9 Tips For Planning a Successful Hosted Buyer Event

The practice offers a very cost effect way for any industry interested in acquiring qualified leads and closing business. 

Hosted buyer programs or hosted buyer events have long been a strategy employed by suppliers in the meetings and events industry. In fact, later this month, On March 26-27, more than 1,000 meetings and events industry planners and suppliers from all over North America will gather at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver for two days of networking, trade show appointments and education at the 2024 Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado Educational Conference and Trade Show. Approximately 350 of the participants will be meeting and event planners from dozens of states around the country attending as hosted buyers to meet with hoteliers and other meetings suppliers from the Rocky Mountain area. 

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, a hosted buyer event is a program of pre-arranged appointments between qualified buyers and sellers arranged by the event organizer. The practice offers a very cost effect way for planners to network and make connections that are vital to the site selection process. But beyond that it can also be a useful for any industry interested in acquiring qualified leads and closing business. 

Read More: Colorado’s Premier Meetings and Events Trade Show Returns

Here’s how a planner can organize a hosted buyer event for any industry.

1. Define Program Goals and Objectives:
Clearly define the overall purpose of your program. What specific goals do you want to achieve? Is it to increase brand awareness for your event, generate leads for exhibitors, or secure high-quality buyers for your program?
Establish measurable objectives aligned with your goals. For example, aiming to attract a specific number of qualified buyers or achieving a certain percentage of confirmed meetings.

2. Target Audience and Selection Criteria:
Identify your ideal buyer profile: What type of event planners or buyers do you want to attract? Consider factors like their planning needs, budget size, and decision-making authority. Develop clear selection criteria to ensure your chosen buyers meet your program’s objectives. This may involve requirements like minimum annual event budget, specific industry experience, or demonstrated purchasing power.

3. Develop a Compelling Invitation and Application Process:
Craft an engaging invitation that clearly outlines the program’s benefits for potential buyers. Highlight the value proposition, including travel and accommodation incentives, pre-arranged meetings, and networking opportunities.
Design a user-friendly application form that gathers essential information from potential buyers. This may include details about their organization, event planning needs, and preferred meeting topics.

4. Secure Seller Participation and Matchmaking:
Attract relevant exhibitors who align with your target buyer profile and program goals. This may involve offering attractive booth packages, marketing opportunities, and access to qualified leads.

5. Implement a matchmaking system to connect buyers and sellers effectively:
This can involve using dedicated software, leveraging industry expertise, or employing a combination of both approaches. Consider compatibility factors like the buyer’s industry, budget, and geographical preferences when making connections.
There are a number of ways of organizing the actual matchmaking. Here are a few:
Book 1-1 meeting: Attendees can book 1 on 1 meeting.
Pre-booking: Event organizers can pre-book meetings for attendees before the event.
Set number of meetings held: Event organizers can decide on the different ticket types, the max number of meetings per ticket.
Buyer-seller Roundtables: The event organizer can create roundtable meetings for buyers-sellers.
VIP Ticketing: The event organizer can decide which ticket type can connect and meet different ticket types.

6. Logistics and Communication:
Plan and manage logistics like travel arrangements, accommodation, and event registration for invited buyers. Ensure a smooth and seamless experience for participants throughout the program.

7. Partner up with a powerful technology partner:
Part of ensuring value for all attendees is making sure that they find the right times to engage with the people they’d like to network with. By partnering up with a powerful technology that avoids conflicts between meetings, seminars, or workshops you can ensure they utilize their time at your event efficiently; in a way that brings them the biggest return on their investment.
Possessing a powerful algorithm allows you to generate the attendee and host schedules automatically, leaving you extra time to engage in other things.

8. Maintain clear communication with both buyers and sellers throughout the process:
Provide regular updates, address any questions or concerns, and ensure everyone is well-informed about the program schedule and expectations.

9. Program Evaluation and Improvement:
Gather feedback from both buyers and sellers after the program concludes. This feedback can be invaluable in identifying areas for improvement and ensuring the continued success of future programs. Analyze the results based on your defined objectives. Track metrics like the number of confirmed meetings, leads generated, and overall participant satisfaction.
Use the insights gained from the evaluation to refine your program for future iterations. Continuously improve the experience for both buyers and sellers, ensuring the program remains valuable and effective.

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at vince@meetingsevents.com.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

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