How can you plan for a successful expo?
- Build a team
- Create a budget plan
- Set event objectives
- Create a fact sheet
- Find a location or venue
- Create a promotional plan
Mapping out a plan ahead of time is critical to the success of any event. Regardless of whether you are planning a local trade show or an international exhibition, you must always establish strategic events planning to help you achieve your goals. In addition to that, planning saves you from panicking in between shows due to unexpected issues and additional expenses.
Planning an expo typically requires a lead-time of at least 12 months to allow time for planning, revising, and implementing the strategies. With that, here is a basic list and a simple guide to planning your next event.
Build a Team
Building a team will require you to entrust positions to other people. Planning an expo cannot be a one-man thing. There are plenty of things that should be accomplished in a day and it is impossible for you to do it all alone. With that, it is recommended that you outsource manpower for less important tasks. Otherwise, here are the key people that any event team must have in order to carry out different tasks:
- Project Manager
- Events Planner
- Marketing Manager
- Operations Manager
- Resource Acquisition
Create a Budget Plan
When creating a budget for an event, you will need to develop a basic framework that can be revised along the way. Here are some of the expenses you must consider when writing the budget plan.
- Contractor (cost of the booth and other physical requirements)
- PR & Advertising
- Professional fees (event management group, registration, legal fees, etc)
- Travel and transportation
- Business development and representation
- Office supplies (includes tokens, ribbons, flowers, leis, etc for the opening if necessary)
- Miscellaneous costs such as decoration, storage, utilities, and security personnel
Set Event Objectives
Before you begin planning for an event, it is important to set goals and objectives. Here are some of the points you can consider:
- What is the purpose of this event? (i.e. To put under one roof industry stakeholders and present the latest in the industry)
- Target profit margin (i.e. To achieve 40% profitability)
- Lead generation (To be able to gain new industry players)
- To be able to stage the event with minimal production flaws
- To be nominated and awarded by any event recognition body i.e. Agora Awards, etc.
- To be able to attract quality visitors that will satisfy participating exhibitors and sponsors
Create a Fact Sheet
Regardless of industry, creating a fact sheet for the exhibition you are planning will allow you to invite the right partners (exhibitors, sponsors, and visitors). Develop an exhibitor fact sheet that contains complete information about the event. These are a few of the things that a fact sheet must contain:
- Basic Event Information (Dates, Location, and Time)
- Overview of the Event
- Exhibitor profile (who can join and showcase)
- Visitor Profile (who are the target audience. This is important for your exhibitors. Who can they present their
- products/services to?)
- Why join this event (state benefits)
- Packages, Pricing
- Contact details (Contact persons, telephone, emails, URL, address)
Find a Location or Venue
Finding the right venue depends on the type of event you are holding as well as the number of exhibitors you plan to invite. By finalizing the target number of exhibitors, you will be able to determine the right location and size of the hall or space. Take note: locating a venue before finalizing participants and the event type might lead you to certain event planning pitfalls.
At all costs, avoid providing exhibitors with small, limited space. It is better to acquire a bigger size and consider the standard size for walkway of visitors. Note: you do not wait to have exhibitors sign-up before you get a venue. You set your target first (in terms of booths to be sold) then identify the venue.
Create a Promotional Plan
Once everything has been planned from the location to the date of the event, proceed to develop your marketing plan. There are several ways to promote and advertise an exhibition, here are some of them:
- Email invites or announcements
- Online Banner Ads
- Flyers and Print Ads
- Social Media Marketing
In addition, you may involve the exhibitors in the promotion. The more exhibitors that will promote the event, the easier it will be to reach your audience. If the event you are holding requires entrance fees, it will help to offer early bird tickets and incentivize those who will patronize early.
From creating a budget plan to developing marketing strategies for promotion, planning an expo requires a lot of organization. Make sure to cover every detail to avoid additional and extra expenses. Moreover, always prioritize your sponsors and exhibitors. If you do wish to hold an annual show, make sure to establish partnership to expand your network and connections.