Today, June 22, is my birthday. I don’t typically make a big deal about my birthday, but I have to admit that I enjoy the fact that my friends and family do. There is something about having breakfast in bed made by my kids, a day of relaxation and fun with friends and family, and a nice evening out with gifts and cards that makes me feel special, important, appreciated and loved. I think celebrating birthdays is important because without them when would we take the time to show each other that we care? Birthdays give us the opportunity to focus on one person and make them feel special for that day, and to express to them their value in our lives.
In business, celebrating milestones with your sponsors and exhibitors is one of the best ways for building strong relationships. Many of our clients have been very creative and here are a few ideas:
1) Create a program that recognizes exhibitors who have been exhibiting at your event for 10, 20, 25, 30, 40, or 50 years (Anniversary milestones). Announce them at your opening general session, and give them each an award to show off at their booth and to take with them. Put a STAR (Ex: Proudly Exhibiting for 25 Years) on the carpet in front of their booth. Give them ribbons for their badges showing how many years they have exhibited. Plan a special breakfast for them. Send a gift basket to their office once they sign their anniversary contract with you as a thank you, letting them know they will be recognized at your event.
2) Throw a party. Find out which exhibiting companies have been in business 25, 50, 75 or 100 years. Make them part of your evening party by setting up a dessert bar with cakes and pastries in their honor. Put up signs throughout the tables for each exhibitor wishing them a very Happy Birthday. Put a birthday banner (Ex: Celebrating 50 years in business) on the carpet in front of their booth. Give them ribbons for their badges signifying their birthday celebration.
3) Give exhibitors an upgrade or let them post a video to their online booth profile as a gift.
4) Tweet and post Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary messages to those exhibitors celebrating milestones.
5) Project a slideshow on the wall at the entrance to your Expo or by the food court wishing those exhibitors a Happy Anniversary or Happy Birthday.
The list could go on, but the message is, don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate with your exhibitors and make them feel special. They will thank you for it.