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BUSINESS 37The median spend for exhibitors per business-to-business exhibition in 2011, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research's new study into marketing spend on trade shows. This was down from US$18,500 (£11,697)in 2009.ACC Liverpool has announced the return of the Museums Association's annual exhibition and conference next year. The event will be in Liverpool for the second time on 11-12 November 2013 and is expected to attract 500 delegates. The association last held its exhibition at the venue in October 2008. The 2012 exhibition will be at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.World Travel Market 2011 was voted UKinbound's Industry Event of the Year at the association's annual convention Gala Dinner for a second year. The awards, which took place at the association's annual convention in Belfast in February, were voted by UKinbound members. The organiser of the Trade Only National Show has signed a three-year tenancy agreement with Ricoh Arena in Coventry after reporting a substantial increase in size and attendance this year.UBM's Facilities Show will work with an offi cial waste management partner for the fi rst time for this year's event. The partnership with SITA UK means the fi rm will provide 15 recycling stations during the three days.Worcester-based events and communications agency Drpgroup has picked up eight prizes at this year's International Visual Communications Association (IVCA) Livecom awards for excellence and creativity in live and experiential communications.The NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau has appointed UK stand design and build supplier WMP for a two-year deal at International Confex.Camexpo will celebrate its 10th anniversary this autumn with two new big-name industry sponsors. Diversifi ed Business Communications UK has confi rmed Revital, the UK's largest independent health product retailer, and The Complementary Therapist Association as brand sponsors of the keynote and demo theatres respectively.Temporary structures provider GL Events Owen Brown is supplying 5,500sqm of dining and hospitality facilities for the Six Nations rugby matches at Twickenham in February and March. Silverstone circuit's exhibition venue The Wing will host the Electric Vehicle and Low CO2 Fleet Show 2012 in April. The event is organised by Fleet World magazine in association with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and is relocating from the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.Exhibition trailer builder Mobile Technik has been hired to provide a sampling trailer for butter fi rm Lurpak. The trailer fi rm teamed up with experiential agency BD Network for the upcoming four-month roadshow around supermarkets and train stations.WINNING BUSINESSCARSTEN HOLMGreat decisions are generally only great with hindsight. One that stands out was joining Blenheim as sales manager over 20 years ago with a brief to re-launch the Harrogate Gift Fair. The majority of the show stands in the main halls had been destroyed by fi re on the opening night of the previous show. The fi re also coincided with the launch of the directly competitive International Autumn Fair (IAF), and by the time I joined, eight months before the show was due to open, most assumed the Harrogate Gift Fair was cancelled for good. MY BEST DECISIONMY WORST DECISIONUS$17,708I believed there was a gap for a trade show for the domestic furniture industry in London. With a small team including ex-Blenheim colleague Stephen Richards, I launched the London Furniture Show at Earls Court in 1997. The industry bought into our idea and I remember driving to Wales to meet with the MDs of the fi ve separate divisions of a large furniture group. At the end of the meeting, they told me they wanted to take part in the show, with 500sqm each. Multiply that by fi ve and you've got 2,500sqm. I told them the show was only in its fi rst year and it would be prudent to take less. But it was 2,500sqm or nothing so I gave in - and I shouldn't have because the show got far too big too quickly. We managed to sell 13,000sqm net, which has got to be some sort of record for a launch. But we only got 7,000 trade visitors - fantastic by normal show launch standards but not enough for our size. The show never happened again. The moral of the story has got to be to make sure you manage your clients' expectations and stick to your guns when you need to. MD, DIVERSIFIED BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONSThe show usually had 1,000 exhibitors but four months into the sales cycle only a handful of contracts had been signed and many of our exhibitors had suffered greatly due to the fi re. Over a six-month period we worked 10-hour days and often weekends to reposition, resell and rebuild the show and ended up with just over 900 exhibitors. It was an incredible achievement. I am very proud and was very lucky to be part of the fi rst of many incredible teams I have worked with in the industry. Above all, this taught me hard work, focus, listening and a little humility. . As an operations manager, your strength is viewing things differently from any other part of the organising team and that's no bad thing: Every team needs a balanced perspective. As quoted from one sales manager: "An ideal ops manager takes the ethereal ideas of an overexcited sales team and turns them, through an infi nitely convoluted process, into the wonderful features we have come to expect". The trick is to navigate a path so that you and your team appreciate that role.. Don't assume you're the only one that can fi nd a way around an operational issue. Be ready to acknowledge that you may not always hold the best solution even if you've found the problem. Discussing it with the team can often make their brains tick in a different way, offering up alternative solutions that wouldn't have come about if you'd just said no.. Understand who is getting the money in to pay the bills. Don't bombard your sales team with emails and calls in the run up to target day. Their ability to sell directly affects whether the ops budget gets cut and never forget that. . Develop the ability to effectively communicate technicalities, regulations, legislation and all the jargon to a group of people that may well not understand, or indeed care, about that level of detail. . Find a crystal ball and don't swear too much.- From Louise Kiwanuka, EventShare, with a little help from Clarion's DSEi sales teamOPERATIONS TIPS TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YOUR SALES TEAM

