Event sponsors can often make or break an event, the majority of commercial events are dependent on them to some extent. With the conference model of events changing, sponsorship is becoming even more important.
It is of critical importance for the longevity of an event to keep your sponsors happy and inevitably retain them. In a previous article we looked at how to retain event sponsors through ensuring they have an exceptional, productive and well managed show. Here we will be looking at the art of rebooking.
It may seem strange to dedicate a whole article to rebooking sponsors, it may seem even more strange to declare it an art. But, in reality as many event professionals will attest, rebooking a sponsor for a show can be a delicate task.
The best way in our humble opinion to get a sponsor to stay with you is to rebook them at the show they are sponsoring. Some of you may find this crass or too pushy, however, business events are dependent on this money and it makes perfect sense to rebook at the show. Why wait until after the show when trying to convince a sponsor to book for the following year, make things easier on yourself and try and strike whilst the iron is hot.
But would they rebook at the show? They are often buzzing on an event high, it easier for them to picture the show the following year, you are face to face with them which makes the sell easier and if the show has gone well they are hopefully envisioning all the leads they’ve met and will likely convert to sales over the coming weeks.
How do you go about convincing a sponsor to rebook on site?
- Prep yourself before the show. Sort the plans for the following year: venue, dates, scope of the event, changes, improvements, branding, name, floorplan, sponsor opportunities etc.
- Prep the sponsor before. This can be a simple email or word on the phone before the show. Let them know you’ve chosen the dates and will be organizing a rebooking plan at the show
- Build your office. Create an area at the show which is yours. Keep all the following year’s event info there, sell yourself not just to current sponsors but also any prospective ones in the room. If you can put up a notice board or floorplan detailing the show.
- Discount your prices. Set a reduced rate for booking on site, make it an enticing discount, 20-30% should do it and stick to these prices. It’s fine offering a 10% discount the following week, but closing after the show can be a lot harder.
- Meet all your sponsors. Personally meet them on day one, say hi be friendly. At this stage don’t discuss the show. If this is the first time you’ve met them you will need to see how friendly they are face to face. Is the show going well? Do they have everything? How can you make their current event better.
- Survey the mood. Discuss with the team who you think is enjoying the event. If it inevitable that you may have some companies who may not like the show or it may simply be the wrong event. Share your notes with your team and see their thoughts.
- The pitch. Go back to the sponsors towards the end of day one, discuss the following year, show them the plans and the brochure. See how receptive they are, don’t go for a pushy sell, just see how they react, ask them whether they would consider coming back, if possible try and book on there and then if they’re keen.
- Ensure you follow up by email at the end of day one. Thank them for coming, check it’s all gone to plan, mention the discount again.
- Last Chance. Ensure you speak with all your sponsors and ask them directly if they would like to book on. Make sure this is done before lunch whilst the room is still busy and before the day 2 lull can often hit. Have booking forms ready and be prepared to negotiate.
Although this list is by no means exhaustive we do hope it provides a practical few pointers for rebookings at the show. Remember, the sign of a great show is roughly 50% on site rebookings