How important is exhibiting in HRCL overall marketing strategies? We are constantly looking at our exhibiting options and attending various exhibitions that are relevant to the various aspects of our business. For instance, we were at RSVP 2010 as it targets our corporate event and private hire clients. Travel industry show World Travel Market takes our product to tour operators and tour group leaders, which is another aspect of our core business. Since working here, I've found getting out to these potential clients via exhibiting to be very fruitful. What reasons did HRCL having for specifically exhibiting at RSVP 2010 this year? We chose to return this year as previous editions were so successful. Exhibitingcaught up with the sales director of event venue and restaurant Hard Rock Café London, Niki Henville, at RSVP 2010 to discuss exhibiting strategies. Examining the role of exhibitions in your marketing strategy strategy It is now one of most recognised brands on the planet and continues to grow, despite the problems of recent recession and the fickle nature of customer loyalty. Tell us a bit about Hard Rock Café London The Hard Rock Café London ( HRCL) opened its doors in 1971, on Hyde Park Corner. From that one cafe grew the global company that now has 165 properties worldwide including hotels, live music venues and casinos. Strong branding and musical lures formed the base of Hard Rock's stand EXHIBITING- July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk 9 Rocking out on the exhibition floor Niki Henville with ' Johnny Depp'
July/ August 2010 www. exhibitingmagazine. co. uk EXHIBITING 10 strategy this drive down your costs, but you can swap leads too. What results did you achieve at the show this year? Unfortunately, exhibiting this year did not give us the same exposure as on previous occasions. We felt there was a dip in the number and quality of the visitors ( RSVP reported visitor numbers were down 25 per cent on 2009- dep ed). We haven't generated any new business from the handful of what we considered strong leads. One positive decision we'd repeat, however, was having a look- a- like on the stand, namely Simon Newton who imitates Johnny Depp. He drew people over, which meant we could pitch to them more easily. I'd tell any exhibitor the merit of having a stand attraction, but you must use it to your advantage. How many people manned the stand? We had two sales managers on the stand, along with staff members from the Cafe at various times. By welcoming Rockaoke onto the stand as a fellow exhibitor, that helped to share some of the stand cost. It also meant we could look after each others interests when toilet or lunch breaks were needed. As both companies also complimented each other, we could pass suitable clients between us, meaning very few inquisitive visitors walked past without being stopped. What does the future hold for HRCL and its exhibiting presence? Despite a disappointing time, our taste for exhibiting hasn't been completely soured. We still see the value in doing it, but will become more stringent about which shows we will attend. with a small exhibiting budget, as long as the two companies compliment each other. Not only will The previous two years we had great return on investment. One year we got back three times as much as we put into our presence, and results like that really drive home the power of face- to- face marketing. This year, we co- located with live karaoke band Rockaoke, which has played at the HRCL in the past. I'd recommend co- location to anyone Signed guitar, sir? Hard Rock knows how to promote its USPs " I'd recommend co- location to anyone with a small exhibiting budget"