BUSINESS CLINICwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 37The weight in tonnes of the north tower of the Emirates Air Line, a new £50m cable car which will ferry 2,500 passengers per hour across the Thames between Excel London and The O2. The tower is one of three built for the new service, due to open in summer 2012.Showplans will be providing interactive fl oorplans to The Eye Show London 2013, an exhibition and conference for optical and ophthalmic professionals. The fl oorplan specialist will also supply its newly-refreshed Visitor Event Planner featuring an interactive fl oorplan and enhanced pre-show visitor and exhibitor interaction for the event, which will take place at Excel London in February 2013. The delegate management services arm of Grass Roots has been appointed to handle the registration process for The Skills Show, which will take place this coming November at The NEC. The Brighton Centre has claimed its recent £1m refurbishment is paying dividends after securing a range of business through to 2024. The venue claims bookings since January are currently worth more than £85m to the city of Brighton and Hove. Among those booked are the Eurogamer expo, the Tesco Wine Fair, the 2013 Labour Party Conference, the British Red Cross Conferences and related exhibitions. Harrogate International Centre (HIC) will again host The Knitting and Stitching Show and The International Association of Teachers in English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL), in 2012 and 2014 respectively. The Knitting and Stitching Show has been held at HIC for 20 years and has rebooked for a three-day exhibition in November. The IATEFL will return to the HIC for its 48th annual international conference and exhibition. The two events are expected to bring in excess of £500,000 in economic benefi t.Experiential events agency Logistik Group has won three Business in the Community (BITC) National Big Ticks for its sustainable approach to the business. Big Ticks are the fi rst level of recognition available to entrants of BITC's national Awards for Excellence, which recognise leadership on key social and environmental issues. The Leeds and London-based agency was also shortlisted for the overall national winner in Arts and Business.The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre has won a Gold Star Award for Greenest Conference Venue at the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS).Catering fi rm Sodexo Prestige was honoured in several categories at The Stadium Experience Offi cial Football Hospitality Awards 2012. Newcastle United (NUFC), Everton FC and Hampden Park also triumphed at the ceremony, held at Brighton and Hove Albion FC's AMEX Community Stadium. Audiovisual and interactive hire fi rm Smart AV has become the exclusive UK partner of Poken, a touch-based technology provider for events and location-based marketing. The product was developed as a social networking tool and is based on Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.WINNING BUSINESSFRAN MCINTYRE I'm not sure I can claim this best decision in its entirety, since it was a decision taken with my team at the time. In 2007, our largest event - The Carnival - was on the decline. Visitor perception was that it was too expensive, too focused on teenagers and for that reason not a safe or enjoyable environment within which to enjoy a family day out. In 2007, we took the decision to change the entry system from variable priced wristbands to a fl at £10 entry fee, which included 10 vouchers MY BEST DECISIONMY WORST DECISION27I'm sure there are poor decisions made every day in business and idealistically, we should treat them as learning experiences rather than regrets. One decision I've learnt a lot from is when I acquired an event, at a relatively low cost, and decided it could also be run and developed with low overhead costs. I didn't invest the time or money required in recruiting a dedicated team to get under the skin of the event or the industry and instead believed it could be handled under shared resource with other - completely different - events. As a result of the under-resourcing, a competitor identifi ed a gap in our offering and went on to fi ll that gap successfully. The event purchased lost value and credibility and needed far more investment than would originally have been required to resuscitate it. This was a tough lesson that across all events, a dedicated team capable of penetrating the industry, and becoming part of that industry, is core to the success of the shows. MANAGING DIRECTOR, QD EVENTS for 10 rides. Additional vouchers for those dedicated fairground lovers could be purchased inside the hall. The pricing message was simple: £1 per ride. Because it was so simple, we could use the majority of messaging to concentrate on bringing families back to the show. We were prepared to lose money in the fi rst year and we did. However, the audience profi le improved, the visitor experience improved and in the years following we have increased margin considerably and visitor numbers are at their highest in 20 years. The event is now fi rmly established as a family day out in the Christmas calendar. It was a brave decision to change the pricing structure and take the initial hit, but the right one. 1) Defi ne your goalDefi ne what you want to get out of the event and apply it to your venue - design your exhibition space to fi t your objectives. For instance, if your goal is to attract new customers who have no prior knowledge of the sector you are showcasing, design it with these people in mind. 2) Make it refl ect your event Depending on the size of your exhibition space, it's important to make sure stands accurately refl ect your event values and culture. For example, it's impractical to have a formal area with nowhere to sit if the event's success hinges on encouraging a fun and informal environment. 3) Introduce technology Consider introducing an interactive element with technology. For example, at a recent event we used interactive touchscreens where visitors could vote for their favourite travel destination. It had an overwhelmingly positive response and communicated messages much more accessibly. 4) Make it memorable Whether it's a leafl et, a promotional gift or a message to think about, give delegates something to remember you by. The overarching objective of any event is not only to get out there and meet people, but to build connections with contacts. Giving event attendees a reminder of your company and a reason to remember you will help. You never know, that promotional gift could be the building block of a new working relationship.- Tim Spencer is events director at Pulse Group. TOP TIPS HOW TO MAKE YOUR EVENT SPACE ENGAGING