BUSINESS CLINIC38 as an add-on in the past, social and digital media channels are now an innovative way to drive interest around speakers, exhibitors and delegates at your events. So, how can marketers make the most of social and digital media when planning an event?The lead up to an event is paramount to its success. Online event pages allow attendees to register their interest and sign up for additional event communication. Online registration sites are extremely useful as people can view important information about the event, all of which improves overall customer satisfaction.But also think about how the information provided can be used to your advantage. For example, if an attendee is coming from far afi eld, send hotel recommendations. Or if they mention that they're vegetarian, provide details about catering options at the event. This personalised care is what events must do to stand out from the crowd and ensure repeat attendance year in, year out.EVENTS AND DIGITAL MEDIASMike Spicer shares how social and digital platforms can help your message and improve visitor engagement all year-roundDigital media will engage your attendees during the event. It's important to use social and digital media to enhance the experience for attendees. Marketers have tapped into increased smartphone use through 'Twitter Falls'. These large screens update continuously in response to Twitter activity around the event. This unfailingly encourages attendees to tweet about the event (there's nothing like having your name up on a big screen) and participate in online debates, all the while increasing the audience of the event dramatically.Another element of integrating digital media with the traditional is that rather than waiting for an online response from the company or other delegates, people attending the event can fi nd spokespeople and have face-to-face discussions regarding a topic previously only discussed across online platforms. Set up an online forum beforehand, requesting queries which spokespeople can then have to-hand on tablets at the event itself. This reinforces the truly personal element that is an event's USP, while also incorporating the communication potentials of digital.In addition, marketers can encourage digital registration upon entry as a way of monitoring which key industrial fi gures and companies are attending. For some exhibitions, marketers use digital scanners to sign up delegates for mailing lists and future events. Post-event engagement creates long-term rewards. Rather than treating an event as a one-off occurrence, marketers are fast beginning to consider events as an extension of an online discussion, with marketers using mailing lists, Twitter and LinkedIn to create long-term attendee relationships. Social and digital media can also be used to measure responses to the event itself: The popularity of the theme and those who would be interested in attending future events.Ultimately, the benefi t of social and digital media is that they create online communities. If marketers can incorporate the immediacy of digital technology with the personal nature of face-to-face contact, it is possible to establish a far wider audience than in pre-digital times. This environment in which people can connect with a brand and other like-minded people is crucial to achieving business buy-in and lead conversion. - Mike Spicer is CEO of Pulse Group.Marketers are fast beginning to consider events as an extension of an online discussionNew research undertaken to coincide with the launch of The Sunday Times App 500 List has shown Britain loves mobile apps, especially if they're free. According to an Opinion Matters survey, the majority of smartphone and tablet users believe apps have made their lives better. Almost 80 per cent of the apps people download are free, and during the last week of 2011 there were 81m downloads in the UK alone. The study found half the UK population now owns a smartphone, with more than half using their phone more for apps than emailing, texting or calling. Over half download a new app at least once a week. In addition, the average smartphone owner keeps 38 apps on their device. There are about 1m apps available in the UK today. - Opinion Matters research was released with the Sunday Times Top 500 Apps list in January 2012. APPS INDULGENCEINDUSTRY PROSPECTS Two-thirds of event industry representatives surveyed for a new report claim their prospects for 2012 are brighter than they were in 2011. The UK Event Industry Investment Survey was conducted by the International Outdoor Event Expo (IOEX) and designed to measure the buoyancy of the event sector. According to the report, 66 per cent of respondents found 2011 a more profi table year for their business against 2010, compared with 15 per cent who found it the same. When looking to 2012, 64 per cent said their prospects are better than last year, while 27 per cent reported them to be on a par. Investment results proved more mixed, with 47 per cent of respondents declaring their company's investment budget is higher year-on-year, against the 36 per cent who reported investment to be the same. Among the top areas of spending are event technology, AV equipment, event management, attractions and entertainment, and lighting and sound.In terms of improving staff skill sets, 52 per cent of those surveyed claimed to be investing in training programmes and 51 per cent in incentives. Not surprisingly, 86 per cent of respondents said they are increasing their use of social media to market their events, and 47 per cent are increasing experiential activity in 2012. But there are still challenges facing the industry. The most pressing issue cited by respondents is the economy and budgets (45 per cent), followed by proving and providing value on investment (21 per cent). The positive and negative infl uence of the Olympic Games was on the minds of 18 per cent of survey participants, followed by equipment availability (8 per cent). Survey respondents also commented on the length of average job runs year-on-year. Fifty-eight per cent said the time allocated to do a job remained the same, while 23 per cent believed times were shorter. Interestingly, 15 per cent claimed to have seen an increase in the average job length. The survey was conducted in January 2012 across 205 professionals, 80 per cent of which organise events. IOEX will debut with International Confex from 6 to 8 March at Excel London.