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Are you on kissing terms with show visitors?

Darren Ng
At TTG Asia’s IT&CMAsia exhibition in Bangkok, October 2013, the TTG Chief Executive, Darren Ng, told an audience that 67% of the MICE buyers at this year’s event were first-time visitors. He was then asked by a journalist if this represented a failure. Were there so many previous visitors who didn’t want to return?

Darren was quick to refute that suggestion. He strongly emphasised that: ‘Our exhibitors obviously want to be sure that the biggest buyers are back again to meet them to maintain relationships, but a very important objective of exhibiting is to get to know new potential clients. We are in fact very proud that we have been able to introduce so many new potential clients to the exhibitors.’

This remark recalled something I have never forgotten from a long time ago. The London office of Maison de France, the French Tourism Office, was headed by Jacques Caradec. Chatting on his stand once at a MICE show, he complained to me that some of the intermediaries who brought hosted groups had the same people in tow year after year. ‘We are all on kissing terms’, was how he expressed it.

Obviously he felt that it was wasting his time to meet the same people again and again, because he already had all their contact data and could keep in touch whenever he chose.

People who market destinations and venues are thirsty for new potential clients. Why spend goodly sums of money exhibiting if you already know the people and, instead, can give them a phone call or send an email?

In fact, one of the main activities of exhibitors in the run-up to a show is to prompt as many people as possible to call on their stands to be introduced to the facilities and services they can offer.

As you walk down the aisles, you can see how alert the exhibitors are to spot new buyers and ensure that they don’t pass their stands without calling in.

It was a valuable statistic that Darren Ng presented in Bangkok. We should all now look to the other organisers of MICE shows to follow this example.

Yes, total numbers of visitors should be revealed, but exhibitors don’t want to be on kissing terms with them all.

Imagine a world without MICE media
Sleeping giant very much awake
 

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