10 Things to Do to Prepare for the Autumn Fair
Good news, everyone! The Autumn Fair is now less than 8 weeks away, and our team here at Giggle Beaver couldn’t be more excited. We can’t wait to view all the exciting new stands, experience the hustle and bustle of thousands of visitors, and get the chance to see and talk to a host of potential and existing clients. It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
If you’re as excited as we are, and are looking for a few handy preparation tips, we’re on hand to help. Whether you’re an Autumn Fair newbie, or have been visiting the Fair for years, it’s important to get the most out of your day by getting ready in advance. By simply following a few of these quick preparation tips, you can maximise your Fair experience and make your visit a success.
1. Look through the Autumn Fair sector pages.
Your first port of call for finding exhibitors to visit should be the Autumn Fair category pages (https://www.autumnfair.com/visit/show-sectors). Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an Autumn Fair novice, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when first faced with the long exhibitor list full of different stands and products. By looking at the different show sectors first, you can choose to only look at suppliers and wares relevant to your company, and make a list from there of the stands you’d most like to visit.
2. Make a list of who you want to see.
With so much to see and do at the Fair, a whole day can pass by in the blink of an eye, so make a list of who you want to see before you go. We strongly recommend splitting your list into three sections: high-priority (for exhibitors that you really don’t want to miss), medium-priority (for exhibitors that you’d ideally like to see, but it’s not the end of the world if you miss out), and low-priority (exhibitors you’ll have a look at if you get time at the end). Try and make sure you have a maximum of five in each section.
3. Plan your route carefully.
Both the Spring and Autumn Fairs feature hundreds of stands and exhibitions, and for those yet to attend it’s worth mentioning that the NEC is massive! It’s useful to pick out the stands you most want to visit, then make a list of the hall they’re in and arrange them into groups. You don’t want to be dashing back and forth between halls unnecessarily! You’ll also be able to maximise the time spent with stands and exhibitors, rather than wasting valuable time travelling between them all.
4. Book appointments with key suppliers.
After you’ve made a list of the stands you want to visit, it’s a great idea to contact these exhibitors and arrange an appointment. Stands can get busy throughout the day, and it can get frustrating (and time-consuming!) waiting for a supplier to be free. By booking an appointment with your high-priority suppliers, you can guarantee they’ll have time to talk and discuss your business needs. It also means they’ll be expecting you, and can help to establish a good rapport.
5. Keep any booklets or pamphlets that get sent out.
Normally in the weeks leading up to the Autumn Fair, all attendees receive booklets and reading materials get sent out by the organisers. This is a great way of seeing any last-minute exhibitors that have been added to the list, as well as other information on talks, special guests, and events. We find taking this booklet to the Autumn Fair alongside your own list very useful, if not just for the map included in it!
6. Register for the Little Black Book (and scribble notes all over it!)
We strongly recommend opting to receive a physical copy on the Little Black Book when registering for the fair (https://lp.events.ascential.com/autumn-fair-registration.html), as it’s perfect for jotting down notes, folding down corners and adding post-it reminders in the lead up to the Fair. It’s a handy directory of all exhibitors you can carry around with ease on the day, along with every exhibitor’s location details.
7. Look through the exhibitors own websites.
Once you’ve compiled the list of stands you want to visit, it’s a good idea to visit the exhibitors’ own websites to see what products they’ve recently launched or if there’s anything exciting that could be beneficial for your company. Ideally, you want to know a bit of detail about each exhibitor and have a few questions ready before you visit each stand, in order to get the most out of each exchange.
8. Sign up to Autumn Fair newsletters.
In the lead up to the Autumn Fair, the organisers send out regular newsletters highlighting new products, exciting exhibitors, and interesting talks. While not all of what they push in their newsletters will be of interest to you, there’s enough variety in there to make it worth subscribing. Additionally, we also recommend signing up to Gift Focus’s newsletter (http://www.giftfocus.com/) for more insights and recommendations.
9. Check out the event timetable.
It’s worth mentioning that both the Spring and Autumn Fairs also hold a great range of retail-focused seminars and talks, so it’s worth having a look through the event timetable a few days before your visit. This year, the keynote speakers include industry experts from EBay, Google Digital, Inside Retail Hub and The Giftware Association.
10. Find out where the new product showcase is, and plan time to watch it.
The new product showcase is a must-see for anyone visiting the Spring or Autumn Fair, so it’s worth scheduling time out of your day to check it out. The Little Black Book should provide you with the hall and stand location this is taking place, along with a specific time. You may see a product that you want to investigate further!