For years now, booth hostesses have been the subject of a heated public debate.

For years now, booth hostesses have been the subject of a heated public debate.In one camp, there are those who see them as a relic of a long gone era when trade shows – both behind the scenes and in terms of attendance – were male-dominated. In the other camp, there are those who claim that despite all the negative rep in recent times, booth hostesses are still a very important asset in promoting brands and products and raking in sales.

But very few attempts have been made to dissect the booth hostess phenomenon and offer an impartial look at the matter. In this article, we’ll try to make a case for hiring booth hostesses to work at conventions and trade shows, while duly acknowledging the concerns voiced by the opponents of this trend.

What Is a Booth Hostess?

Booth Babe is a slang term used to describe female models you will find in promotional booths at a variety of trade fairs. Scantily clad, they are tasked to use their sex appeal to lure male visitors into closing the deal and becoming clients or investors.

The trend dates all the way back to the 1930s, when car manufacturers first used attractive female models to promote their vehicles at trade shows. However, what very few participants in this ongoing discussion seem to mention is that a booth babe is more than just a pretty face and body.

From the early days of the phenomenon, these ladies have demonstrated extensive knowledge of any business they were promoting at the time. Few exhibitors have ever relied on booth hostesses solely for their looks; it was their skills to talk to prospective clients and answer business-related questions on the spot that enabled them to perform their tasks so efficiently.

An attempt was made a few years back to erase the negative stigma that accompanies these female models, when the alternative term “booth hostess” was coined. In keeping with the times, they are now fully clothed and use their know-how and conversational skills to convert leads.

While some major trade shows have said no to booth hostesss, they are still a permanent fixture of industry events that attract predominantly male audiences, such as car shows, as well as gaming and tech conventions.

What to Look for in a Booth Hostess?

There are a few important things to look for when hiring a booth hostess for your trade show exhibition.

1. Beauty with Charm

A lot has changed since the 1930s, when booth hostesses first appeared, so even if an event doesn’t have a strict dress code in place, your booth hostess must always be tastefully clothed. Of course, the model you hire should be attractive, but she also needs to possess natural charm, charisma, and conversational skills.

2. Business Knowledge

The most important thing to remember when hiring a booth hostess is that she will act as an ambassador for your brand. As such, she must have vast knowledge of your company’s history and the specific products she will talk about to generate leads.

3. Professionalism and Dedication

The key consideration is to ideally find someone who will serve as your brand ambassador for a long time and not just for a one-off appearance at some trade show. For that reason, you need to find someone who displays professionalism and dedication to their work; someone with the brain to match the beauty.

4. Interest in Relevant Topics

Finding a booth hostess with an interest in topics related to the industry you’re in can be very beneficial. For example, booth hostesses working at gaming conventions are usually very enthusiastic about games themselves.

5. Excellent Communication Skills

People who attend these events – mostly males in their 20s and 30s – love to engage in passionate conversations about video games with these ladies. This in-depth communication allows your ambassadors to get a deeper understanding of their audience and generate better leads as a result.

Are Booth Hostesses Worth Your Investment?

No matter how we feel about it, the universal truth is that sex sells. To be clear, we’re talking about tastefully presented sex appeal that isn’t based solely on the looks of your booth hostess, but also on her technical knowledge, her conversational and presentation skills, as well as her overall personality.

Whether hiring a booth hostess is a sound business investment will depend on the type of trade show you’re exhibiting at.

An increasing number of attendees at events that attract both male and female audiences see the model-type booth hostesses as mere distractions. What’s more, they are completely unacceptable at family-oriented trade shows.

On the other hand, if you pick them right, booth hostesses at events that attract predominantly male audiences can be an incredibly valuable asset. A good booth babe – or booth hostess – will identify the right leads and convert them with her charm, warmth, and business know-how.

Some casting agencies have recognized them for what they are – talents instead of models. They allow you to select professional booth hosting talent that is a perfect match for your company’s needs.With a highly compatible booth hostess, the lead generation process at any industry event is guaranteed to be a success.

Trade shows are great avenues to market your business, find leads, and convert them into paying clients. However, it is easier said than done.

Making a return on investment from a trade show is a struggle faced by most businesses but when done strategically could give a pleasant surprise.

So in order to guarantee success at trade shows, here are four practical and proven ways you should do.

1. Build a Strong and Remarkable Brand Imagery

Make a great first impression by organizing and designing your trade show booth at its finesse.

Your booth is the first thing your prospects will notice once they step in the event venue. Make it stand out. Let it speak for your brand.

2. Qualify Your Trade Show Staff

Choose the best employee to man your trade show booth. Remember they’ll be a representation of your business.

Don’t just pick randomly. Instead, qualify your team and assign the best person who is proactive, engaging, and most importantly has the knowledge about your business.

