Two Wiltshire entrepreneurs – Yola O’Hara, Managing Director of social media consultancy Visually Explained and David Lattimer, who runs maintenance management software provider Redro – are teaming up to create a new style of online expo to attract business people from across the UK and beyond.
Yola and David, whose businesses are in adjoining suites at Bowman House Business Centre, Royal Wootton Bassett, have come up with the idea of running a more cost-effective and user-friendly expo, targeted at smaller businesses.
Named ‘5554 Virtual Expo’ after their office numbers (55 and 54), the event will take place on 25th February 2021, and David and Yola are now inviting exhibitors to sign up.
Yola explained, “Holding expos online is an interesting, location independent concept, so we decided to run one. Our plan is for the 5554 Virtual Expo to be simple, cost-effective and based on a very user-friendly platform.
“We decided to strip out many of the features that sometimes over complicate face-to-face expos – like back-to-back speakers, speed networking and so on – and focus on the central point: exhibitors meeting visitors, doing business with one another and making connections.”
David said, “We’ve attended some larger online expos for our own business, which have worked well, but we wanted to create a simpler, more cost-effective event which is better suited to SMEs.”
The platform Yola and David have opted for is easy to use for exhibitors, as well as for visitors who attend the event. Each exhibitor has a ‘stand’. Visitors can come along to the stand and chat to businesses, just as they would at a face-to-face event.
Visitors can also book meetings – so no more standing around and waiting until someone is free. Similarly, exhibitors can see who is at the event, and send messages and arrange meet-ups.
Yola and David say they have both noticed that in face-to-face events, some people on stands look out of their comfort zone and don’t know how to strike up a conversation. With the online platform, this is really easy. Exhibitors just need to send a message in the chat and invite people to come along and say hello.
Yola continued, “At physical expos, we might pass by a stand that interests us, but the business representatives are tied up. You stand there, feel awkward, maybe come back again or, probably, give up. This way it is easy to book time with an exhibitor. You really can get to see all the people you want to see.”
Each stand has scope for brand exposure, including marketing material, information about offers and services, banners and videos.
Because the event is all online, it is expected to attract exhibitors and visitors from far afield, and not just those within travelling distance.
Yola added, “We’re likely to bring in businesses from far-flung places in the UK and possibly from other countries too, so there will be a lot of scope for meeting new people, whether you are an exhibitor or a visitor.”
Once the event finishes on 25th February it will stay online for 30 days.
Each exhibition stand costs £150 + vat. The system is easy to use, but David and Yola are on hand to help. The event is FREE for visitors to attend.
To register visit www.accelevents.com/e/5554Expo and for more information email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above: (Left to Right) David Lattimer and Yola O’Hara, organisers of the 5554 Virtual Expo