business clinic38 www.exhibitionnews.co.ukllow me to introduce this month's column with a recent 'fresh' experience of customer care. My 17-year-old daughter has just passed her driving test and while legally entitled to drive, is still in need of practice. Recently she has been driving with one of her parents in the car effectively adopting the role of chauffeuse. My daughter drove my wife to an Asda supermarket in Brighton Hill and while there they decided to try getting the week's worth of groceries. They filled the trolley with the week's requirements and queued up at the manned checkout. Once the perishables and fragile items were scanned, the heavier frozen and bottled items followed until the checkout person encountered a box of wine. The checkout person asked my daughter how old she was and on the grounds that she was under 18, refused to sell 'her' the wine. My wife explained it wasn't for her and that my daughter was just accompanying her (as she has done since birth). a fresh look at customer care ASimon Naudi asks how a recent reading of the rulebook while at the supermarket should be a lesson on customer experienceLong story short, the manager was summoned, who recited the Licencing Act 2003 and proved incapable of differentiating between who was buying the alcohol. 'Debate' ensued but the manager was not going to back down and seemed upset when my wife refused to proceed with her total purchase if the offending wine was not included. Well there you have it - justifiable enforcement of rules or another example of the nanny state regulations being implemented ridiculously? It made me think about some of the health and safety regulations we are required to comply with during an event and the hordes of parking attendants up and down the country who patrol our venues. Most of us cannot escape either, but how these interactions are handled is much more salient than what the specific 'rule' happens to be. If we religiously enforced every rule, regulation and guideline, I suspect we could actually prevent any show from ever opening or any exhibitor from successfully complying, not to mention any car driver from emerging unscathed from our car parks. From personal experience, I know most event directors and senior managers are only aware of specific health and safety issues if they are escalated. For much of the time, they are blissfully unconcerned by the convoluted regulations that can make life hellish for exhibitors. The guidelines are the same for all of us in the industry, but it's how they are enforced and managed that makes exhibiting with some organisers an altogether more painless experience than with others. When was the last time you carried out a review to ensure the exhibitor journey was as easy as possible? In these times, we cannot afford to create barriers to participate at our events. I recall a few years ago speaking with the enlightened CEO of a Midlands-based venue who claimed he wanted to improve the image and visitor experience of the venue. I mentioned the start of the visitor journey was negatively influencing their mood, citing that written directions for exhibitors and visitors were to 'report to Control Point A' rather than 'please proceed to Gate A' as they are now. Could you make a simple change such as this to improve your exhibitor experience? - Simon Naudi is MD of Answers Group.In these times, we cannot afford to create barriers to participate in our eventsA recent report into consumer perception of product categories has found people are the most powerful ad medium.According to Jack Morton's latest New Realities quantitative research across the us, brazil, china and india, friends and family are the number one influence on consumer awareness and purchasing, with 56 per cent of global consumers seeking opinions from their closest personal peers. in addition, giving people something to talk about via a strong personal experience with your brand is more likely to turn consumers into advocates over simply going viral. However Jack Morton warned all forms of advocacy are not the same: Although four out of five consumers use social networks today, only 22 per cent agree that they 'use the social network sites to share brand information and experiences the same as i do. in the real world'. Just one in four consumers agreed social networking sites are good sources of word-of-mouth information on brand experiences. One in five claimed 'liking' or 'friending' a brand using such sites is 'silly'."This 'people as ad medium' trend is true whether they're young or old, male or female," the report stated. "And it's true whether they're buying an expensive considered product like a car or making an inexpensive nominal purchase like fast food."the people speakbrIng your own devIceFirms that allow staff to bring their own computer devices to use at work are more attractive employers and enjoy better workplace morale, a new survey claims.cloud computing company nasstar surveyed 300 small and medium-sized businesses and found almost three quarters of company bosses said that allowing staff to use their own smartphone, laptop or tablet in the workplace would position their firm as a 'flexible and attractive employer'. The report also revealed two thirds (64 per cent) of sMe chiefs already allow their staff to use their own devices for work purposes, with the same percentage upholding policies for those wishing to use their own devices at work.in all, 58 per cent felt employees using their own devices led to increased output, better workplace efficiency and happier staff. sixty per cent felt they had also saved money on iT training and hardware."For employers it's better to be flexible to their employees' needs rather than imposing ways of working that go against the preferences of their workforces," professor of organisational psychology and health at lancaster university Management school cary cooper said.With the rise of tablets and smartphones across the uK, 70 per cent believed it was 'inevitable' all staff would demand the flexibility to use their own devices in the future in tandem with those provided by their employer."While some employers have a blanket ban on this, it's clear most in our survey realise they look more attractive if they allow employees to bring their own devices to work, at least in some form," nasstar ceO charles black added.