3. Market Ahead of Time

Planning to join a trade show? Start your marketing months ahead the event day.

Most businesses started reaching out to prospects 3 to 6 months ahead of time so why won’t you?

Use social media. Set appointments with influencers. Contact existing clients. And, befriend the press.

They are great contributors to the success of your trade show.

4. Make a Follow-up Promptly

Strike while the iron is hot!

Don’t forget to make a follow up right after the event. Introduce yourself via email or make a call a day or two after trade show to chat about whatever you discussed or promised.

Keep your client’s contact and keep in touch.

You don’t know who you are going to seal a deal with.

Drive more customers to your business by participating on trade shows and doing these activities deliberately.

Foodies beware! SIAL 2016 and top food trends

Wonderful gastronomic experiences usually leave everyone on cloud number nine. That’s why we’re over the moon to be building some huge stands at SIAL 2016 in Paris.

SIAL will 7,000 companies from more than 100 countries and see them present their products to retail and foodservice professionals. This 5 day show, starting October 16th, will see many food related products from food to equipment.

It’s no secret that the food industry is evolving. Look a the difference between the food that was served 20-30 years ago and the food that is served today.To gear up for the show, we decided to look into some of the year’s top food trends. Reference

  1. Is the world getting healthier? In the last five years pasta sales dropped by 6% in the USA, 8% in Australia, 13% in Europe … 25% in Italy.
  2. Sandwich of the year: fried chicken
  3. Snacking increased 47% from 2010 to 2014. Good old snackers are leaving sweet for savoury and shifting from high-carb to nutrient dense high-protein indulgent snacks. Sour is also replacing sweet and plant based protein snacks are gaining popularity, particularly amongst millenials.
  4. Good-for-you, good-for-the-earth packaged snacks are getting commanding space on supermarket endcaps … often near the fresh vegetable aisle … suggesting that consumers will pay premium prices for products that cover both bases.
  5. Savoury yoghurts are getting popular
  6. there is a growing consumer interest in the health-enhancing role of specific foods, or what experts call “functional foods.” (Ref)
  7. Brands are “healthifying” products and their positioning In response, some brands are trying to “healthify” foods by adding functional ingredients. (Ref)

Dr. Frank Lipman, the founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in Manhattan points to digital as a major catalyst for our growing health food fixation. “There’s no question it’s coming from the web,” says Lipman. Reference

If you need a trade show booth in Paris or around the world, contact us at info@maestrodisplays.com to discuss a customised booth your whole industry will be talking about. To see our work, visit http://maestrodisplays.com/expertise

Food experts gather in Bangkok today for the commencement of VIV Asia 2017.  The show will run until March 17th and aims to bring together professionals active in the production of meat, eggs, dairy and fish. Over 900 international exhibitors will be present at VIV Asia, being held at BITEC in Bangkok.

Under one roof, you will see animal feeds, breeding tools, farm equipment, organic food products and much more displayed enticingly to catch the attention of VIV Asia visitors. Issues facing the industry and topics of interest will be discussed at seminars where experts will share their knowledge and come together to examine key topics in animal husbandry and processing. The fair will also present the latest trends and solutions in animal breeding and processing.

Opening doors and extending opportunities, VIV Asia has opened doors to the emerging markets in the region. The show offers companies an excellent opportunity to showcase their products to the right audience. VIV Asia 2015 brought together almost 40,000 professionals in the food industry with over 55% of these visitors coming from outside of Thailand.

Maximising Opportunity – Tips for Trade Show Sponsorship

Trade show sponsorships are so tempting! As a marketer, paying money to have your brand name and logo plastered all over a venue with all the right people seems so worth it. Sponsoring a trade show can take a toll on your annual marketing budget so you need to make sure it will have the impact that you’re looking for.

Premium sponsorship packages for national shows are a huge investment and here are some tips on how to choose what to sponsor.

Don’t do it on the cheap – if your budget allows, look into the options that offer more visibility. Sometimes one big sponsorship is better than three or four small ones, in terms of visibility. Think of tote bags, lanyards, badges and registration desks. With a phenomenal booth to match your sponsorship, your presence might just dominate the show!

Traffic – although focusing on shows with high volumes of traffic is important, you need to make sure that the people you are targeting fall within that traffic. There is no point in choosing a show that has 30,000 visitors out of which no one is interested in your product or service. You need to find a trade show that will give you the maximum exposure to the largest amount of people that are in your target market. Do your research and if you cannot find enough information on the internet, , aslrequest the show organizers to send you statistics and demographics of visitors in previous years.

