If you’re planning to go to BETA International later this month, then make sure you read this first!
What is BETA International?
BETA International in the British Equestrian Trade Association’s international trade show that happens at the NEC in Birmingham each January. Well, it used to be February, but it’s January now. This year it’s running between 21st and 23rd. The good and great of the equestrian and country industry gather to see what’s new, what’s hot, what we can expect to see in the coming year… and to have a good catch up with friends and colleagues. It lasts for three days, it’s free entry, but you do need to register and be a true member of the equestrian trade. You can’t buy things at BETA International, as in, you can’t walk away with armfuls of stuff like you can at somewhere like Badminton or Your Horse Live. Retailers can place orders on stands, and it gives busy retailers the chance to see a lot of businesses in a fairly short space of time, and to get most of their forward orders sorted too!
Why am I giving advice on BETA International?
I’ve attended BETA International as an exhibitor (when I used to be marketing manager for one of the biggest exhibitors there), and as an equestrian PR and marketing consultant, so I think I’ve seen it from a few different sides. The advice below, whether you’re an exhibitor or a visitor should help you… you ready?
Top Tips for exhibitors at BETA International…
- Make sure you have filled in and taken advantage of all the free opportunities you can. When you exhibit you’re sent a lot of information you need to fill in and filter through, but it’s worth it.
- Make sure your customers know you’ll be there. Send them an email. Get on the phone. Invite them to come and see you.
- Use BETA International as an opportunity to sell but also to build relationships with your customers. Invite them for a drink, have a chat, get to know them. People buy from people and there’s no better opportunity than when that person is on your stand!
- Snacks and drinks. Having snacks and drink on the stand for customers is a big plus. The air con makes you want to drink a fair amount of water, and having someone offer you a bottle can make a big difference. You could always get your drinks and snacks branded too. So you never miss an opportunity.
- There’s usually the opportunity to display a press release on the racking inside the press office during the event, for members of the press to pick up. Have a chat with the press officer and get the info you need (best time to drop them off, number required, etc).
- Incentives. Are you running any show offers? Competitions? Incentives can encoruage people to visit you. But make sure you tell them about the incentives…
Top Tips for people visiting BETA International…
…and many of these apply to exhibitors too…
- Stay hydrated. I know I sound like your mother, but it’s true. I have been foolish before and not drunk as much as I should have and have felt pretty rough as the day progressed. You’re chattering away most of the time, there’s the air con… you need to drink. Tea and coffee are fine, but water is best. Pop at least one bottle in your bag. Trust me on this.
- Lip balm. It sounds like I have a thing about air con, but it can really dry your lips out and that’s not nice. Pop a lip balm in your bag and you’ll be sorted.
- Footwear. Comfort wins. Always. Be smart, yes, but keep in mind you could cover miles in the halls and you don’t want to be limping after an hour… because you’ll be in a world of pain come home time (and for the next few days too).
- Layers. In January, the temperature outside can vary enormously, but get into a big indoor exhibition and you have more temperature issues to contend with. Dress in layers so you can stay comfortable and smart all day long. There’s also another benefit that thin layers can be put in a bag when removed. Bulky layers are a lot more challenging.
- Charging unit. I don’t know about you, but I get battery anxiety when I go to shows and events. The fear of the damn thing running out when I need it genuinely concerns me, but if you invest in a charging pack that can charge your phone remotely, you’re covered. My friend has a nifty phone case that does this, but I have a plugin one.
- Business cards. Make sure you have some. Make sure you have somewhere to keep other people’s.
- Plan. It’s easy to miss people if you don’t have a plan. Write down the stands you want to see, their stand numbers and, if you’re ultra organised, mark them on the show plan. That said, it’s pretty easy to navigate around BETA International due to the enormous letters hanging from the ceiling, so don’t worry too much about this.
- Appointments. Some stands work on a no appointments policy and for some it’s essential to make an appointment. Check if it’s important you see a specific person.
- Bags. You will be given various brochures, leaflets and samples, so make sure you have a good bag that you’re happy to carry around with you. Think strength but also think comfortable wide handles.
- Programme. Look at the programme. See what talks are going on and when. There’s usually a really interesting programme, so make the most of it.
- Enjoy! It’s about having fun too, so don’t get yourself completely booked up – add some amble time so you can take in the whole show and discover new bits too.
Is there anything I’ve missed?