As well as getting engaged this summer during our anniversary trip to Corfu, David and I decided to start a website dedicated to all things Corfu. We want to share our love of the island, alongside learning and developing our Greek heritage with our children and wider network. However, starting a travel blog towards the end of the season from a completely different country isn’t exactly easy or sane! I started googling Travel Industry Leaders and Events in order to hopefully get ourselves in front of the right people we need to connect with, Tourism within Greece and Corfu. When I discovered World Travel Market is holding a 3-day conference and exhibition and we had childcare, I didn’t hesitate to book.
But Just How Do You Get The Most Out Of Networking Events?
Planning is key. Exhibitions are no place to turn up without some kind of plan, goals and agenda.
How Are You Actually Getting To The Networking Event?
The basics are always the things you overlook.
How will your get to the venue?
AND where exactly is it?
Years ago I put the wrong postcode in the SATNAV and we ended up touring London and had to phone a friend to get the right postcode. It makes for a stressful day out!
Booking your train ticket, parking or hotel shouldn’t be left until the last minute, not only is it more expensive it reduces stress levels when you have all these things already in hand. No one wants to get to a venue feeling discombobulated as these exhibitions can be very long days.
Who Do You Want To Connect With At The Networking Event?
World Travel Market encourages you to set up a profile, search through all the exhibitors and organise meetings. Because let’s face it turning up to an event with 1,000s of exhibitors with no plan is overwhelming and wandering about isn’t productive and is exhausting. We have made a list of the main people we want to connect with – Corfu Tourism Board, Greece Tourism Board, hotel chains within Corfu etc …. spending time at the Spanish Tourism Board whilst it’s lovely isn’t going to help with our end goal.
Most large exhibitions and small business conferences will have a website that enables you to print off maps/plans of the venue. A full exhibitor list so you can form a plan of who you want to connect with.
What Are Your Networking Goals?
It’s important to make a list beforehand of your goals and targets for the day. Our main goal at the moment is brand awareness. We have a logo and website slowly coming together, but for the networking event, we have Travel Corfu branded t-shirts and business cards ready to hand out. We have finalised our perfect pitch about who we are and what we do and we feel comfortable talking about our blog plans with others.
As well as our list of people we want to connect with you we also have a list of ideas of how we can work together, what we are looking for from them and what we can offer in return. Don’t go in blind. These events are so massive you will end up overwhelmed and miss out on connecting with the people you want to.
How Will You Follow Up?:
Following up is important. But this can be done in lots of ways over a period of time. I love social media for connecting, building relationships and actively engaging in what people are doing. I always follow on Twitter as soon as I can, RT and engage with relevant content, I also check out Facebook Pages, websites and blogs. I like to share content from blogs too as I know how much hard work is put into blogging.
Then make the time a week or so later to reconnect with key people you want to work with either via email or phone. Remind them who you are, what you do, what you discussed (as they will have spoken to lots and lots of people over 3 days) and how you’d like to move forward with the relationship.
If you have any more tips on getting the most out of networking events leave a comment below.
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