a2z, Inc: Exhibitor Enhanced Listings and Exposure [Review]

a2z, Inc: Exhibitor Enhanced Listings and Exposure [Review]

a2z, Inc. offers cloud-based exhibition management tools and websites. Through the Partnership Program Enhanced Listings can encourage increased exhibitor exposure and offer opportunities for greater revenues for the event. Here is our review.

a2z Partnership Program with Enhanced Listings: What Is It?

Anyone that has organized an exhibition knows what an undertaking it is – selling booth space, issuing and chasing contracts and payments, up selling packages, marketing the event, keeping the floor plan updated in real time, updating the web content – the list goes on. Workloads and working hours can soon spiral out of control even on a relatively small show.

This online solution is designed specifically to save time and streamline processes for the show organizing team so I was really excited to learn more about how this product can help increase efficiency and returns. There are lots of different modules and features which can provide the specific functionality your event requires. Previously we have reviewed other elements of the system, including appointment scheduling in this review of the networkNow module from a2z.

This review will focus specifically on the enhanced exhibitor listings and potential revenue generation opportunities offered by the portal.

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The Main Categories of Features Are:

Exhibition Management and Monetization. Manage all elements of your show online for real time information and exhibitor sign up, with opportunities to generate extra revenue.

Marketing. Exhibitors can add rich content to their profile which helps to market the show and promote the businesses involved, as well as encouraging visitors to register to attend the event.

Reporting and Communication. View reports and analytics in real time and send smart emails to specific groups.

Review

Managing an exhibition is a time consuming and complex process, so any technology that can streamline the process to achieve greater efficiencies will be of interest to any exhibition manager. The a2z platform seems very comprehensive and complex with different modules available to suit the specific requirements of different shows. This review is specifically focused on how the product can help with the top objectives of any organizing team – bringing in more revenue, maximising the promotion of exhibitors and sponsors and marketing the event to attendees.

The tool should be put into place right at the start, before the show planning cycle is underway. Four to six weeks should be allowed for initial setup and testing, so this is definitely not a quick fix solution which can start accepting bookings within a matter of minutes.

Exhibitor Listings
When everything is in place exhibitors can sign up and pay for their chosen package via the website, which means that their contract and terms and conditions of their involvement are all handled efficiently online, without delays in paperwork being returned or the need to chase up outstanding information. This also presents a professional image, rather than handling the contracting process manually.

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A basic listing usually includes general company information, a website link, social media details and a few product categories. Exhibitors can pay extra for the benefits of an enhanced listing, which generally also includes an expanded profile, logo, listings in more categories, video content, products detailed with pictures, press releases added and show special offers such as discounts and competitions. Organizers will be pleased to hear that they can configure the precise benefits and costs of a basic, silver, gold and platinum package based on the specifics of their show. a2z support the organizer in building suitable package bundles and supply email templates and literature which the event planner can use to explain the different packages to exhibitors and encourage sales.

Uploading data to the website is simple and straightforward for exhibitors via a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) system, no special skills are required. The system is responsive and data can be added from any device at their convenience. All major video formats are accepted and can be uploaded by the exhibitor and there is no file size limitation.

Enhanced listings are showcased on the event map and exhibitor list with a special icon and there is also the option for any business to display their logo on the floor plan. The organizer can set the pricing structure for these additional extras and decide what exactly is included in each package. Discounts and special offers can also be created, for example early bird rates to encourage early sign up. The packages and extras are then selected and purchased online by the exhibitor for immediate self-service access to their profile.

Exhibition Management
From the dashboard the event manager can see the interest each exhibitor has received in terms of the number of profile views and favourites (those that have ‘starred’ that exhibitor). It is possible therefore to monitor the additional visibility those with enhanced listings receive specific to your trade show, but generally there are 3-4 times more traffic and qualified leads for those with enhanced profile compared to a basic listing.

From the dashboard there are reports to show how many exhibitors have updated their profile, how many have copied data from last year (if applicable) and how many need to update. The latter can easily be selected and emailed with a request to update as soon as possible using an automatically generated email.

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Marketing
The more content generated by the exhibitors the easier in theory it is to market the show to attendees and press, with the responsibility being on the organization to complete their data. Exhibitors can link and share their content to help promote the show and their involvement to their networks before, during and after the event via a dedicated URL. To keep exhibitors happy and coming back to your show it is important that the experience is a success for them so having stats available to show the online interest and leads generated is powerful feedback.

