Role of tourism trade shows and exhibitions in boosting brands – Business Daily
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa at the launch of a one-month-long photo exhibition by the Tourism ministry on August 2, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
Trade shows, fairs or expositions are organised events where different businesses in a similar sector convene at a single venue to showcase their products and services. Some local examples are; Kenya Homes Expo, Magical Kenya Travel Expo, Secureexpo E.A and Buildexpo.
Trade visitors are typically representatives of companies, distributors, resellers, suppliers, and media in the industry. Exhibitions on the other hand, are organised events focused on promoting products and services in a specific thematic category or topic.
Exhibitions may focus on either B2B or business-to-customer (B2C) audiences but usually aim to attract the general public. There are also hybrid events that feature both trade visitors and consumers attending on separate days as scheduled by the organiser.
Premium international tourism trade shows and exhibitions are pricey. However, a well-formulated participation strategy often leads to impressive returns in the medium to long term.
At the annual three-day World Travel Market event in London, the minimum starting size of a nine square metres booth (3 meters x 3 metres) costs a tidy sum of £4,300 (approximately Sh595,000).
If you add return air tickets, accommodation, meals, local transport and other incidental expenses, you will establish an estimate of what you are likely to expend. Tourism Boards normally book spaces averaging 200-400 square metres in size depending on the number of sharing exhibitors.
This space is utilised to build a country’s or region’s destination exhibit. Other essential services including; exhibit design and construction, catering, event technology and branding graphics are additional expenses.
Tourism boards, therefore, subsidise participation costs on a sharing basis with participating private sector exhibitors to cushion their financial burden. However, this is often still not nearly enough to enable smaller enterprises to afford participation costs.
To respond to this challenge Kenya Tourism Board conceived and hosted the inaugural Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE) in 2011 in a bid to provide a platform to enable small and medium tour operators, destination management companies, accommodation suppliers and other stakeholders to showcase their services and products affordably.
This year’s MKTE is scheduled to take place from 5th- 7th October 2022 at the Bomas of Kenya. An estimated 200 exhibitors from East and Southern Africa and 150 global buyers from key source markets are expected to participate.
Tourism trade shows and exhibitions provide excellent opportunities for destination brand building, generation of business leads, nurturing existing business relationships, gain new customers and assess market trends to inform product development.
Top tourism destinations hardly ignore chances to secure their presence and visibility in global marquee tourism events. The critical question is how to effectively harness the evident power inherent in these business platforms.
From the outset, selection of targeted events is a key strategic consideration. You must, however, ascertain if the event’s profile aligns with your marketing objectives.