WMAHU EXPO. Guide to Organizing an Expo. The goal of an expo. To foster the growth of members – offering information on industry trends, products and services, legislation, continuing education, and commrodere with colleagues. To recruit new members to WMAHU
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WMAHU EXPO Guide to Organizing an Expo
The goal of an expo • To foster the growth of members – offering information on industry trends, products and services, legislation, continuing education, and commrodere with colleagues. • To recruit new members to WMAHU • To raise money for the WMAHU chapter
How to get started • Secure the date. Traditionally the expo has been held the first Wednesday in March. This date has been used to coincide with the first-Wednesday-of the-month membership meetings.
Establish your budget • Important. Establish a budget and game plan and try to stick to it. Unforeseen costs add up quickly!
Theme • Choose a theme for the expo. This allows for creative fun for marketing, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees.
Theme • A theme is a good way to tie in the marketing campaign into the actual expo. Exhibitors will often tie in their give-aways and booth to reflect the theme of the conference. • Possible themes- Texas hold’em, March madness basketball, Hawaiian, Mardi Gras, etc. Creativity is a benefit.
Location, Location, Location • This is a very important factor. Information that needs to be considered. The size of the venue. WMAHU needs a location that will hold at least 550 people and 60-70 exhibitors. In addition 2 classrooms are needed that will accommodate 50-70 individuals.
Location continued • Historically we have held the expo at Crowne Plaza in Grand Rapids, of which the expo out grew the ballroom. DeVos Place has been the location of choice due to the size. • DeVos considerations. Expensive parking. Expensive catering (Amway Grand). Expensive location.
Location continued • Suggested new locations • JW Marriott – expensive food and location • Delta Center – aesthetically not appealing • Fred Meijer Gardens – Size and time of day restrictions (evening is the only time for our size Expo) • The Learning Center – Size restriction 100 people
Committee Members • Your committee is the most important aspect of being able to successfully put together an expo. They’re the backbone to a successful event. • Remember a car doesn’t run by a steering wheel alone. It needs an engine, wheels, body, everything. You are the steering wheel, your committee is what comes together to make the car actually go forward.
Committee Segments Chairman Catering Co-Chairman Marketing Programs Treasurer Facility Exhibitors & Sponsors Silent Auction Support as needed, per Marketing chair 1 person 1 additional to chair 2 additional to chair 2 additional to chair 8 additional to chair 2 additional to chair
Marketing Marketing Create the “Save the date” flyer Modify WMAHU website expo info and registration Create conference prospectus For sponsors exhibitor attendees Monitor online registration for attendees exhibitor sponsors to ensure process is flowing Expo signage and conference program Ensure that artwork is received from the sponsors Email expo information to possible attendees sponsors exhibitors
Marketing – WMAHU website • The Marketing segment covers a vast array of areas. • WMAHU Website- the website should reflect the theme of the expo. It should also contain all of the pertinent information. The date, how to register as an attendee, a sponsor and/or exhibitor. The applicable fees, deadlines (very important), applications, CE classes, etc. It should be very user friendly. The link should be on the home page of the WMAHU website. • Exhibitor kits should be available on line for all sponsors and exhibitors to download!
Marketing –”Save the Date” flyer • An important aspect of an expo are the exhibitors and sponsors. This is were the large percentage of revenue is coming from. That being said… the potential exhibitors and sponsors need to be notified to “save the date” and make sure that WMAHU expo is appropriated in their budgets. Fall is when most budgets are being set. • Create a postcard to be emailed and sent to the previous exhibitors and sponsors. This should be sent out the third week of September. This should include the theme, dates, times, fee’s, how to get signed up, web-links, etc.
Marketing – Expo Applications • The expo applications are important to the entire process • The expo applications needed • Registration • Sponsorship • Exhibitor
Marketing – Expo applications con’t • Registration – Generally we encourage attendees to register on WMAHU website. This is a great automated method. Make sure that all required data is captured on website. If not, tweaking of fields may be required. • *note WMAHU 2009 needs to modify fields.
Marketing – Expo Applications con’t • Sponsorship – this application/brochure should list all of the levels available. It should include the features and benefits. It should list also any art requirements and deadlines (very important). • The application portion should capture name, company name, contact, attendees, etc. Method of payment is also important. Where and how to their send payment is also important.
