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Running An Expo/Conference

What does it take to run a successful expo?

9:43 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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So Im looking into running a semi-large expo. But unfortunately I have no experience in this and have no idea what it takes! Has anyone ever run an expo like this before? The kind Im thinking of is much like SES.. Though this doesnt have to be the all-time greatest, it could be smaller scale.. But I certainly want it reputable.

I feel this would help my business as well as the industry a ton. Does it? Not only does it create lots of press, but it also puts me in the field as a reputable source for news and content. Exactly what I want. And the networking is, of course, amazing.

Anyone with any experience in this would be greatly appreciated!


9:59 pm on Aug 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Hi iseff,

UnfortunatelyI do a lot of expo and trade show work (pays the rent sometimes).

Just so you know where you're headed a 'semi-large expo' can take a hundred or more people all told and a year to year and a half lead time. Plus a few mega-bucks to pay for most everything upfront (advertising, promotion, office staff, decorator's fees, shipping, insurance etc., etc., etc.).

Floor space alone for a smallish expo, say 25K square feet will run between $1 to $2 per square foot per day plus, plus, plus (there's always a heck of a lot of added charges).

Suggestion: Start small, maybe a meeting with a few exhibits in a hotel where there is a lot of support available.


3:59 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunately I too have experience, and I would not recommend getting into it. Now I dealt with consumer market, so B2B I'm sure is different, but the shear amount of time and money that it took just wasn't worth the return for me. Which was six months of 20 hour days, 3 days of being up straight through for the actual expo, loss of half my hair, two very good employees, and $15k after all was said and done.

That being said, it was great to learn print advertising, creating commercials, PR, sales, sponsorships, learning how unions work, lol, and numerous other things that I still use in business now.

I would think about why you want to do it, if it's to share knowledge and it's something you believe in and can do it on a small scale, go for it. If you are trying to make money, I'd definitey work with a planner who can handle the necessities while you concentrate on sales and advertising.

6:12 pm on Aug 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I also have experience in this in my other life, and though I've actually had great success (B2B), my recommendation would be the same as momsbudget --stay away from it. One of the great pleasures I've had in going virtual has been taking my businesses off the show/expo circuit.
6:44 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Exhibitions are a major undertaking for even organisations that are professional regular stagers of them.

I would consider hiring an experienced events manager or team to organise it for you.

It has to add up commercially and its only those with experience that will know all the bills to budget for and therefore the prices to charge to come out in profit.

And their aint no point if you dont cover your costs.

There is a feeling that in some B2B sectors, exhibitions are having a harder time finding visitors, there seems less intrinsic reason for them now that so much research and new product discovery can be done online. That leaves the networking and the additional proactive promotion that the exhibition organisers can arrange ..

It is my opinion that the best large exhibitions have established themselves over many many years of learning by experience and careful honing.


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