Are Bridal Shows a Good Investment For you? How To Choose the One That’s Right For You?
With the peak of engagement season before us there’s no shortage of bridal shows. They’re everywhere; banquet facilities, barns, malls, and hotels etc. But how do you which are right for you?
Seek Out Local Shows
If you’ve never participated in a bridal show, I suggest that you attend a few first, particularly in the area that you’d like to do business in. If you’re in the Cleveland market it doesn’t make sense to go to a bridal show in Columbus unless you’re trying to branch into that city. I suggest seeking out the promoter of the show and letting him/her know that you are there. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the show and you will know immediately if the show is professionally organized and an event that you’d consider in the future.
What Makes a Successful Event
Ask the show promoter/producer how many years the event has been going on? Is it a first-time event or is it a well-established event? A successful event will have the right balance of vendors in an assortment of categories. Ask what the general retention rate of vendors has been from year to year. A high vendor retention rate is great, but it may make is more difficult for you to participate in the show. Find out if they produce other bridal events or ask them how to be considered for the following year’s event. What is the average BRIDE attendance (not the average attendance)? (There is a vast difference!)
Advertising is Important!
How is the show advertised? When does the advertising begin? An effective media campaign will use a variety of platforms. If you do decide to participate in a bridal show make sure that you do your part in advertising the show, invite brides to come to see you at the show, including the ones that you’ve already booked, they might need other services. If there is a cost for the event find out if the promoter can give you a few free tickets to give to brides that have not committed to you yet, or as a small thank you for the ones that already have. Offer to pay for them and a guest to attend. That small $10 or so investment can pay off big. Encourage her to bring another bride to be with her. Most brides know on average at least 3 other brides.
I recommend at least two people at every booth, even if you have to bribe a friend to help you. You’ll need to take a bathroom break or get a bite to eat at the very least. It’s also helpful to have someone else with you if you’re talking to one bride and making that great connection. Then there is another person there to at least qualify the other brides for you and or pass out your information. Choose carefully who will work the booth with you!
Are prizes given away during the show? Is it required for you to donate a prize and is there a minimum dollar amount? This could be an additional hidden expense to your entry fee. If not properly done you may end up with fake brides or people just trying to win prizes.
Have clear realistic goals about the show. How many weddings will you need to book to regain the cost of the show? Typically, it’s only 1-2. Network with other vendors; a great objective would be to exchange business cards or information with 3-5 new vendors.
Does your entry fee include the lead list or is that an additional cost? What information does the promoter collect, and is that information collected from all attendees or just the bride/groom? Plan ahead and have an email ready to go before the show even ends to follow up with brides; especially the ones that you made a connection with. Send them a simple thank you for stopping by your booth at the show. Did they mention or ask about anything particular in your conversation? If you can work that into the email and make that personal connection your ahead of the competition.
Booking & Targeting Your Brides
If you decide to do a bridal show and don’t receive any immediate bookings that does not indicate the show was a bad show or a waste of money. You were still able create brand awareness to a group of targeted brides. Try to take a step back and figure out why you don’t think you did well. If there was a decent amount of brides in attendance, was there too much competition or is it possible the brides budget and your prices didn’t match up? Do you only have a few select dates available in the upcoming year and you had to turn brides away due to your availability? Think about when do brides typically book your services? If the lead list contains the brides wedding date (and it should) target brides on that list at the appropriate time to book your services, maybe offer a special discount that’s only available for a short period of time. That lead list can be valuable for many months after the bridal show if you put forth the effort and continue to follow up and through with the brides.
Ask Us About Our Shows!
PMA Shows has been producing bridal shows for more than 15 years and on average has a 75% or greater retention rate of vendors on average. Please visit our website for a full schedule of upcoming events. Our proven, successful events sell quickly, so don’t delay in reserving your space. A small deposit will hold your spot with remaining balance due one week prior to the show.
I hope this blog answered some questions, for you and offered some food for thought on moving forward with any bridal show you are considering!
Best of Luck!