Monday, September 30, 2013

What to do before and after an Event: It’s not just about Tradeshow Exhibits

If you’re attending a marketing event to promote your property or attraction, the work can begin well before the event and isn’t finished when the trade show exhibits are packed away. Follow these tips for beforehand and afterwards and you can help ensure that you have a successful trade show, whether you’re a complete newbie or a veteran marketer.

  • Make Sure Your Materials Are Being Shipped To The Correct Place
You can't always bring all your materials with you when going to an event, so having your trade show materials shipped to the right location is vital.  If any of the shipping details are incorrect, such as the zip code or city, or even which hall at the convention center, you could be stuck at the event without your trade show exhibits. Additionally, check that your company’s name or booth location is clearly labeled on the boxes so that the staff knows exactly where it should be placed for installation.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your company’s name is clearly labeled on the inside of each box or shipping crate.  These crates can sometimes become damaged in transit and it could be a disaster if the container is damaged and no one knows where the contents belong.
  • Think About What You Want To Accomplish With Your Trade Show Exhibits
Make sure that you understand what you want to get out of the expo. Many businesses set vague goals — that is, if they set any at all.  If your goals are something like “capture more leads,” sit down and think about what this really means.  How many leads to you want to capture?  Do you want to get 10?  Or is 200 a more reasonable number?  Also consider the strength of the leads.  It’s not enough to capture leads without qualifying them first.  A cold lead is as good as no lead so make sure that your leads actually have a reason or a need for your company before you spend hours following up once you get back into the office.
  • Make Good On Your Promises
If you’ve promised to send an attendee information about your company, make sure that you actually do it once the event is over and the trade show exhibits are packed away.  If you promise to send something and don’t actually do it, many customers will assume you don’t want their business and will move on to your competitor.

Even if you didn’t promise information, you should still follow up with people you met at your trade show booth.  If someone filled out a lead card, but it didn’t seem like they were a hot lead, make sure that you call to check in every once in a while.  They were interested enough to visit your booth at the event so it’s possible that their needs could change in the future. Take care to not seem over-aggressive, however, since aggressive tactics can turn customers away.

While these tips aren’t complicated, they are extremely important if you want to maximize sales from a trade show marketing event.  Use these, but realize that they’re not the only things you should be doing.  Sit down with your staff and see if you can come up with other tasks that can help ensure your event is a success.

For more ideas contact our sales department.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hospitality Training for At-Risk kids

Busy lives and the social disconnectedness afforded by modern communication technologies are quickly swallowing up the art of hospitality.” 

How do we regain this intangible skill that should never be replaced with modern technology? 
Destinations across the country are embracing a new approach to deter youth violence that is taking the lives of many young adults.  Cities across the country are looking at how hospitality training programs can create respect for others and instill pride in communities.   The program is not only about reducing crime but preparing our youth for a job market and industry that lacks a smile and information needed to make a sale.

Some training initiatives target 15 to 24 year-olds struggling to find work and help them get jobs in the hospitality and restaurant industries while others incorporate grade school students. 

“Virginia Avenue Park's Teen Center is not only about getting kids jobs. The City's realigned Cradle to Career initiative hopes to nip the causes of youth violence in the bud by helping disadvantaged kids find careers that promise more than just a meager paycheck, according to the Julie Rusk, Santa Monica's director of Community and Cultural Services.”
“In the tourism industry, it’s not about pipelining our youth into fast food, and other restaurant jobs but training them to have a career in the hospitality industry that encompasses so much more”.   An initiative program primary focus should be to introduce an industry that youth can see a future and embrace a life time career.  These training programs can be implemented in local high schools, community outreach organizations and community colleges.

Tourism is economic development which includes training our youth for tomorrow’s industry. Contact Larry Williams, Executive Director to find out more about this opportunity.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teaching Children Hospitality

Hospitality is a dying art and training should start during childhood

How do we engage kids in hospitality under the age fifteen?   Adults who live with kids can invite guest into their homes regularly.  Allow the children to invite them verbally or in writing.  Communication skills are encouraged when you host family, friends and other children into your home.  The art of hospitality starts at home. 

Ask kids to share what makes them feel welcome whenever they visit a new place for the first time.  Encourage them to join your local church or organization’s hospitality committee and have them prepare guest needs before they arrive.  Teach children how to plan ahead of time.  If it’s the guest first time visiting, give them a short tour of the bathroom and play areas.  If the guest is staying overnight show them where to find amenities, such as soap, towels, blankets food and dishes.  Last but not least, let children create a fun basket with toiletries for guest.

Quality customer service doesn’t have to disintegrate if we start hospitality training early on. Teaching our kids and preparing them to be responsible adults will equip them for industries looking for skilled and friendly employees.

Larry Williams, Executive Director
Kankakee County Convention & Visitors Bureau