Tradeshow training for the catering industry

I told you about the CaterSource conference back in January.  I just returned home from Las Vegas where I presented two seminars to an assortment of catering industry suppliers, association planners and meeting professionals.  On Sunday I taught supplying exhibitors the five most important elements they need to turn their booth into a powerful profit center at shows.  That includes:  Goal Setting, Display dynamics, promotions, sales strategies and follow-up.  On Monday I talked to planners how to add value and excitement to the next tradeshow they produced.  It was a fun trip. I love Las Vegas.  After work I enjoyed my favorite games. I had some good runs on Roulette and got a cool Sun/Moon slot machine up to $550.  I can’t wait to go back again in March for the Exhibitor Show. That is the largest tradeshow for the tradeshow industry.  I’ll be looking for what’s new and exciting in display design and services so I can give my clients the latest and greatest products and services.  I’ll tell you about the trip after.  I did ride the monorail this time and found it lots of fun on top of being a great deal.  I spent over $50 the first day on taxis then bought a 24 hour pass for $13 and rode it the next two days.  I recommend it.  SR

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4 Responses to “Tradeshow training for the catering industry”


  1. 1 Brian McGovern March 6, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Susan,
    I was at the Catersource / Event Solutions event and sorry to say I missed your presentation. The majority of trade show exhibitors would do well to follow your advice. Too many have no strategy beyond wearing matching golf shirts and handing out pens. Trade shows are a great way to promote – if you do it right.
    Most of my clients are in the special event business; caterers, event planners, event services. Many display at wedding shows. Is there a big difference between effectively marketing at a trade show vs a wedding show?

  2. 2 susanratliff March 6, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Brian, Thanks for writing. Sorry we did not connect at CaterSource. Regarding your question: The principals that govern effective exhibit marketing can be applied to any consumer or tradeshow regardless of the industry or audience The five that are critical to any company’s success at the booth are
    1. Goal setting: Exhibitors really limit their potential for benefits from shows when their only goals are selling products and getting leads. You are already there at the show, why not take a survey of your prospects, launch a new service, investigate what your competition is doing or test out a new sales strategy.
    2. Display dynamics: It would be wise for some exhibitors to step back into the aisle and take a look at what attendees see. With all the money spent to secure a booth, ship their stuff and staff the show, you’d think they would want to look their best. Unfortunately the image many displays project does not match the slick, professional image in their marketing materials. That disconnect tells the attendee, they just don’t care.
    3. Promotions: Exhibitors should take some responsibility for getting traffic to their own booths. Developing creative promotions that draw attention and are integrated into the theme of the booth will make profits increase and make your marketing messages more memorable
    4. Sales Strategy- Whether you’re collecting money or collecting leads it’s all sales. If exhibitors would just script a simple presentation each team member must use there would be a way to quantify results. Unfortunately, what happens is every sales person tries to sell at the booth like they sell in the field. The other problem is that everyone is giving a different pitch so management can never determine why one salesperson has 100 leads and the other has 25. Get coordinated with the message. Make lead generation a top priority and rand the leads.
    5. Follow up effectively. It is astounding that even though 73% of exhibitors collect leads at a show, 80% of all leads are never followed up. Make a plan and contact those prospects within 3 days. Brian, good luck at your Bridal Show. I hope this helps.

  3. 3 Pop Up Tent March 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

    What type of setup do you feel works best for setting up a booth at a tradeshow. I have an Auto show coming up soon and this will be my first one.

  4. 4 susanratliff March 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Congratulations on getting your feet wet in the exhibiting arena. The type of display you choose should be determined by your marketing needs. Will you be retailing product at the show or promoting a service business. Do you need a demo area of storage? How big is your space? What are you bringing to the show. Most importantly you should look professional. That does not mean you have to spend lots of money. Just get professionally designed and produced graphics. Vinyl banners hung on the back wall do not give you the same credibility as a portable display with graphic mural panels. If your budget is tight consider renting a portable exhibit like a popup or panel system then design and print some large graphics with a simple, succinct marketing message. Plan a lead capturing method and prepare a show special. I could spend hours giving you additional ideas. I do have a few tip sheets that might help you. Give my office a call at 602-437-3634 and I will get them to you


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