Marketing – Expo applications con’t • Exhibitors – This should be available in two methods, via the WMAHU website and also paper-based (emailable/pdf format would be helpful). • When the call campaign is happening it would be helpful to have something to email to the contact person at that time.
Marketing deadlines • It’s imperative to set marketing deadlines up front. This is vital, the marketing division needs to establish when and what information is needed by what date. • These give the marketing division the adequate time needed to perform their functions, such as putting together an expo brochure, expo signage, attendee lists, etc.
Catering Catering Pre- Conference Breakfast Coffee bar and breaks Lunch Cocktail reception and entertain. Choose menus and work within budget
Catering • Catering may not seem like a huge deal, but it is, it is tied to much of the sponsorship. • Catering is many different functions • Breakfast • Breaks – water bottle branding, coffee stations, break foods – cookies, etc. • Lunch – this is a big deal! • Cocktail reception – another big deal! • Pre-conference hospitality reception
Catering • Traditionally the venue will dictate what catering options are available. The DeVos Place has a written agreement with Amway Grand to handle all catering. Most other venues will have similar requirements.
Catering • Work hard to stay within the budget. These items will add up fast. Get a quote upfront and hold the caterer to it. • Determine plated meal or buffet. If a buffet, how will the caterer determine plate count?
Facilities Facilities Choose Venue For Exp Work With Decorator Work With Technology Secure speakers Design layout of Expo floor and assist with assigning booths Coordinate with catering chairperson Ensure exhibitors And sponsors are happy
Facility – finding a venue • The facility is important to set an overall feel for the conference. • A convention center • Ballroom of a hotel • Sports arena • Restaurant • Local company with conference center • Gardens
Facility – considerations • Making the choice on what facility to use • Aesthetics – how is does it look? Is it clean? Is it in a safe area of the city? • Parking- Paid or complimentary? Size? • Reputation – good reputation will help attendance. • Catering? • Classrooms? How many people can they accommodate? Chairs, tables, etc? • Lunch- where can lunch be held – in relationship to exhibitors? • Support? Signage? • Alcohol for cocktail reception? • Exhibitors space?
Facility - Contracting • Check the date – sign a contract. Do they need a deposit? • Decorator – Is there a decorator for booths on site? If so, a separate contract is probably needed. • Signage – electric signs, microphones, computers, etc. Typically you will need to contract also with that party. The venue should be able to provide all of names of these companies. Remember, the venue typically does this as part of their overall business model. • The venue is usually very good at assisting with this information. They want you to have a good experience, repeat business is good business!
Facility - Decorator • Areas that the decorator handles. • Establish show colors (many options available) • Set up boots • Set up show floor layout • Handle electricity needs • Set up registration table • Stage for lunch speakers
CE Programs Program Chair Decide on topics for the classes CE Lunch Keynote Obtain speakers. File for CE credits with the state. Ensure that all audio visual needs are handled Work with Marketing Chairman to ensure that the correct class and speaking descriptions are on the website Prospectuses, and Conference directory.
Programs – CE Credits • This is very important. Secure speakers in enough time for CE Credits to be filed with the state. CE Credits help draw attendees to the conference. • Make sure that you choose relevant, knowledgeable speakers that understand their audience. References are always a great idea!
Programs – Other speakers • Good speakers can help the momentum of the conference. A bad speaker can also effect a conference…the other direction. • Lunch speakers and Keynote speakers can also be a big boost to a conference, again if they are relevant to the audience. • Always check the cost, keynote speakers can be expensive and chip at the bottom line. They can also be a main attraction.
Treasurer Treasurer Receive sponsor and exhibitors contracts and checks Collecting money and paying invoices Entering and tracking sponsors and exhibitors in database Create and send invoice to sponsor or exhibitor as requested Communicate updates to facility and exhibitor chairperson The day of expo have all the information updated for registration
Treasurer • This is a super important role. This is a person(s) that handles all of the receivables and payables. • In addition to handling the money, they also receive contracts for sponsorship and exhibitors. They also have a hand in keeping track of attendees.
