Sarah Breymeier
If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve likely noticed that the theme for this month’s tips is customer loyalty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more critical time where this comes into play for meetings.
I hate beating a dead horse, but I’ll say it again – the game has changed. Exhibit halls are getting harder to fill, costs keep going up and vendors are getting more frustrated with the lack of ROI. It’s not a great recipe for exhibit hall glory.
While the entire industry is still adjusting to all the new elements that have been created over the last 2 years, there is not going to be a magic button that brings us to where we feel we need to be – nobody even knows what/where that is.
So while the process for improvement is never-ending, something that needs to be blatantly recognized is appreciation for the exhibitors/vendors who haven’t gotten out of the meeting game. Those that keep showing up to figure it out with all of us and make it work. Face it. They deserve it.
We’re always brainstorming, and while some ideas are more practical than others, you may be able to employ some of these, or a version of them, into your own plans to acknowledge customer loyalty.
  • Repeat-vendor Discounts. I know in these times offering discounts seems like the last thing you would possibly be able to do and I certainly don’t know the ins and outs of your event expenses. BUT, if you are able to provide some sort of break for repeat-vendors, I know it would help anyone who may be feeling like it’s just not worth it anymore
  • 5 Time Rewards. Think about some perks you could give to exhibitors who haven’t taken a single break from your annual meeting for the last 5 years; obviously you can take the perks even higher to those who have been around for longer. If you create a program like this, vendors who have been around may come to realize it would be a waste to not show up again and lose the added value they are going to receive as your way of saying, “thank you” What are those perks? We’ll have to brainstorm some more!
  • Loyalty Recognition Materials. It doesn’t cost anything to acknowledge the vendors who have been there year after year after year; so recognize them in meeting materials like the show program and/or app. Create a special section in the program that personally thanks those vendors who have showed support consistently. I would also encourage to create some sort of tower/banner that recognizes them too. I know signage does have an expense, but nothing in comparison to the peace of mind you experience knowing that you always have their support.