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Top Tips For Attending International Trade Shows In The UK

Trade shows have bounced back stronger than ever, despite dire predictions about the death of the live events and exhibitions sector during the height of the pandemic. Technology continues to play a huge role in the evolution of these events, but nothing can quite equal the chance to meet new contacts and customers face to face.

In fact, many UK businesses are now branching out and attending overseas events in new and emerging markets, such as in Asia and South America. Conversely, the UK is attracting international exhibitors to its diverse trade show scene which can open up rich veins of opportunity for both local and foreign markets.

Here are some essential tips to help international visitors make the most of their UK trade show experience.

Make sure it will meet your needs

At first glance, the event might seem to tick all the boxes, but it’s a big investment of time and money so dig down into the details to make sure that it is the right event for your requirements and preferences. 

Contact the event organiser well in advance, and ask for a list of attendees. Are they your competitors, or businesses that provide complementary services or products to your own? Either of these scenarios could work well, but if the majority are neither competitors nor have the potential for collaboration, then it may not be the right market for you.

Ask for previous visitor demographics and information about past keynote speakers. Do previous attendees match your core customer profile, and are the speakers and topics relevant to your sector? Are the majority of exhibitors regional, national, or international, and does this fit in with your aims and objectives?

Check out the exhibition venue

The right exhibition venue can make or break an event, so check out the facilities in advance. Start with the logistics of getting there; how centrally situated is it to major transport hubs such as airports, main roads, and rail links? Sometimes the UK will host events at picturesque country hotels, but these can be time-consuming and costly to reach.

It is best to look for centrally located places such as Milton Keynes, which are convenient for transport, hotels, and catering, while avoiding the buzz and inflated prices of London. Purpose-built venues will also meet accessibility needs and have a variety of rooms and facilities available. Reach out to the venue in advance to discuss your requirements.

Plan your budget and marketing carefully

An overseas event is obviously going to be more costly to attend, so you want to make sure that you have a good return on your investment. Publicise your attendance widely in your marketing materials, and prepare your stand to attract visitors and retain their contact details. Be mindful of cultural differences and nuances in business etiquette.

Follow up

Be sure to follow up all the contacts you make, and reflect on what went well and what could be improved next time.

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