Our colleague Franziska Steinhoff has been working as Marketing and Social Media Manager at SR Travel GmbH & Co. KG in Gießen since May 2017. She takes care of the CI guidelines in all areas of the company, creates creative marketing measures and takes care of trade fair and event organisation. The trade fair planning of the ITB in Berlin is one of her largest projects.
In an interview, she told the SRT Online Team what the detailed planning and organisation of a successful trade fair appearance should look like.
Franziska Steinhoff: You can never really start planning a trade fair too early. As a rule of thumb: One year before the start of the trade fair, you should already begin thinking about resource and budget planning, the rough stand concept and defining the target. Responsibilities must be delegated and communicated. An action plan with all the deadlines listed is also an absolute must and creates an overview for all those involved. Hotel reservations for all colleagues taking part in the trade fair should also be made as early as possible, as demand is high during such a large trade fair and the hotels are booked out accordingly quickly.
Franziska Steinhoff: Already during my studies, we designed several events in teams for different companies and different target groups. Our 20 square metre stand at ITB 2018 was however one of my first trade fair projects, which I was allowed to plan on my own and also implement afterwards. For this year’s ITB we requested and received a new pitch for the SR Travel stand. Therefore we decided on a completely new stand concept. Our appearance at ITB 2019 thus became one of the largest trade fair appearances I have ever been given the opportunity to implement.
Franziska Steinhoff: The International Tourism Exchange (ITB) has been the leading trade fair for the global tourism industry since 1966 and is held annually in Berlin at the beginning of March. Countries, cities, tour operators, booking systems and other service providers from up to 180 countries present their wide range of products and services here. Trade visitors therefore have the opportunity to find new industry partners, while private visitors can get to know cultures and people from all over the world or book their dream holiday during the fair weekend.
Franziska Steinhoff: This year we had five square metres more space on our corner stand than last year. At first, this may not sound like much more, but with a precise and well thought-out stand design this figure can already make a difference. For quite some time now, our managing director Mrs. Booz and I had had the idea of a comfortable, yet elegant stand. After all, a trade fair stand is the figurehead of a company, intended to attract attention and potential customers by making them feel comfortable and inviting them to take a seat.
The perfect eye-catcher for our stand was of course our company colour, which covered the four-metre-high walls. In keeping with this, we opted for an acacia floor, which looks upmarket but also natural, due to its elegant grain. The counter was also made of this wood. (Artificial) lambskins on transparent chairs, a cosy fireplace with an (also artificial) fire and a cowhide carpet created a level of homeliness. Beside the purple walls, orange and white tulips provided for a further fresh splash of colour and beautifully completed the overall picture of the concept.
Franziska Steinhoff: One of the most important requirements for a successful trade fair appearance is stand registration, which should not be missed on any account. For a successful trade fair appearance good and well thought-out preparation and follow-up is half the battle. The organisation has a considerable influence on the success of the presentation. From partition walls from a professional stand builder, to a supplier’s choice of flowers, to communication such as brochures and flyers during the fair – everything should be planned down to the smallest detail.
Surprisingly, the exhibition can still be chaos, even though it was planned from A to Z in detail during preparation. In that case it is important to keep a cool head at all times. This quality can be learned wonderfully in such a time. However, it is just as important not to put your feet up directly after the trade fair, but to maintain contact with customers and interested parties and to draw up a final calculation. It is highly advisable to ask yourself what went well and where there was room for improvement and to put these conclusions in writing. A debriefing with the whole team always helps improve the next upcoming fairs.
On the whole, it can be said that a trade fair appearance is successful if it has achieved high recognition value, appreciation of customers and interested parties and the previously defined goals during the planning phase.
The SRT online team would like to thank Ms. Franziska Steinhoff for the interview.