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Networking: The Power of Hospitality Trade Shows

In most businesses, face-to-face interaction is really important – and even more so in an industry like hospitality where its lifeblood is dealing with people in person.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a hotel, a restaurant, or the latest bar or pub, being able to talk about your business in front of one or more people is a great way to engage their interest.

People in the past used to talk about the number of business deals that were done on golf courses, where the informal setting was the backdrop for unpressurised selling. You could say the same about networking at hotel events and hospitality trade shows – it is the chance to build relationships, friendships, and make mutually beneficial contacts with a view to promoting your business.

Networking within the industry

Networking doesn’t just have to about an implicit way of selling your services. It’s equally useful to get to know your peers who can help with problems you’re facing or challenges that you need to deal with.

Despite the element of competition, there is a great camaraderie among those who work in hospitality, so you should take advantage of that. Joining a professional organisation or group is one way to do this – or even a scheme in your particular town or city. For example, nationally recognised initiatives such as Pubwatch – where licensees can take collective action to ban troublemakers – also gives you the opportunity to make contact with people in the same trade.

At the same time, there are numerous branches of the Hoteliers Association and Institute of Hospitality which regularly hold meetings and events across the country.

These are great ways of building your network.

Hospitality trade shows

There are numerous industry events both across the UK and worldwide. While they’ve been almost non-existent in the past year, as restrictions ease, there’s no reason that they won’t be back in full force.

There’s a mindboggling list of hotel events and hospitality trade shows which take place, from street food expos to Hotel Restaurant and Catering (HRC), which is held annually in London. Google will give you endless lists of these events and so you can find the ones which are closest – and most relevant – to you.

Also, check out upcoming events at venues such as London’s EXCEL, which is also a regular host of large-scale exhibitions.

International trade events can also be extremely lucrative, although you need to be honest with yourself about how many of your customers are going to come from foreign shores.

If you run a hotel in a castle, then you are more than likely to be of interest to travellers from far-flung places such as Japan and the USA, but perhaps not so much if you’re a modest bed and breakfast.

Now, all that’s left to do is get the absolutely critical details printed on an exhibition banner and get out there!

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