We’ve just completed our EventCity tour – where we travelled across the country bringing a taste of the North’s largest, fully flexible blank canvas exhibition and multipurpose event venue to agents in cities across the UK from our home in TRAFFORDCITY, Manchester.
It was a fantastic experience where we really got to know our clients and feedback suggests we got most of the people we met thinking about bringing their next event to us. One question I was asked time and time again was, ‘How do you take a venue on the road?’ With that in mind we’ve put together 5 top tips for a successful roadshow.
1. Start with an official launch – from a major industry exhibition (for example, our roadshow was launched at Confex Future Focus) or a send-off event at your venue, this helps to create excitement around your roadshow. Invite key stakeholders and media, promote your roadshow through PR, and use it to start your roadshow’s social media campaign.
2. Have a strong message – develop clear, positive and compelling messages about your venue, your people, your service and your roadshow itself. Take the view that if the people you meet remember one thing about your venue, this is what is must be. It’s often good to have something new to say, we talked about the fact that we’ve just launched our new in-house F&B offering, The Kitchen, for example. Whatever core message supports your roadshow, just ensure it’s easy to communicate and simple to remember.
3. Create a first-hand experience – the whole point of having a roadshow is for you to get to know the potential users of your venue and for them to get to know you. Bring your venue to life by recreating the look and feel of your venue on the road; serve food and drinks in a style that is fitting to your offering, use colours and decorations that represent those of your venue space, display your branding on your team uniform, tour bus, other vehicles and anywhere else it can be placed and give away memorable gifts that represent your brand. Perhaps most importantly, put the creativity and talent of your people on show. Face to face – smiles and eye contact – remains the most powerful of all communication tools, so let their personalities shine.
4. Listen, listen, listen – if this was a blog entitled ‘1 top tip for a successful roadshow’; listening would be it. Listening intently to what clients and potential clients tell you about what they need to achieve from an event at your venue is critical. Listen and understand and you will have all you need to demonstrate how your venue can solve their problems and provide expectation-exceeding solutions. This is a chance to begin building genuine relationships with agents and buyers that could be vitally important to your business, so show them how valuable you can be.
5. Use social media to create a story around your roadshow – not everyone can visit you while on the road, but they can all follow online. By featuring the interesting people and encounters that happen along the way through social media feeds – including images and videos – you can create an emotional connection between your followers and your venue. Don’t forget to use a roadshow themed hashtag (such as our #EventCityInYourCity) that’s easy to remember and pertinent to your campaign.
As you can imagine, the roadshow was a lot of fun for all, but it also taught us a lot. It was a reminder of the importance of how getting in front of our clients in a face to face environment builds trust and creates relationships. It also allowed us to showcase our expertise and let clients experience our brand; and how demonstrating creativity, enthusiasm and willingness to help remains the most powerful of all communication tools. Furthermore, it allowed us to listen to our clients’ briefs, their challenges, and enabled us to provide solutions within our venue in order to help them deliver a successful event.
We’ve now met the agents that are so important to our business and have begun to build genuine relationships with them. You can never underestimate the effect of being able to put a face to a name. The next time we’re in contact, a pleasant memory will be rekindled, and a crucial barrier will have been removed.