Why exhibitors should feel confident returning to the Language Show in 2018.
As I wrote last week, I am the new owner of the Language Show, having acquired it after last October’s event. I previously owned and ran the show between 2004 – 2007, during which visitor numbers increased five-fold. Now that I’m back, my first objective is to make the show work better for exhibitors.
The Language Show is the 35th show, expo, fair or exhibition that I have launched (or re-launched) in 25 years as an exhibition organiser. What I’ve learnt is that it takes time to get the “model” right before a show works for visitor, exhibitor and organiser alike. I believe we got the model working well for the Language Show by 2007 which explains why another company came along and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
But during the last couple of years that model has changed, and the result is that some exhibitors have not returned. So I’m going to list a few things that I plan to “put right” in 2018 to drive up the number and quality of visitors, encourage more interaction from visitors and and make it work better for exhibitors;
- As already announced, the show moves back to Olympia because that is where it has achieved the highest visitor attendance in the past and should, therefore, in the future.
- As also announced, the new hall we have hired allows everything – exhibitors, talks, classes, performances etc – to occupy the same floor. No longer can visitors drift off to seminars upstairs, never to return.
- A controversial decision last year was to charge admission to seminars. When they have been free for the past 14 years, I can only think this would have dissuaded many from attending because linguists and language teachers do not have limitless budgets. So I am reversing this decision in 2018 – everything will be free.
- I am also reversing the decision to sell seminar slots. Editorial integrity, and compelling content, cannot be maintained when an organisation is paying to promote its own agenda so this won’t continue. (Whilst saying that, some of our best content comes from exhibitors and I am very keen to encourage nominations via our website here – http://languageshowlive.co.uk/talks/speaker-proposal-form/. In the future however, inclusion will be based solely on merit).
- When it comes to promoting what’s happening at the show, last year’s website was, in my view, hard to navigate and the many attractions of the show were not obvious or easily accessible to the casual visitor. I think we can do better.
- There was an over-reliance on digital marketing in 2017 and whilst, unquestionably, the world has moved on since 2007, direct marketing has not become extinct for good reason. In 2007 we mailed or distributed hundreds of thousands of beautifully designed flyers listing all the reasons one might wish to visit the show and we shall re-instate this for 2018 whilst also running a comprehensive digital campaign.
- Also on marketing, I think last year’s was a bit dreary. As language really does allow you to ”explore the world”, we will use imagery from the world to make all our promotion more attractive.
- Exhibition organisers cut budgets because they have expensive offices, large teams and profit margins to maintain. I have none of these and this year, my only priority is to get the show back on an even keel. So I can and will spend more on visitor marketing.
- Finally, commitment. The Language Show was always a pleasure to run. It has my undivided attention and I aim to make it the best it can be.
So please do feel confident about exhibiting this year and make the most of what will be a busy and exciting show. Stands start at just £738 + vat for a 2m x 1m for all three days and you can see the floorplan and other information about exhibiting here – http://languageshowlive.co.uk/exhibit-at-the-show/#costs.