Ms. Dietrich

Social Media & Relationship Marketing

Hotel Trade Shows: Creating an Event

By Gini Dietrich, Founder & CEO, Arment Dietrich Inc.

Hotel trade shows are complex events that require months of focused planning, preparation, and coordination. Trade shows are a great venue to showcase your business, helping to generate new and increased revenue in a variety of ways. Public relations plays a critical role in how a trade show is publicized in the media and perceived by your target audiences. A successful trade show program should have a strong public relations component, enabling the maximization of positive media coverage in relevant outlets to your business. A complete plan will have recruitment, preparation, execution, and follow-up procedures working together to highlight your business in the media.

A few tips to begin:

  • Recruit reporters and invite them to visit with you while at the trade show.

  • Initial contact with reporters should be well thought out and create enthusiasm for meeting with you personally.

  • Maximize media coverage for you and your hotel by creating story angles exclusive to each reporter you meet with.

  • Remain organized and focused to ensure a clear picture about your business is delivered to your target audiences through the media.

  • Build and maintain relationships throughout the year with the reporters you meet during the trade show.

Recruit reporters and invite them to visit with you while at the trade show. In order to receive stories relevant to your business, it is critical reporters who reach your targeted audience attend your event. This process starts with recruitment. Begin by inviting those reporters who have previously covered your events, those that cover similar events, and local media professionals. Determine the focus of your trade show and reach out to reporters who traditionally cover that topic. Research media outlets that reach your customers and do your research. Find pieces about businesses like yours and contact the journalist responsible. Find quotes or mentions of your competitors and offer yourself as a resource as well. Search for pieces where your expertise would have made the story better, then inform the journalist that a follow-up story is needed to complete the piece. Using a pro-active approach to recruiting media and finding opportunities will not only result in increased coverage for your business, but help you gain important industry knowledge.

The trade show itself will be recruiting media to publicize the event and increase attendance. The media at the event should be considered a resource for you and your business as well. The event organizers should have a list of already confirmed reporters attending the show and most are happy to share that list with exhibitors. It is important to work closely with the event organizers to verify who the featured speakers will be, as they will encourage the attendance of additional media, helping increase coverage of your event. By using all the resources available you will maximize opportunities to receive media coverage while at the trade show.

Initial contact with reporters should be well thought out and create enthusiasm for meeting with you personally. Your initial contact with each reporter is critical in developing interest in your business and starting a long term relationship. A personal phone call or e-mail to the reporter should be made and include a short message of why it would be in their interest to attend and cover the event. In subsequent follow-up leading up to the event, it is important to tweak and re-iterate your message to media who have not confirmed attendance to pique their interests and convince them covering your business is in the interest of their audience. To help build relationships with media professionals, accommodate the requests of those who will be attending, getting them the information they need in a timely manner. These simple steps will help you to maximize your media coverage opportunities at the show.

Maximize media coverage for you and your hotel by creating story angles exclusive to each reporter you meet with. Maximizing media coverage of any event relies in part on crafting story angles relevant to media professionals and their audience. No reporter wants to write about the same thing all his or her competitors are covering. Focus on what you and your business bring to the trade show that is unique or interesting. The media being able to differentiate stories from each other will result in increased coverage and better results for your business. Creating different exclusives with several reporters and coordinating unique interviews will help you diversify the coverage you receive, giving each outlet an individual story and creating more opportunities to reach your target audience. Through the use of creative positioning, it is possible to get reporters who are attending the event, but do not cover your area of expertise, to still cover your business. Talk with them about what angles they are covering and apply aspects of your business appropriately. If they report on food, tell them about your accomplished chef, if they cover design, talk with them about a unique remodel you completed. Cutting through the clutter will put you ahead of your competitors and give you the edge you need when executing at your event.

Remain organized and focused to ensure a clear picture about your business is delivered to your target audiences through the media. Managing the media coverage you receive involves strong execution and organizational skills to coordinate your resources as well as message at your event. Staying on schedule and maintaining preparation will help keep your media opportunities focused and on point, resulting in a clear picture delivered to your target audience. Good organization will allow you to control schedules, personnel, materials and events without letting important items fall through the cracks. Effective planning allows you enough time to prepare for each interview and collect your thoughts, making sure your message remains consistent throughout a full day of interviews. By staying organized and maintaining a high level of professionalism, you will not only look like an industry leader, but create a positive relationship with the reporters who will continue to cover your industry.

Build and maintain relationships with the reporters you meet during the trade show. Maintaining good relationships with reporters is critical to your continued media coverage success. Professionalism is a must, beginning with your first contact and continuing throughout your relationship. Follow-up communication is a great way to not only stay in touch with the reporters who reach your target audience, but to maintain current knowledge about your industry and competitors. Consistent follow-up also gives you insight into what your media contacts are currently working on, resulting in new media opportunities and increased coverage. Make sure your contacts know that you are available should they need any industry insight, quotes, case studies or any other information about your business. Staying closely connected to reporters covering you industry can only help your business improve your position in the media and stay ahead of your competitors.

Public relations plays a critical role in trade show success, allowing your business to connect with customers who did not attend the event but are interested in what your business has to offer. Using research to recruit reporters who cover businesses like yours, reaching out to media professionals, creating unique story angles, staying organized and building relationships are the key steps in creating a successful trade show public relations program. By following a detailed plan, you can increase your visibility in the media and differentiate your business from your competitors, increasing sales and revenue. Through proper execution it is possible to create long-term benefits for your company from a single event, maximizing your business' potential.

Gini Dietrich is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arment Dietrich, Inc. Arment Dietrich, Inc. is a Chicago-based, integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of the book, “Spin Sucks”, and co-author of the book, “Marketing in the Round”. She is also co-host of Inside PR, and founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Ms. Dietrich’s blog, Spin Sucks, is the number one PR blog in the world. Actively engaged in social media and blogging since 2006, Ms. Dietrich has advised many clients on how to incorporate digital media into a larger, and more integrated, marketing program. She can be found on Spin Sucks, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram. Ms. Dietrich can be contacted at 312-787-7249 or Extended Bio... retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by

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