the bot­tom line. For ex­am­ple, in 2015 ETF wanted to im­prove the out­comes for their Travel In­dus­try Expo by fo­cussing on the triple bot­tom line. To do this, they added a sem­i­nar pro­gram to the event to im­prove vis­i­tor sat­is­fac­tion. It was a re­sound­ing suc­cess. Want­ing to lever­age on that suc­cess, this year ETF com­mis­sioned Vis­i­bel Events to work with the com­pany and their key stake­hold­ers to re­search and de­velop a sem­i­nar pro­gram that will drive in­creased en­gage­ment from visi­tors and grow the triple bot­tom line for their Mel­bourne and Syd­ney exhibitions. In short, if you nail the de­liv­ery on the triple bot­tom line, you can bank on an ex­hi­bi­tion that will con­tinue to grow both in size and rep­u­ta­tion. That’s a win, win, win.

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