Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Wedding Fairs - What to consider

By Guild Member Kirsty Dimond from K.D Jewellery

Wedding Fairs and Shows are a fantastic way for Brides and Grooms-to-be to meet a variety of wedding suppliers all under one roof! Much like a trade show or a business expo, vendors within the wedding industry attend these events to showcase the vast range of wares and services they can provide to potential clients on one of their most special days.

So, what's involved in exhibiting at one of these events? And how do you make sure it's a success for your small business? Let's take a look at what you should consider when deciding to book into a wedding event…

What to consider?
You will find that a vast majority of these events take place at hotels, or tourist attractions, that also cater to weddings themselves.  Often these are well known locations, which is great for footfall, and hosting the event also gives the venue the option to present itself as its own exhibit.

The first thing you should consider therefore is the location.  Is it local to you? If so, then you are likely to incur less travel costs as well as having a shorter travel time to the event itself.  Is the fair being held at a well-known location? Or is the location itself already a popular 'wedding spot'? If this is the case, you will find that a larger number of Brides already have this location on their wedding radar and, if it's in a popular area there is likely to be a higher footfall than a more rural or remote event which people would have to travel to.  If the event is an annual or well-established event, don't be afraid to ask the organisers whether there is usually good traffic.  Often the larger, more well-known, events will be the ones with the highest footfall on the day.

Another important detail you should consider is when the event is being held.  Weddings, like most fashion-based businesses, tend to have 'seasons' where higher numbers of couples will be getting started with their preparations.  According to a recent survey by popular wedding site 'Confetti' the traditional Spring/Summer weddings are now less popular with more and more Brides opting for Autumnal celebrations instead.  Popular proposal dates such as Christmas, New Year and Valentines combined with the average engagement length of approximately 18 months see the most popular dates being between July and September, with many being the latter or even extending into October.  With this being said, apparently, the majority of Wedding services within the UK are booked between September and February, making these the ideal months to exhibit at fairs and be noticed by searching couples.

You could also gain a lot of insight into how successful an event will be if you are able to find out whether the event is catering to a particular type of couple or a particular style of wedding.  For example, a niche event in an old fashioned stately home which is targeting couples who are looking at having a unique and possibly vintage-themed affair, may be an absolute dream for your product or service however, if you are a maker of more modern items which fit in with today's popular culture, then such an event may not be suited to you.

An important factor to consider when booking any event, be it wedding-related or otherwise, is the cost.  You need to consider not only the cost itself, but also what is included in that cost, as well as any hidden extras that may come to light.  You may find that the cost includes a stand of some sort or you may be paying for the exhibition space alone, in which case there may be additional costs for a table and chair (if bringing your own is not an option).  Electricity and Wi-Fi access (should you need them) are also often extra to the booking fee itself.  You should also factor in any travel costs you may incur and any promotional materials or display accessories you may need to properly present your business to potential clients.

Following on from this, you may wish to consider looking into ways in which you could reduce the cost of attending such an event, if possible.  Organisers that run these events in various locations throughout the year may have discounts available for booking in at more than one exhibition, essentially spreading the cost to you and allowing you to reach more people for your money.  Also, booking last minute or accepting cancellation spaces at shorter notice may mean than organisers are happy to negotiate somewhat on the booking fee in order to fill an empty space.  Another possibility, particularly useful to start-up businesses within the industry, would be to find out whether the organisers are happy for you to share an exhibition space with another business.  Perhaps you know someone else who is just starting out whose business would complement yours? Of course, this would be completely at the discretion of the organiser and may not always be allowed but it is definitely worth asking! Nothing ventured, nothing gained after all…

Depending on your speciality, there are so many young couples planning to tie the knot that there is bound to be plenty of business for everyone - especially in the handmade world - however, it is definitely still important to consider your competition at these types of events.  Take the time to research the other businesses that will be exhibiting at the event to determine whether there is space for you and your wares to be seen and to be noticed!  Similar businesses are fine - there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition after all! - as long as you can find something to make yourself stand apart from the crowd.

One of the most important things you should consider when booking an event - again, this one applies to ANY event - is both the amount and the type of advertising that the organisers have lined up for the promotion of the event.  Even popular annual events with a known footfall will need to be advertised in order to bring in new clients.  Organisers should have all advertising bases covered including: posters, leaflets, banners, local newspapers and wedding publications, as well as online ads, blogs and plenty of social media coverage.  More and more couples are turning to the i
Internet for help with planning their weddings and support groups and forums on social media sites such as Facebook are fast becoming 'the place to be' for event promotion.  If an event is not well advertised, it is not likely to be well attended.

Promotion is KEY is getting your business 'out there'.  Everyone knows this.  So, another thing to find out about prior to an event is whether there are any opportunities for extra promotion for your business.  Are the organisers handing out goody bags at the event? If so, find out whether you are able to provide a sample or even have a business card or leaflet included (this may incur an additional cost though so definitely check first!).  Is there a fashion show taking place at the event? Could you perhaps offer to have one of your items either worn or carried, or included in some way? It may seem like such a small promotional step but, as they say, every little helps!

So, there you have it.  If the event, you have in mind ticks all the right boxes then go for it! Take a leap of faith and see where it gets you!  And don't forget to check out my top tips for exhibiting! 

No comments:

Post a Comment