Exclusivity – trade shows are a bonanza of opportunities and to maximise profits, many organizers sell shared sponsorships. This also lowers the cost of the sponsorship but could end up diluting your message. Although your goal is probably to have your brand plastered throughout the trade show, it might not work as well if it is mixed with many other companies or competitors. If your budget allows, find spots that are prime and exclusive so that your brand sticks out.

Plan for the next show – as an exhibitor, you should constantly be looking for opportunities to maximise your brand exposure at future shows. Walk around the show and look for opportunities for the next show, you can even come up with ideas and discuss these with the show organizers to see if they would be open to it. Pay attention to the areas that attract the most people and see which areas are relatively empty.

Engage trade show visitors – sponsorships today are more than just logo placement on banners. With such diverse platforms on which you can engage people, think creative and do something outside the box. Create an experience that people will remember or give out something that people will use all the time. Do something engaging that will encourage people to jump on social media and share right away.

So before you jump right in and sponsor the first thing you think will get you visibility, ask yourself a few simple questions. What is the target market for this event? Will this give me direct access to the right audience? Does it help me to achieve any of our marketing or business goals? Can I get the same amount of exposure in another way without making an investment?

Tips for saving at trade shows – get the most bang for your buck

Trade shows can really take the lion’s share of your marketing budget. If planned efficiently and well in advance, you might be able to cut costs and get more bang for your buck.

Be on the lookout for early bird offers – many trade show organisers have early bird discount deadlines before which you can avail of discounts for registrations, booth spaces and even sponsorships. After this deadline, the prices usually hike. It’s best to make sure that you are in regular contact with the show organizers and that your email is in their mailing list so you can stay informed.

Book travel well in advance – as soon as you decide which employees will attend the show, make travel arrangements to avoid paying last-minute expenses.

Advance orders and bulk material purchasing  – Try to have all your gift items ready so that you are not paying rush fees and dealing with expensive shipping costs. Try to order all your items and print materials at one time so you can get quantity discounts from your suppliers.

Exhibitor Manual – although it can be quite taxing to read through an entire exhibitor manual, the show organizers have put together this information because they know it will be of use to you. Read through the manual, figure out what services you need to order and see if there are any discounts for ordering any of these services early. For most companies, their contractor handles service orders so clarify this with your contractor so that you’re both on the same page.

Staff – don’t just bring employees to fill the booth. Choose staff that will play an essential role at the trade show. Where possible, use local temps (for roles such as receptionists) and see if any employees can adopt a double role.

Catering – do not over order food and beverages. Not only will your kitchen space most likely be limited, a lot of food at shows ends up going to waste. Decide on how much you need to order based on booth-visitor statistics at your last show.

DIY – flowers and other items that are ordered on-site can be a lot more expensive than local florists or furniture rental companies. See what you can do yourself and you will be surprised at the difference in price.

Transport – at most big conventions, free shuttles run from hotels to the show. See if there are public transport routes and free shuttles that staff can take to attend the show so you can cut down on taxi expenses. Otherwise, arrange a car for employees to avoid each person taking separate taxis.

Necessities – ask yourself whether something is a necessity before ordering it.

What to include in your RFP (Request for Proposal)

Before you send out an RFP for your trade show booth, there are a few critical factors that you need to finalize. This includes your budget, booth size and exhibit needs. Sending out a very general RFP will either turn contractors away, have them chasing you for details or end up with a pile of proposals that don’t match your needs.

Next you need to decide if you want to hire a design company to create the final concept then send it out to contractors to build it for you (this helps when comparing costs) or if you want to receive design/build proposals from contractors.

Next, decide which contractors you are going to contact. If you don’t already have a list of reliable companies, ask the show organizers for recommendations. You can also ask your industry peers for contacts. Read here for tips on choosing a reliable trade show contractor.

Things to include in the RFP

  • Your RFP should include as much information as is needed for the designers to understand your company’s style.
  • Name, date and location of the exhibition
  • Size of your booth
  • Your company logo, brand guidelines, website URL and other marketing materials that you think would be relevant when designing a concept for your trade show booth
  • Who your competitors are and what differentiates you from them. Also, who your customers are
  • Your show objectives – sales, product and communication objectives for the show
  • What you liked and disliked about your previous exhibits
  • Special elements that you would like to see in your exhibit display
  • Be specific – if you have certain requirements for flooring, furniture, meeting rooms, etc. be specific from the beginning of the process
  • The services required from your contractor – do you want a full show campaign including marketing, PR, swag and your exhibit or just the booth? Do you need a member of their team present at your booth throughout the show?
  • Areas within the booth – how many people do you need seating for? Do you need a kitchen with a sink and fridge? Do you need meeting rooms? Will you have products on display and do you need a demonstration area? Think about your reception, storage areas and anything else you might require.
  • Lighting, audio-visual equipment and graphic requirements – you can ask for their suggestions if you don’t have anything specific in mind.
  • Timeline and budget – your budget is probably the most important thing to include in your RFP. Without this, it is close to impossible to design a suitable exhibit display. Also include the deadline for submission of proposals.

