Bridal shows are the best way to meet prospective couples face-to-face. As one of the most popular ways wedding businesses market their business, bridal shows are designed to bring potential customers directly to you.
Through an extensive process of mass marketing and significant financial investment in experience making, the best bridal shows stand out because of two things; they have invested enough in marketing to bring in a large audience and they have created a trade show that has an environment that excites and engages both attendees and exhibitors.
From time to time, new shows enter the market and businesses have the opportunity to evaluate additional opportunities. We often get calls from exhibitors to find out what we know about these shows. Since we network with the best bridal shows across the country we hear about the many fraudulent activities that wedding businesses encounter in markets across the US.
Unfortunately, there are a range of scams that target wedding businesses. ScamDectector.com had an article regarding one scam and CBS News reported on a similar scam that was prevalent a few years ago. These scams were perpetrated by producers promoting a new show in a market and selling exhibit space to unsuspecting businesses. Once the fees were paid the promoter failed to produce the shows, leaving exhibitors not only out of the investment they made in the exit space, but also the money they spent to prepare for the show.
Another recent scam that trade show exhibitors have experienced is being contacted by companies that claim to be selling attendee lists from trade shows. We know that our exhibitors have been targeted by companies that offer to sell the list from one of The Wedding Guys shows. These are not legitimate companies and they DO NOT have our lists for sale. You can find out more about this type of scam HERE.
While not all new shows constitute a scam, buyers should beware. Before investing in any new show, understand that it is very expensive to produce a quality show and it takes a lot of marketing acumen to be able to reach the less than one percent of the population getting married. For even the best and most established shows across the country, it takes years to develop a following in the market and to learn the ins and outs of the ever-changing industry. It also takes continued adaptation as the needs and wants of our audience continually changes. It used to be sufficient to produce a basic trade show, but now the successful shows need to create an experience.
New shows generally promise more of everything; more advertising, more attendees but unfortunately don’t deliver because of the inherent challenges in producing a successful show, idiosyracies of each market and the customer service required to assist such a broad range of exhibitors. When a new show enters the market we suggest waiting to see the first show in person before making an investment sight-unseen. If the show is a success, consider joining the second show. If the show is a bust you aren’t out anything.
Here are a few great tips to evaluate a new show and to spot a scam:
1. CHECK WITH THE VENUE
See if the show is actually on the venue’s schedule or published calendar which will indicate that the producers has a signed contract with the venue. If it’s not, chances are it’s not going to happen.
2. GOOGLE THEM
• Can you find the show when you search? Check reviews from both attendees, exhibitors and employees.
Great sites to check out:
• Check to see if the show listed on other websites or event calendars.
• Check out third-party social media from previous shows. Photos from attendees will show you the real experience from the show.
3. ASK AROUND
Call a few of the exhibitors that are listed on the show’s website and get feedback. If they don’t publish a list of exhibitors, consider this a red flag.
4. TALK TO A LIVE PERSON
If the show producer is difficult to reach, take that as a warning. Get answers to all of your questions before you commit.
5. READ THE FINE PRINT
Review the contract carefully. Some shows have automatic renewal clauses that trap you into future shows.
6. BEWARE OF INFLATED ATTENDANCE NUMBERS
Be suspicious of attendance numbers that sound too good to be true. ‘Registered’ does not mean ‘Attended’.
BE SMART: DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU COMMIT
To find a reputable show in your area, visit WeddingShowNearYou.com