Hospitality Suites As Frugal Business Promotion
Socializing is Huge when Courting/Entertaining Potential Customers - Online or Face to Face
Social interaction is the beginning of a relationship that may evolve into a business deal. That is the hope that drives a business to invest in setting up a Hospitality Suite at a convention, trade show or conference. Providing the right atmosphere to foster these relationships should be the goal - which does not necessarily require spending a lot of money. Of course "a lot of money" means different things to different people so I will speak in generalities.
Employees and customers have an opportunity to learn about each other in a comfortable atmosphere when a Hospitality Suite is used to showcase products and services. Unlike a booth on the show floor, these areas are less crowded and provide a quieter space to discuss business. With advanced communication, meetings and interviews can be arranged at convenient times. Consumer available technology such as cellphones and tablets help to avoid last minute scheduling problems and can save the day for everyone involved.
I write articles about new and interesting tech gadgets so I am always searching for the next new thing. I enjoy visiting a space where I can comfortably ask questions, receive demonstrations and possibly obtain a hands on experience with the products being touted. That being said, I do not enjoy being followed around. I prefer to have product information available so that I can seek it out and utilize it on my own.
Representatives for large businesses on the other hand may want to have a dedicated salesperson available to answer their questions pertaining to large orders, shipping costs and distribution of products.
A Hospitality Suite is a place to do business both large and small. Design is important, but it does not have to be too complicated. Multiple areas to sit, one or more private areas and enough space to showcase the products are the main ingredients. Videos running on laptops or portable video players take up little space and can free up the company's experts for more intense conversations. Simple drinks and finger foods are appreciated especially when they allow for clean hands.
The space should be kept clean and tidy for the best first impressions.
4 Ideas to Make Your Hospitality Suite a Total Success
A successful Hospitality Suite requires particular attention to detail and advanced planning. The cost has to be weighed against the potential reward so since you are dealing with the unknown, there are basic things to consider.
1. Depending on the location of the event different rules will apply. There may be limits on what is allowed to be set up by individuals and what must be contracted out. This could include everything from the chairs to the food, so the there may be quite a variance in the upfront cost. It is wise to contact the show sponsors early on to get the needed information.
2. Contact current customers, potential customers and the media types that may attend the event. Use lists of event participants, typically shared by the show planners, to supplement your own mailing list in order to reach as many potential customers as possible.
3. Press Releases and emails are inexpensive forms of contact that works very well prior to the event. Repeat the contact at least three times. Keep the contents of both short and to the point. Include the name and date of the event, explain who you are, your contact information, what you have to offer. Request that the potential attendee let you know whether they plan to attend as part of you emails.
4. An enticement is helpful, such as holding drawing for one of your products or even a gift card toward the purchase of one of your products. I can tell you from personal experience, attendees love freebies that count. Keep the pencils and calendars - give me what I came for - your product. Print the company name and logo on colorful charging cables for cell phones - both IOS and Android. Just one idea to keep your information at the customer's fingertips.
Although an accurate head count is difficult to obtain, use the information that you have. The room used does not necessarily have to be located inside the main venue but it should be close. The budget is a major consideration in the choice, but each dollar should be weighed against the potential outcome. Once you spend the first several hundred dollars, a couple hundred dollars more could make a huge difference. Save on the fancy extras and spend on the basic needs of the people you are trying to attract. Extra seating, interactive information and common, well accepted finger foods are basic things that everyone appreciate.
Tips on How to Make a Product Video
3 Ways to Control Costs on a Hospitality Suite
Presenting a nice, clean and organized event is better than feeling the stress of trying to justify overspending on a space to provide it.
1. Compare the cost of suites but do not go cheep, remember that frugal means getting the biggest bang for your bucks. Diagram the space you need and look for the suite that best fits what you need. Planning ahead insures that you don't get stars in your eyes over a suite that looks good but that is not best for what you need. Weigh the cost of shipping items that may be less expensive to rent onsite.
2. Time is money so any automation that makes sense - use it. Provide interactive information to your guests. This could mean press kits and brochures on flash drives and one or more video players running company and product information. Setup a laptop for attendees to enter their own contact information. Always have people available to answer questions and to give product demos, but "help yourself" areas are good ways to save time. There will typically be several media attendees so provide information up front on any available review units.
3. Combine uses of the suite. If the suite includes separate sleeping areas you can save on the number of rooms you book for yourself and your employees. Use the sleeping areas for storage of empty boxes, luggage and extra marketing materials. The ability to catch a quick power nap could be valuable as well.
When all is said and done - learn from the successes and the failures. Keep detailed notes of the event to use for the next time.
Avoid These Hospitality Suite Mistakes
Don't get a late start - get the word out ASAP. Those that attend conventions, trade shows and conferences are always short on time and may skip the elements of the show that is not on their immediate radar. You have to give your intended audience a good reason to leave the show floor and seek you out.
People do not like hard sale tactics. Do not lure them into your suite so that they can be bombarded with stacks of brochures and an aggressive salesperson.
Hard to juggle snacks and drinks are accidents ready to happen. Always be ready for any accidents and clean spills and dropped food quickly. Chances are you paid a deposit for cleanliness so do not loose it.
Once the time is upon you stay calm and enjoy the event. Smile and be friendly - if you act stressed it will show and will probably spread to others.