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Travel Pros Share Tradeshow Tips

How do you make the most of your time at a tradeshow, and particularly your business appointments? We asked four industry veterans to share their preparation and follow-up tips. Here’s what they had to say.

“The first thing I do is gather group history from each tour company. It’s important to go into the appointment knowing how often they have been in our city. Then I put that information in a binder that also has a section for follow-up notes that I complete during the conversation with the customer.

“After the show, I use my follow-up notes to send out a packet of information that usually consists of a thank-you letter, tour planner guide, visitor guide, profile sheet and suggested itineraries. I add follow-up notes to our extranet system for our partners to review and respond.”

-Saundra Robertson, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau

“Before the conference, I double check to see what destinations the group leader is interested in for the next two years. I find out as much information as possible about the group leader and review any contact notes I have made with them in the last year. I prepare sample itineraries for each meeting and try to remember something personal about group leaders I have met in the past.

“Within 10 days of the conference, I send a general follow-up message to all the group leaders. I then follow up by phone or email with specific proposals within two weeks.”

-Jim Warren, Anderson Vacations

“I do my research prior to requesting appointments to ensure that the planner or tour operator has interest in our destination. I want to be prepared, know our product and know my target market.

“Afterward, I provide the planner or tour operator with the information they requested and send it to them in the format they prefer. If they ask for a phone call, I call them.”

-Sandy Haines, Myrtle Beach Area CVB

“Prior to attending a trade show, I research who I am meeting with. I also reach out to my local partners for anything new happening in the area or with their business, and I use these ‘what’s new’ items on a sheet that I distribute during appointments.

“After the tradeshow is done, I make sure and follow up. I ask my clients when the best time to follow up with them is. Some don’t need instant follow-up, as they get bombarded with emails after a tradeshow. This has proved very effective.”

-Heather Anderson, Travel Portland