For the uninitiated marketer, event planning and promotion on a global scale certainly has a bit of a learning curve. After the long process of securing facilities, local partners and promotion, and all the red-tape of international travel & logistics, there are still some items that may slip past first-timers. These may seem minor, but many experienced international event planners have learned the hard way that a few mistakes can cause major headaches.
Some tips to consider when going international with your event marketing program:
1) Start with a smaller language barrier. The countries that have a strong commitment to speaking English will make it easier for your people and your marketing work. For your first foray into international event planning, consider a location within the Eurozone, Canada or Mexico.
2)Flooring is different. In Europe, for example, hard floor and raised flooring is the norm. Carpet is the exception.
3)Lighting is very different. Remember that electricity runs on different currents. As always, bring your travel adapters for different outlets, but for complex displays setups, you may want to consider renting local A/V & electrical equipment.
4) Make use of local resources when appropriate. The labor teams are very helpful and the drayage is very different, and in some case does not exist.
5)Hospitality and Relationships are king in Europe. Be prepared for a longer introduction period, and then earning their business over a longer time than in the US. Be prepared for this trust-building style of business even more in Japan and China.
6) Be prepared beyond the event itself. Make sure you can service what you sell, and do so in an effective way outside of your home country. Ensure that any marketing collateral or promotional items are available in the appropriate language - for some countries, the majority of business within your industry may be conducted in English, but this varies between markets and locations.
What tips for international events do you have? Your successes, cautionary tales, or "I wish I'd known that..." stories? Leave us a comment and share!