The Conference and Hospitality Show interviewed Laurie Bowe from the Chill Factore, Manchester and find how they did it! 

CHS17: What do you do once you’ve booked a stand? Is it only then that you start to think about what you want to get out of the show?

Laurie from the Chill Factore

Prior to booking the show we researched the exhibition to see if it will be an activity that will come in line with our annual strategic objectives, we only participate in marketing activities if we feel it will increase Chill Factore‘s awareness in the corporate market. We make sure any collateral is printed and planned in advance.

In 2016, Chill Factore planned a competition which took place in the month leading up to the Conference and Hospitality Show, which was promoted extensively through our social media channels. We also drove footfall (visitors) to our stand throughout the competition and in exchange, our staff members captured visitors contact details or business cards, this was done via our social media channels. Then while we were at the show we continually ‘Tweeted’ our competition to visitors, encouraging them to visit our stand and take part. #CHSRocks has a giant Twitter wall which we will again make use of in our 2017 competition at the show. The novelty value of the competition drove many visitors to our stand who may not have visited otherwise and also gave us an opening to talk to them about our offering. My advice would be to make full use of the communication channels that you have before and during the show to attract new visitors to your stand.

Laurie from the Chill Factore on stand giveaways

As for other ‘giveaways’ on our stands, we never take chocolates, but opt instead to take Chill Factore ‘branded’ promotional goods and as we offer snow-sports related items and experiences we have a branded ‘Moose’ as our mascot. We also give out Chill Factore ice-scrapers as promotional giveaways. As long as the promotional product is a little different it helps to be interestingly unique, we find this works for us and also keeps us in the minds of our potential customers over a longer period of time.

CHS17:  What pre-show strategies do you employ?

Laurie from the Chill Factore

We have a planning meeting prior to discuss what our target market, communications and objectives are for the show as well as KPI’s as we will be tracking our conversion rate against the leads we gather. We know that early in the morning is prime time for agents and VIP guests so the Chill Factore sales team will make themselves available to speak to these guests.

We organise every detail to the nth degree and allocate each member of staff a specific role for the day; then we meet and greet visitors.

Laurie from the Chill Factore on dressing for your venue  

We are not a suits kind of venue-hence we wear ‘branded’ snow-sports Chill Factore clothing. Obviously, you should dress appropriately for both the product and the venue that is being promoted and consequently, you will not find us on our stands with sore feet.  It is essential that potential customers associate your appearance with the venue; when they walk around the show they don’t expect staff from Chill Factore to be wearing heels; but snow boots, yes!

Another key thing is not to look bored; CHSRocks is a lively show with an engaged visitor base. There are so many exciting suppliers at the show, it is definitely not boring! This atmosphere provides a unique and interesting day for both visitors and exhibitors.

Laurie from the Chill Factore on helping out your associates and competitors; pass that lead on if you can’t help! 

It makes good business sense (not to mention earning Brownie points for your good Karma bank balance) to pass a lead on to a competitor, or associate company if you can’t help them. For example if you have a visitor to your stand who wants to eat in the best restaurant in Manchester, we recommend that you tell them to see XYZ venue on stand 21.  We are not territorial with our ‘leads’ and if we cannot help a visitor, we will pass them on to someone who can.  You will find that visitors remember you and your courteous treatment of them and in this way you can keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.

Laurie from the Chill Factore on leads, leads and leads in Leeds! 

Our focus is to connect with as many people possible within our target list so that we can then generate as many appropriate leads as possible.  Our presence at the show is as much about building awareness of who the Chill Factore are and what we offer as a destination.  We are looking to segment our potential customer base and tailor our ‘sales pitch’ to visitors at our stand, be that a family day out to a company team building day.  I believe if you build awareness around your brand, then the rest will follow.

CHS17:  What was the first thing you did following the show?

Laurie from the Chill Factore

The first thing we do is input all our leads into our CRM (customer relationship management) system and have a debrief with the sales team where we identify potential leads and follow them up ASAP

Laurie from the Chill Factore on building rapport

Chill Factore want to build a rapport with people without bombarding them with endless email communications. We do however send emails out ten days after a show – as we find that visitors are swamped with emails from other exhibitors immediately after the show. After the ‘noise’ has died down though, we find that our email has more impact.  We offer our contacts an ‘offer’, be it a promotional code for them and their families to use, for example, a ski-lesson and we find that this strategy works well for us.

Also, if our clients are local to Manchester, we invite them to attend our ‘Familiarisation Visits’ throughout the year, where they come and take a look at our venue and we do not underestimate the impact that our real snow has on visitors.  All our ‘leads’ are then included onto our ‘newsletter’ database where we can then keep in regular contact.  We find that this relaxed approach works well and we have a very high conversion rate with our post-show communications follow-up.

Laurie from the Chill Factore on dressing your stand

Chill Factore like to have a simple stand, with pop-ups and strong, colourful branding which catches people’s attention when visiting the show. We ‘dress’ the stand with skis and snowboards and also show footage on laptops (or TV Screens on walls) of our freestyle nights.  As I mentioned before our staff are dressed in casual ‘winter sports’ wear and we have a relaxed and inviting vibe around our stands. We keep the floor space open plan so visitors can flow through and do not feel hemmed in. We also have our ‘Moose’ mascot who likes nothing better than taking ‘selfies’ with visitors. We then show these ‘Moose selfies’ on our giant Twitter wall at CHSRocks throughout the show day; it’s a simple way of keeping Chill Factore constantly in our visitors’ minds and also provides a fun element which helps everyone to relax. It is all about creating a memorable experience being, but at the same time we try not to over think it.

CHS17:  Some last words of advice?

Laurie from the Chill Factore

More than anything Chill Factore want our potential clients to have an amazing relaxed day where people can come and chat to us about our venue. CHSRocks helps as it is such a unique show were we all work hard and play hard.   Can I just add that the fact the CHSRocks feeds and waters all its exhibitors makes a huge  difference to the time we spend with visitors on our stand as we can spend  our time concentrating on promoting our venue without worrying about feeding our team. We can’t wait for this year’s show where we aim to be even more successful.

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