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Moments: Tactical Travel

Sometimes in life, you have to decide to take the leap and go somewhere in the spur of the moment. The travel bug is strong with so many people, so why not lean into it and encourage travel for events like trade shows, networking events, company retreats, and more? As you can imagine, business travel dipped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has ramped back up significantly over the past year. In 2019, business travelers made up about 25% of all travel in North America. People are willing to travel, so what can you do to make sure the time they spend at your event is worth it? 

In a blog post, we’ll discuss:

1. Spontaneity into Sales
2. Events that Generate Enthusiasm
3. Brand Exposure Across the Country

      Spontaneity into Sales

      The cost of going on a trip goes far beyond the price of flight and hotel. One recent study found that many travelers spend an average of $718 per person even before they’ve left their destination – on anything from duty-free shopping to trip-related clothing. Not everything on a business trip will be put on a company card, and there are definitely personal expenses associated with travel. With that knowledge, you as a business owner or host at an event can capitalize on an opportunity.  

      Think ahead about things you can give registrants at your event that make their journeys easier. Travel kits that include things like bags, headphones, or pillows are practical ways to help those that made the trip to your event. Author Paul Greenberg once wrote, “If a customer likes you — and continues to like you — they will continue to do business with you. If they don’t, they won’t.” The principle is simple: you are addressing a tangible need in the event attendee’s current situation, and they won’t forget that. Turn the spontaneity of their trip into sales and future business for you! 

        Events that Generate Enthusiasm

        There are roughly 13,000 trade shows in the U.S. alone every year, so it’s worth thinking about what will set your event apart and make it special. Instead of meeting in the same place every year, consider mixing up your event location and choosing different places that travelers will be more excited to visit.  

        According to research from J.D. Power, 47% of business travelers say developing relationships with customers, suppliers, and other people in the business world is the most critical aspect of a business trip. Are the networking events you put on fostering this type of interaction? Are you giving attendees the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with those in their industry? Or are your events so packed with speakers and seminars that there is no time left for the actual networking? 

        Enthusiasm for your event can also be driven by incentives. The sales benefits are enough for some, but attendance at your event can be even higher if people see extra perks to going. Maybe that looks like a raffle with exclusive giveaways or opportunities that attendees are automatically entered into. Maybe it’s a free round of golf at a premium course during the event weekend. Think about the typical person who would travel to your event and what would make them classify your event as a “can’t miss” every year. 

        Brand Exposure Across the Country

        If your customer base or network goes beyond your local community (which it probably does if you’re at a major event), consider the number of markets represented by those in attendance. One single trade show could include attendees from New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Montreal, and beyond. Items you give these attendees will travel thousands of miles with them, creating brand impressions across a continent and spanning multiple time zones. 

        Your logo and brand awareness spreads exponentially when all those attendees return to their homes with luggage tags, duffels, and other travel necessities they received at your event. The more useful a promotional product is, the longer people will keep it. The next time those attendees travel for a conference, networking event, or even for vacation, they’ll keep the items you gave them in circulation and the reach will be even greater. Think of your event as a central hub where your brand is collected, then dispersed all over the world at no extra cost to you afterward!

        The Takeaway 

        After a brief dive during COVID-19, business travel for trade shows, conferences, and networking events is booming once again. Every attendee presents an opportunity and you’ll want to be tactical about how you take advantage of their traveling. Turn the spontaneity of their trip into sales for you and make sure the trip is worthwhile, that it will generate enthusiasm and make them want to return. Ensure that when they leave the event, attendees are taking impressions of your brand back home with them. Maximizing the benefits of business travel can be a win for attendees, the show host, participating businesses, and everyone else involved in the process! 

        Originally published on proformablog.com.

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