*As seen in The Logbook. Issue 4.
The Glamping Show (TGS) was created by Swan Events to fill the gap in the trade exhibition world. Before it launched there was no focused and affordable B2B show for the glamping industry. Research conducted by Swan Events had established that brands wanted and required a suitable business platform and the exhibition provides a much-needed annual exposure for the diversifying industry. We spoke with the show’s Exhibition Manager, Daniel Wiseman regarding the importance of the show and what the plans are for next year.
ORGANISING THE SHOW.
It takes time to organize an event such as The Glamping Show and Dan says there was hardly a gap between the finishing of 2018’s show before planning for next year began.
“Planning for September 2019 is already underway,” he says, “As soon as the show breakdown is completed the focus instantly turns to the 12-month critical path of planning the next annual event.”
The recently completed 2018 show which ended at the end of September was the 4th edition of The Glamping Show. The exhibition was launched in 2014 and the first show was September 2015. According to Dan by 2017 the show had already doubled in size and further growth was seen this year.
“Within 3 years TGS had become the annual highlight in the industry calendar,” Dan says, “Both exhibitors and visitors alike now sign up to attend knowing this is the trade show for glamping in the UK.”
VISITORS AND EXHIBITORS.
Dan explains that individually he and the Show Team work closely with exhibitors and visitors to ensure they get exactly what they have come to the Show for. He says that for an exhibition to be successful for all involved, the Show team must also work closely with the venue and the official contractors; the invited speakers and trainers who deliver the glamping business focused seminar programme as well as the relevant industry associations like the CLA, the BH&HPA and The Glamping Association.
“These relationships are key to an exhibition’s success,” Dan says, “We must understand the visitor and exhibitor needs and what they are coming to the show for. Only then can we deliver on their expectations and deliver a Show they want to be at. Having a trustworthy relationship with the exhibitors is essential to maintaining the business relationship – without them the B2B connections you’d expect at a trade show can’t happen, and that’s the need this Show is built to fulfil. The whole point of the show, and our reason for being, is to provide a quality service for both exhibitors and visitors.”
He goes on to explain that it is also critical to maintain the relationships with speakers and industry associations. Alongside their exhibitor line up, these speakers attract visitors who are serious about the industry by providing education on how to set up a new glamping business, how to diversify or how to get more from an already established business.
“It can be a lonely journey as a business owner, but the Show exists to connect them with sources of advice, inspiration and solutions to those worries that are keeping them awake at night,” Dan says.
Keeping up to date with the newest developments, challenges in the industry, technologies and ideas is important to the Show Team as the organizers of The Glamping Show. Dan says that he maintains his relationships with all their exhibitors throughout the year and works on building new ones with potential future exhibitors. He also visits other exhibitions to find new ideas and new perspectives to try out.
“It is quite usual to meet a future exhibitor for the first time as a regular attendee to the Show, where they experience the potential for their business for themselves,” he says.
As a Show that started out with an eye on the horizon of a barely recognized industry (glamping was in its infancy in 2014), The Glamping Show has the most complete set of data and insight on how the industry has grown so far. They are constantly looking to the future to what trends are emerging and what’s next for the industry. During 2018, for example, Dan reveals they have seen an increase in more traditional tourism businesses like hotels, B&Bs and holiday parks looking to create their own glamping offering.
INDUSTRY CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS.
A current challenge for the industry from the perspective of glampsite operators is standardization. Glamping can offer many different things, and this can make searching for the right travel experience confusing for the end customer. Right now, including at the 2018 Show where they hosted a seminar on precisely this topic, Dan says they are seeing the industry come together to tackle it.
“Work is already underway to propose recognition and standardization guidelines that categorise glamping sites, allowing operators to figure out where they fit and how to talk to their customers about it.” He says.
SPREADING THE WORD AND SOCIALS.
During the run up to the Show each year Dan explains that they spend somewhere between 10-20 hours per week on creating social media content. This includes engaging with their audiences on social media as it is a direct and fast way to communicate.
“We’re active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” Dan says, “For 2018 we’ve been really building our Instagram presence: glamping is all about glamour and luxury and Instagram allows us to capture that perfectly with stunning photographs and Instagram stories.”
In terms of digital growth strategy, Dan highlights that they believe in working collaboratively with their exhibitors as they’re the ones bringing the products and services that the visitors want to see.
“Our job is to create a digital as well as the face to face platforms for their beautifully made, innovative products to shine out to a receptive audience.” He says.