The founder of the UK National Midland Wedding Show has revealed that his events have grown from just 80 attendees to over 4,500 visitors and 100 exhibitors in ten years – a 5650 per cent increase.
Founder and event director, Wayne Littlewood, now runs an additional 15 smaller events across the Midlands each year, as well as UK National Midland Wedding Show.
Littlewood primarily works as an operations manager for a student accommodation company and had no experience running events, yet now runs multiple wedding show. He explained: “I was planning my own wedding in 2009 and I had never heard of a wedding fayre before, so I went along and was just disappointed by the whole experience – it was just people stood behind a series of stalls hoping for the best, and there was no real engagement happening.
“That’s when I thought ‘I could do a much better job at this’ – so I plucked up the courage and did six months of research speaking to exhibitors at different shows and what they wanted.
“It soon became clear to me that if you nail the engagement with your exhibitors as an event organiser, then you stand a very good chance of growing your show in terms of the variety of exhibitors, which in turn will help to drive the number of visitors via word of mouth because there is more to see.
“We now have dedicated event staff at our shows to assist with absolutely everything in terms of set-up, making sure they’re fed and watered, right through to sharing our opt-in customer database with them so that they can carry out meaningful, targeted marketing both before the event to book appointments, as well as after the show to close potential sales.
“Variation and interaction are the two key things that you need at any exhibition. For example, at this year’s show we will have two bride and groom fashion shows happening, a competition to win a whole wedding, and a rising number of outdoor companies demonstrating outdoor games.
“The re-booking rate for the UK National Midland Wedding Show currently stands at 80 per cent – and 70 of those exhibitors have been with the show since it launched five years ago.
“The show is now at a stage where I’m now dedicating around 30 hours of my spare time a year to the show co-ordinating different requests, along with five members of staff on the day itself.
“Without a strong level of engagement between event organisers and exhibitors, the UK National Midland Wedding Show wouldn’t be where it is today.”
Caroline Lissaman, head of event management at Ricoh Arena, has witnessed the growth of the UK National Midland Wedding Show. She said: “Ricoh Arena and UK National Midland Wedding Show has forged a strong relationship over the years.
“Wayne has developed extensive knowledge of what couples want from a show of this kind, while the venue’s convenient location and flexible facilities have provided him with a platform to grow the show year-on-year.”
The fifth edition of the UK National Midland Wedding Show will take place at the Ricoh Arena from 18-19 January 2020.