Often when we are going to exhibit on a trade fairvwe are filled with doubts about what to do with the graphic material, do I need to hire soem staff and, in case that I do it, how or where I start to looking for. We interview Lorena Smit from Golden Goose Events in Barcelona that in addition to help us to understand what to look for and how, gives us some tips for the Mobile World congress.
As an exhibitor, give me three reasons to hire a hostess agency for the Mobile World Congress.
In the emerging and competitive market of new technologies, it’s a must to invest in ways to stand out amongst your co-exhibitors. If you’re a small company or startup business, it’s especially interesting to count on additional staff that can help you to draw the attention of the visitors, whether it’s in a promotional way (hostesses who wear branded outfits or give out marketing material indicating your companies stand number) or in a more corporate manner (sales staffing to attend and inform visitors about your brand whilst you’re in a meeting to avoid losing business opportunities)
Using event staff for your booth is an effective and relatively cheap sales strategy. Some of our clients have managed to increase their sales leads up to 200% with regards to previous tradeshow participations, after the booking of one of our “lead generators” (hostess with sales skills). There are companies in the US selling databases with industry contacts. These documents can cost thousands of Euros, are sometimes faulty and even when bought, the ROI can sometimes be a disappointment, since not all contacts have a specific interest in the company. If seen from this perspective, booking someone that can help you to generate more leads is a very interesting & cheap investment.
When a company spends so much money to promote their company during 4 days in an ambience surrounded by prospects, the last thing they want is to spend their valuable time talking to “time wasters” (press, visitors trying to sell their products, non professional visitors or people that are not decision makers in their company). A hostess can keep track of your appointment list, give general support, but also attend these “time wasters” so that you can focus 100% on meetings with real, good quality prospects.
Give me three tips in order to select the right hostess agency.
Define your expectations before starting your search for an event staff supplier. What’s the purpose of your booking? Do you want the staff to assist with translations? Sales? Do you just need a nice image? Once you have defined your requirements, make sure you communicate these to the agencies when asking for a quote & profiles and make sure that the agencies have taken the time to present the profiles with information relevant to your needs. For example, for a sales staff member they should have included the education and work experience in the field of sales. If you receive a generic type of presentation with just a couple of pictures and the staff’s height & sizes, who can guarantee they have taken the time to apply any type of filter when sending over profiles that match your needs?
Make sure to have an excellent communication with the selected agency, right from the start. They should speak your language, respond fast en efficiently to your emails and calls and you should feel they are trying to help you in any way possible. Also make sure someone from the agency will be “on set” during the show, or that you have at least a contact number for emergencies.
Don’t base your decision solely on Price. There are huge price differences between one agency and another due to people with little or no experience entering the market with small agencies that operate on the border of legality. It might seem a deal breaker to pay 50% less if choosing a certain supplier, but don’t forget that a low price usually means that your staff are getting paid minimum salary (which often leads to staff that are not motivated enough) OR that the agency is not complying with the payment of the full hours of social security & insurance, which can lead to uncomfortable situations and expensive fines if you happen to get picked out for a labor inspection at the show.
Tell me what sets you apart as a hostess agency in Barcelona?
We’re the only agency in Barcelona which specializes in English speaking event staff. We focus on the international customer, coming into Barcelona to organize their event or the Spanish company, looking for assistance with translation & sales for Spanish events that are directed to the international visitor (usually corporate events). We offer very good working conditions to our staff; good salaries and quick payments as well as a very personalized staff/ agency relationship. In terms of customer service, we offer an international view on the event market and try to make sure that each booking becomes an investment for our clients, instead of a mere expense. We think together of ways to achieve their goals, whether it’s brand recognition, sales or lead generation. We innovate constantly to keep up with the needs of our clients. A recent example would be the implementation of a video screening/ casting system, for customers oversees.
What qualities are you looking for in a hostess? What specific knowledges needs for the Mobile?
The qualities of a good hostess will depend largely on the type of staff member requested by the client. For example, a lead generator booked to generate sales contacts will probably not own the same skill set as a promotional model who is fitting clothes for a store opening. This is why it’s so important for any agency to know each staff member personally and determine their stronger and weaker qualities. But if we set aside the tasks to be performed I would say the most important qualities in any event staff member would be their pro-activeness (ability to remain active, smiling and energetic during the whole event, as well as solve possible issues independently and efficiently), good manners (ability to behave appropriately in any situation and with any type of public), professionalism (being on time, dressing in a neat way and respecting the client and agency’s rules and regulations) and last but not least the predisposition to learn (people that have a strong desire to perform well and learn about the company or product they are representing).
What are the advantages of working for a show of this size?
At an Exhibition such as the Mobile World Congress, dedicated to international businesspeople, our staff members have the opportunity to shine, since the requirements of most exhibitors match up perfectly with the type of services that we offer. During 4 days we have all sorts of staff working, from a team of leafletters to a presenter, giving product demonstrations over a speakers system. All the customers that we visit over the course of the event, tell us how satisfied and happy they are with their staff, which gives us the strength and energy to handle the pre- show processes we have to go through each year and which can be stressful at times. It’s all worth it when they give us their positive feedback. The MWC expo is always a very good opportunity for us to obtain photographic material of all our different services and to watch our complete team “in action” at the same time, which doesn’t happen very often.
And the hardest part?
When you have 90% of your complete team working at an event, the 6-8 weeks previous to the show become quite challenging. It requires a lot of planning and organization, lots of working hours and concentration, which can sometimes become a bit stressful. The Mobile World Congress is also an event where lots of non-professional agencies see an opportunity to gain some quick money, offering very low rates to client which we can’t compete with. It’s sad to see some of the bigger companies choose an agency with little experience or illegal contracting practices, in order to get the price down.
Which are the 5 most relevant trade fairs in your city?
1. Mobile World Congress
2. Alimentaria- Salón Nautico
3. VM World
5. Barcelona Affiliate Conference