Treasurer continued • This needs to be more than one person, as it is a large volume of information and responsibility. • Ideally one person would receive and record the monies. • Another person would keep track of the database of entering the contracts into the system, and tracking outstanding bills.
Sponsors and Exhibitors Call campaign • Last year’s sponsors • Previous year exhibitors • 8 callers/recruiters needed Exhibitor and Sponsors Booth assignments working with facility chairman Work with Treasurer regarding agreements received and required Sponsorship assignment
Exhibitors and Sponsors • This is how you will make the revenue for the chapter and help to cover your expenses from the event. • The more sponsors and exhibitors, traditionally the more revenue that you will raise.
Exhibitors and Sponsors • These are two separate classifications. • A Sponsor is a company, that is willing to pay above and beyond a booth space. • They are paying to have a great presence at the conference. Listed in pre-conference material, signage, bulletins, website, etc.
Sponsorships • Sponsorships take on many different forms: Directory sponsors, lunch sponsor, WMAHU spirit, sponsors, cocktail reception, CE classes, bag sponsors, parking sponsors, guest speaker sponsors, water sponsors, silent auction, travel voucher sponsors, technology, registration, coffee bar, breakfast sponsor, cookie breaks, etc.
Sponsorships - cost • Traditionally sponsorships are categorized similar to the following: • Platinum • Gold • Silver Each level represents a dollar amount and amenities associated with that level.
Sponsorships - Marketing • Sponsorships can be highly political and a very delicate situation to arrive at what company gets a particular sponsorship. • Traditionally WMAHU has given the previous year’s sponsor a “first-right-of-refusal”, which means, if they want it again this year, they can have it, if not, other companies will have the opportunity to choose that sponsorship.
Sponsorship Marketing • The levels of sponsorship should be listed in a prospectus or brochure. It should be on the website and it should be emailed out to all previous sponsors and exhibitors. • Your previous exhibitors are good prospects for sponsorship. They like the idea of getting their name out to all of the attendees on a higher level.
Sponsors – What do they receive? • The level of sponsorship will dictate the amount of exposure a sponsor receives. Below are the basics. • Premier booth location • Listing in all pre-conference marketing • 6 complimentary booth personnel • “Info-mercials” or speaking opportunities • Show-site marketing • Signage
Exhibitors • These are the “bread and butter” of your expo. WMAHU typically has between 50-70 exhibitors.
Exhibitors – what is included? • 10x10 booth spaces – they can buy multiple spaces. • 6’ table with pipe and drape (curtains) • 2 chairs and a wastebasket. • Company name and contact person/info listed in the conference directory • Conference and lunch passes for four booth personnel • Electricity – this is subject to change depending upon venue. This can be an expensive item for WMAHU to cover. • IMPORTANT! This information must be communicated in writing to the exhibitors.
Exhibitors – what do they need to purchase for the conference? • Extra booth furniture if needed • Electricity, depending upon what has been negotiated with the venue • Internet • Floral, plants, etc. if they need it • A “give-away” prize for the attendee drawing • Trinkets for the booth, to give to attendees as the stop by and speak with them • IMPORTANT! This must be communicated to exhibitors and sponsors. Most of this will be in Exhibitors Kit.
Sponsors and Exhibitors • IMPORTANT – The Exhibitor kit provided by the decorator must be accessible to all sponsors and exhibitors. This kit tells them how to order any thing they need ahead of the conference. Otherwise on the show site these items will be VERY costly.
Silent Auction Silent Auction Call on companies for donations Collect the auction items and display the day of expo Run the Silent Auction the day of the expo Keep track of the bids and collect the monies from the bidders
Silent Auction • This is a great opportunity for WMAHU to give back to the community. • The Silent Auction is comprised of donated items from different companies. Generally the value is over $50 dollars. 100% of the funds that are raised from the auction are donated to a predetermined local or regional charity. • The more items that are donated the more dollars that WMAHU can donate to charity.
Timeframes • Contract with venue immediately to secure location. • 9- months out start recruiting committee members, decide on theme. Start working with Marketing Chairman to establish timeframes and deadlines. • 7- months out start developing marketing sheets – flyers, prospectus and contracts
Timeframes con’t • 5-months out – start campaigning for sponsors and exhibitors – important! This will give companies time to put the expo in their budget.