Like many of my industry colleagues, I understand that venue and destination knowledge is a key foundation to our company and keeping up to date with the new ‘must see’ places is vital in ensuring we remain current with our proposals and event offering.
I have always said that until you have experienced something, it can be hard to passionately sell it and as such, I have made it my business to promote fam trips and hosted buyer experiences wherever possible within the team this year. I am always very gracious and thankful that these brilliant opportunities exist and we look forward to them greatly. My mum never quite understands why members of our team are often away and no matter how much I explain, she always sees them as a free holiday somewhere glam. But holidays they are not! In fact, they can be really hard work, but their benefit is incredible.
There are many industry trade shows and fam trips that occur throughout the year and we have been lucky enough to receive a number of invites, giving us the opportunity to experiencing hotels and destinations just as our delegates would. We are always surprised by the generosity offered and graciously embrace the often-tough sales environments experienced especially at trade shows.
I have until recently been frustrated by the associated costs in attending such trips. It pains me to be signing expenses for expensive hotel WIFI and airport car parking and have always questioned why we as hosted buyers or invited clients should be expected to pay? But, recently my light bulb came on and rationalized that for the cost of WIFI or car parking, we as a company are gaining levels of knowledge, which are almost priceless. I think many of us forget the costs and effort involved in creating these trips and are quick to complain about what expenses we do have to pay. Knowledge development does have a cost and it simply depends upon the level of investment the company is prepared to make.
It does pain me when I experience stories where industry colleagues stay up until 4am drinking and then can’t make it down for a coach transfer or a morning activity. Or when you hear complaints about having to meet suppliers after being flown for free to a destination!
Of course, like many, I have just come back from Imex. Over the two days, I heard so many people moan and groan about meeting suppliers and this troubled me. In accepting a hosted buyer place, these people know the deal. There is no such thing as a free lunch and if you’re being paid to go somewhere, you are going to have to accept the pressures of being sold to.
I found Imex to be brilliant. Why? Because I saw each appointment as an opportunity to network and sell my services whilst identifying ways in how we as suppliers could work together. I networked and chatted to anyone that was interested and the results were amazing. I met incredible people and have comeback to Clearwater Towers full of ideas and new contacts. Yes, the appointments are tough, but it’s the way you approach it. I did find the 350 emails in my inbox a little hard going, but we fixed that with a few spam filters!
So, please, lets stop the moans and groans and embrace these incredible opportunities as fantastic ways to learn, develop and network. OK, we might have to pay for a few things along the way and we may have some tough schedules in meeting suppliers. But, isn’t this a small price tag when you consider the real value they have to your business?