5 Ways to Attract International Visitors to your Trade Show

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Susannah Morgan


Turning an industry trade show into a global success story is no mean feat. It can take years to gradually build up awareness among overseas visitors, exhibitors and the international press.

Our work for the Toy Industry Association promotes the organisation’s New York Toy Fair show, held at the Javits Centre in the big apple, to international toy trade press, getting publications from all over the world excited about the show, from Europe and Russia to China and Australia, we get the media talking to their readers about the benefits of visiting Toy Fair.

In 2016 the show opened its doors to 30,600 global professionals from 92 countries – a 16 percent increase in international attendees.

We’ve achieved these results through a mix of activity. Our hands-on experience shows us there are several ways that trade show organisers can attract more international visitors, both at the show and using PR ahead of the big event. Here are 5 ways to attract international visitors to your trade show.

Getting the International Media on Board

1. Offer exclusive content

Sending out news stories about trends in the UK market place will only get you so far. International magazines want content that is of interest to their specific readership. A trade magazine in China, for example, will be more interested in a piece about the increase in imports from Beijing to the US marketplace, rather than a feature on the UK exchange rate effecting sales in the US – it’s all horses for courses.

2. Use your internal experts and key speakers

Harness the abundance of industry knowledge you have in-house and among your key speakers to create interesting press content. When relevant to their market, international media and their readers will be all ears – securing valuable column inches for the show and promoting the educational programme on offer.

3. Don’t let your key messages get lost in translation

A simple, yet often overlooked part of the press programme, is to ensure you are making it as simple as possible for an international magazine or website to include your content. If that means providing it translated into the native tongue of the media you’re sending it to, then so be it. Professional translation services take a couple of days, so factor in lead times, but are often a sound investment to secure the extra coverage.

At The Show

4. Invite international press

There’s no one who understands your market better than the editors and reporters working for industry trade magazines overseas. An honest review by a respected editor is gold dust, and inviting them along makes it easier and more likely for them to cover the event. Plus, it develops relationships for the future.

In 2015, we led a delegation of 17 media to the New York Toy Fair show, all of which wrote about the exhibition within their March/April issues. These were glowing reviews, most of which were full page spreads. International visitors went up 16% the following year. The proof, they say, is in the pudding.

5. Make sure your international guests feel loved

Hosting special events for international guests is a sure fire way to make them feel loved, but to also make sure they get the most out of the event. Throwing a low key drinks party after day one of the show, for example, will give international guests the opportunity to meet like-minded visitors and exchange experiences. A Q&A session or press conference with key spokespersons for the organisation running the event, held exclusively for international visitors, will allow the media to ask burning questions, specific to their marketplace.

These are just a few of the ways that you can attract international visitors to your trade show. Our team has masses of experience in meetings, incentives, conferences and events. To find out more about how we can support your exhibition or trade show, do give us a call.

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