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Ask the experts Exhibition travel T here are too many trade shows and they are all expensive. Why should I travel to them? You probably should not attempt to travel to every show on the calendar, even if it was possible. It would take all your time and blow the budget out of the water. by Jay Hollisey, EF Travel ...If you are a showaholic or indeed responsible for your company’s trade show presence around the world then logistics probably take up a lot of your time. There are experts out there, we use them to get copies of tv-bay to far flung shows, and here, at the start of the show season, we talk to Jay Hollisey from EF Travel answering your questions with expert advice. But that does not mean you should turn your back on shows altogether. They are still the primary way to connect with buyers and influencers in the industry. The old cliché is that people buy from people, and it is true: prospects are more likely to choose your products if they have met you and heard how you describe your products and services. The global market is shifting, and valuable new markets are opening up in Latin America, south-east Asia, the former Soviet republics and more. Buyers there are finding their way around the industry so are naturally wary, and will look to those vendors who show commitment to the market by being there. Even if you are not looking to move into new markets, you cannot ignore the two global events, NAB and IBC. It may seem silly to fly 5000 miles just to meet a customer from around the corner, but these are global showcases and you have to be seen there. The single most important thing about exhibitions is that customers go to trade shows with the sole intention of finding out what new solutions exist for their current problems. They want to know what you have to offer, and how you can meet their challenges. They positively want to talk about budgets and timescales. Why would you not want to be there? Booking travel is easy online. Why would I use an agency? The internet has transformed travel, and we all use it nowadays to book flights and hotels. If you are making a business 34 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE trip on your own, or planning a family holiday, then it may well be a good idea. But trade shows are not like that. You want to get the best possible rates at the right hotels. Everyone needs to travel in and out on different days, and the chances are at least one person will want to change travel plans before the event, usually because a sales or support opportunity comes up. What looks like a good deal online suddenly looks locked in or expensive to change, just when you need flexibility. A specialist agency, because of their links to the hotels and airlines, will be able to give you back your flexibility, doing deals behind the scenes to meet your plans precisely. If we have booked tens or even hundreds of rooms in a hotel, we can often accommodate your changes by moving our allocation around. There is one final point which will make life easier for your accountant or CFO. We accept your instructions, carry out your requests and send you one itemised invoice at the end of the month. No more trying to reconcile a pile of individual credit card claims to apportion costs to the event. There are plenty of business travel agencies out there. Why should I use a specialist broadcast industry travel agent? Because we are a part of the broadcast and media industry, we know what is important. We know which events are the big ones (so we plan in advance), we know when you will want to move in and out, and we know the best places to stay. Being part of the industry also means we develop strong relationships with the show organisers as well as our travel partners around each event. That gives us the extra leverage we sometimes need to be able to deliver the right hotels at the right rates. >>