Attendees are able to plan their visit to the exhibition by browsing exhibitor profiles and favoriting with a star those they are particularly interested in. These then show up on the floor plan directly and can be printed out or viewed on the related event mobile app (native apps for Apple and Android and a web version for other devices).

As well as searching by exhibitor name or criteria such as location and products, visitors can also filter by category such as newly launched products, green products and show specials such as discounts, special offers and competitions. The system encourages a comprehensive show guide to be built but with minimal input required from the organizers. The content then gives the best opportunity to inspire the website visitor to register to attend the event, knowing many of the benefits which will be available at the show and able to plan their visit around their specific interests.

The press can view the latest press releases for the show and can type in a specific search term to bring up relevant content which makes their job easier and hopefully encourages the likelihood of media coverage. The show manager or marketing team are always looking for good content and different ways to market and sell the show so having this information uploaded within the website reduces the chasing and direct contact required with each exhibitor.

Revenue
From the perspective of a show organizer the tool helps to sell itself as exhibitors see others with enhanced listings and the resulting exposure and may want to secure the same benefits. Likewise the following year of the show an exhibitor who purchased an enhanced profile is unlikely to go back to a standard listing. Using the tool should be a long term commitment as the adoption rate and revenue should increase year on year.

There is of course a cost implication for using the exhibition marketing and management module, which is calculated dependent on the requirements and size of the event, but there is no upfront additional cost to enrolling for the partnership program. Having to pay for technology may be a stumbling block for some shows if they currently work with manual processes, however as the platform is built to encourage further sales and efficiencies the potential gains and time savings need to be taken into account, offsetting the investment.

Features

Exhibition Management and Monetization

  • Floor plan management
  • Manage bookings, contracts and payments from exhibitors online 24/7
  • Set the packages, extras and pricing specific to your show
  • Opportunity to upsell and offer extras to exhibitors including enhanced listings, advertising and sponsorship opportunities
  • Advice, support and suggested communications provided by a2z

Marketing

  • Enhanced exhibitor listing opportunities which can include logo, videos, product listings, descriptions and press releases
  • Attendees can easily search for new products, show specials and environmentally friendly products.
  • Increased visibility opportunity for exhibitors on floor plan by featuring their logo
  • Exhibitors are responsible for populating their content directly to the system 
  • Exhibitors can purchase enhanced listings by simply logging into their console on the event website
  • Increased visibility for exhibitors with shareable content
  • Comprehensive event website created to engage and encourage visitors to attend
  • Searchable press release area

Reporting and Communication

  • Management reports
  • Revenue reporting
  • Identify and email specific groups easily e.g. those that haven’t updated their content or paid their final balance
  • Different access levels can be set for different users

Who Is It For?

This tool is aimed at event managers and trade show organizers of exhibitions of all sizes.

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Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Opportunity to increase revenues from your trade show.
  • Reduce hours and workload and increase efficiencies for the exhibition organizing team.
  • Give greater visibility to exhibitors.

Cons

  • It generally takes 4-6 weeks to set up the platform before the website can be launched and sales can begin.
  • Support is provided from a2z, Inc. for event planners to set up and learn how to use the system properly, it isn’t just a quick-fix, immediate, self-service platform.
  • Documents such as PDFs cannot be added to the exhibitor listings.

Pricing and Plans

The pricing is dependent on the specific requirements and size of your show. For further information please contact a2z, Inc. directly.

In Conclusion

The Enhanced Listings with the a2z Partnership Program has been designed to help exhibition planning teams meet their fundamental event objectives. It isn’t a quick fix solution due to its complexity and capability and a financial commitment is required, but any show organizer wanting to grow their exhibition should give this tool some serious consideration.

Find out how it can help you here.

 

Disclosure: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any question please use the contact us section.

About The Author
Becki Cross
Becki Cross is Managing Director of Events Northern Ltd, a UK event and conference management company established in 2004. Becki set up the business in her early twenties and is particularly passionate about conferences, entrepreneurship and social media. Follow Becki via @beckitrain.
Julius Solaris
Editor, Julius Solaris

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