Monday 3rd March 2014
Top tips for exhibiting at the China Golf Show
If you’re heading to Beijing for the 2014 China Golf Show and you’re a first-time exhibitor, these tips will help make the most of one of the golf industry’s biggest annual events.
We’ve all heard the usual tips for exhibiting at a trade show: promote your booth beforehand, prepare all your presentation materials, print enough business cards, arrive early on the first day, follow up leads after the show, swot up on cultural differences and local etiquette, et cetera.
What we’re offering here are very specific tips for one of golf’s most impressive industry exhibitions. This will be our fourth year at the show, and we’ve learnt some valuable lessons that we’d like to share with you.
Before you get to Beijing:
Translate all your material into Mandarin
If you don’t translate everything, in particular your business card, you won’t be able to communicate anything to the vast majority of attendees. Make sure you get everything translated into Mandarin, rather than Cantonese, as Mandarin is more commonly used, and be sure to have the translated text proofread or you run the risk of your ‘fairways’ being confused with ‘fairgrounds’, as happened to one company. Contact us if you need a recommendation for a reliable translator.
Employ a great interpreter and take time to brief them
Invest time in selecting your interpreter. We look at lots of CVs, speak to the most promising candidates and then select who we think will be the best fit – they also need to dress in a style that fits your brand.
We always meet up with our interpreter a couple of days before the show to discuss our work in more detail, clarifying any terminology they might need to know and running through the type of questions that might get asked and what the answers should be.
Invest in your exhibition booth
Over the years the booths at the China Golf Show have been getting bigger and better. It seems each year the companies try to outdo each other. Think carefully about your booth design, it’s what will get you noticed and it reflects on your brand.
For the first couple of years we brought our own display over from Europe, but last year we employed the official contractor (PBR) to build the booth that we designed. Overall it wasn’t that much more expensive, but the difference in quality was significant.
Organise all your rentals before the show
Try to rent all the TVs and furniture you need ahead of the show, because they will be much cheaper. You will get approached by lots of people trying to rent you these on set-up day, or the morning of the first day, but they will be more expensive.
Also, try and avoid renting the much offered plastic plant. It’s unlikely to do your booth any favours, especially if you’ve carefully designed it.
Arrive a day early
Be sure to attend the set-up day to check on your booth’s construction. We have had a great experience working with the official contractor, but there are always little problems that need solving and it’s better to sort these out the day before so you aren’t rushing around on the opening morning. (We seem to have problems getting the TVs to play our animations every year.)
Even if everything is running smoothly and your booth is ready for the first day, the spectacle of set-up day is worth seeing, with hundreds of people constructing all manner of elaborate booth designs.
Talk to other exhibitors
Don’t just talk to the attendees, also introduce yourself to other exhibitors. There is nothing better than talking face to face. In our part of the exhibition (golf design and construction) most people are from North America or Europe, so everyone has travelled a long way to exhibit.
We’ve found everyone in the industry to be very welcoming and happy to spend a couple of minutes having a chat. You never know when they might be able to recommend you, or vice versa. We’ve since worked with a number of other exhibitors who we met at the show.
Be extra careful with your laptops and valuables
Whilst they have tightened up security in the past couple of years, things do go missing and if they do there is very little chance you will see them again. Always keep an eye on your belongings or have a cupboard with a lock designed into your booth.
A final tip on technology
If you want to play a video or animation on a TV you need to have a way to play them. In previous years we’ve tried the DVD players (quality problems) and plugging in flash drives (didn’t play). We even brought five laptops with us from Europe (very heavy to carry).
Last year we discovered a great way to play our animations on the TVs using iPhones. We used a simple connector (iPhone to HDMI) that enabled us to connect our iPhone to the TV. The quality was excellent, we needed very little space to house the iPhones and they were easy to carry over to Beijing. The only problem, if you need 5 TVs like us, is finding 5 iPhones you can use.
Hopefully these tips will be useful, and we look forward to meeting you in March.