 

To ensure that you remember to add in the details every time you send out an RFP, create a template that you can follow. Some contractors send you their own template to fill in so that they can ensure they receive all the necessary information from you.

Trade Show Checklist

Author: Komal Qaiser

Being in charge of a company’s entire tradeshow presence can sound extremely daunting! Yes, there is a lot to handle but with the right amount of planning, it can be a great experience.

  • Book booth space
  • If interested, look at sponsorship opportunities
  • Book a press room, if required
  • Hire a contractor to build your exhibition booth
  • Have your exhibition stand design approved by the show organizers
  • Arrange flight/hotel booking for staff attending the trade show
  • Order name badges for employees
  • Prepare a media kit
  • Order your marketing collateral and gift items (brochures, folders, envelopes, etc)
  • Order business cards for the employees attending
  • Order flowers
  • Order water and electricity (if needed)
  • Creatives for your booth graphics and sponsorship
  • Book hostesses
  • Book a photographer
  • Write a brief for the hostesses and photographer
  • Register badges for everyone attending
  • Uniforms for staff/hostesses
  • Social media posts about the event
  • Email your contacts and set up a meeting calendar
  • Follow up with the contractor building your booth
  • Send a shipment of marketing materials to your hotel or straight to the convention center
  • Cash for vendors that need onsite payment – discuss payment methods beforehand
  • Scissors, tape, stapler, fishbowl for business cards, business card holder, phone charger – these things really come in handy!
  • Camera – even if there is a photographer there, someone at the booth should be taking pictures for social media and other platforms so that you can post things as they happen
  • All-purpose wipes – these will be handy for the reception desks and tables as dust gathers so fast and fingerprints don’t help!

Tips for Trade Show Surveys

As a marketer, there must be so many different questions that you wish you knew the answer to. Which publication does everyone in the industry read and how can I make sure my target audience and decision makers see my marketing efforts? Many of our marketing strategies are based on guess-work and optimism. For this reason, being present at a trade show and having easy access to so many people from your industry can be an extremely valuable situation.

Before a show, jot down all the questions that you may have and decide which ones you think will be easy to have answered at the exhibition. Create a survey and approach people visiting your booth to see if they would be willing to spare a minute to complete the survey.

Make it worthwhile – put the names of the people that took the survey in a draw or raffle and give them something for helping you out.

Keep it short – don’t overload the survey with questions. Put some serious thought into the questions you are asking and don’t throw in any old question that comes to mind. Too many questions will mean people will be likely to speed through it and put any answer down to just get it done and over with.

Relevant questions – ask questions like which publication they like to read, how they heard about your company, what perception they have of your company based on your brand image, if they use your product/services and if they would recommend them to others, what trade shows they plan to attend and other questions that will help you retrieve answers to your questions.

Don’t be pushy – if someone does not want to answer the survey, don’t try to push them to take it – chances are they will be the least bit interested in giving you any significant information.

Use the information wisely – once you have collected the information, it is time to analyse the results. Discuss it with your team, see how you can benefit from the information you have acquired and pass information on to relevant departments so everyone can do their part to ensure the survey was a worthwhile exercise for your company.

Was it worth it? Tracking Trade Show ROI

With trade shows springing up across the globe – each more promising than the last, it is easy to get lured into exhibiting at more shows than you had initially anticipated. As a marketing professional, you have probably been asked to measure ROI of your trade show participation to show that it was worth the investment. Unfortunately many events end up over-promising and under-delivering and therefore don’t yield enough business to justify participation.

 Clearly define your goals and objectives before the trade show – without goals, measuring ROI is next to impossible. Plan your goals and create metrics that will allow you to easily track them.

Record trade show leads – you can do this the traditional way by colleting business cards in a fish bowl and speaking to your sales team or use the digital options available (sync directly to your CRM). To effectively measure the ROI, you will need to track and monitor these leads and this could take weeks or months after the show. The leads produced may vary significantly in terms of value. Track leads for greater insights.

Calculate your lifetime customer value using CM software

Tip: To maximise your trade show ROIchoose the right show, get PR coverage, ensure there is adequate pre-show marketing, host an event, stay active on social media, ensure your booth is welcoming and your sales team is trained and have a strong follow-up policy in place for post-show marketing.

To calculate your trade show revenue:

Count the number of leads collected at the show, estimate the average number that will result in a sale (CRP), calculate the average value of a sale from a trade show lead. Next, total your participation cost and use this formula for trade show revenue.

leads x close rate % x average sale value = estimated show revenue