Bridal Shows: Worthwhile or big waste of money?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by betty_lowrey, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. We have several large bridal shows in our area and I've had salespeople call me to see if I wanted to sign up for a booth. It's $1000 just for the space and then, of course, you have to fill said space with sales material.
    I'm not sure how worthwhile this would be. Any experience with bridal shows in your area? Have you found the booking return to be worthwhile?
     
  2. Hi Amanda,
    I have been involved with a few bridal shows that I paid between $250-$400 and I felt the investment could be justified. Once the pricing went $500-$1,000 - I couldn't see continuing because I felt that it was a lot of money to recoup. The shows I exhibited in contained at least 4 - 6 other photographers, so competition sometimes became a matter of price. I feel that unless you have very good feedback that you have a good chance of booking from the show - otherwise there are many other ways that $1000 can be put to good use. If you haven't attended the shows, you might do so as a guest, not an exhibitor and get a feel for potential business. If you do decide to exhibit, ask if the show organizers will supply you with names & contact info of all the guests that attend the show so you can see about contacting them. (some shows will not provide contact info) Good luck.
     
  3. It depends. How good of a folllowing does the bridal show have?
    I only exhibit at one and it works for me. It is the only advertising I do that I pay for.
    Referrals are a good source but I found that, after a few years of no advertising, relying on this as my main source of new gigs, pretty soon most potential prospects are out of the wedding game and move on living out their lives. Parents eventually become empty nesters and so on.
    The bridal show is a way of meeting new faces who do not know me but may be interested in what I do.
     
  4. We always say we are going to try them....but have yet to. For attracting new clients you might want to try some of the local beauty salons. There are alot of ladies that go through them.
    You can offer them some free shots for advertizement, if they would allow you to display some of your work....that's what we do and believe it or not we get alot of work from them.
    Worth a try,
    Dave
     
  5. We find there are just shoppers ---trying to get each photographer to get into a bidding war. Think of 4 car dealers > in the same spot < with one prospective buyer . Not fun ........
     
  6. I asked one vendor for stats about attendees and got nothing. He got nothing from me.
     
  7. I would not pay $1000 to appear in a show. $300 maybe. Even then, I don't attend them much. I use every low-cost method to market (except Craigslist) such as networking and placing cards or digital picture frames with cards in bridal shops, vendor offices, and other key locations. That, my website, getting listed on vendor websites, and referrals of happy clients is working okay for me. Haven't done well at all with Google Adwords either.
     
  8. We attend several Bridal Shows a year. As a matter of fact, we have one this weekend. Last year I attended six Bridal Shows and the price ranged from FREE to $700.00. The FREE Bridal Shows were much better then the one I paid $700.00 for. Here is the breakdown. I attended two at Belks, and one at Macys. All three of these Bridal Show were FREE and each one produced three-four contracts. They limit who attends as vendor and usually once you are in, you only have to compete for one or two more photographers. I attended another one at a vineyard and the cost was $50.00. I got six platinum contracts out of that Show. That was a great return on my investment. I attended another Bridal Show at our local Holiday Inn and I paid $80.00. I got four contracts from that Show. The last Bridal Show I entered was a two day Bridal Showcase. It was the biggest one in our area and most of the photographers attended. This one cost me $700.00 and we netted 4 contracts from there. I did have a wedding on the first day, so that is why the numbers where so low.
    In addition to Bridal Shows, we attended all the functions at our local David's Bridal and other Bridal Shops in town. This was by invitation only and were FREE.
    Here is my take on the whole thing. Going to Bridal Shows get you out front of potential brides/clients. They help with your branding, and you get to meet and network with other vendors. This year we are only doing the FREE Bridal Shows and the one this weekend which cost us $60.00 for two 10x10 booths. We received a credit for getting other vendors to sign-up. Yes, we stacked the deck with our preferred vendors.
    All in all, if the cost is minimal and the potential to bring in new clients as well as brand your company is there, then go for it. If you are well established and don't need the exposure, then save your money. I am thinking about next year and the year after that. I believe that every opportunity to showcase my company, portraits, albums, and personality to a willing audience, is an opportunity worth exploring.
     
  9. To me, it's not really worth it. It all depends on your market. My market is oversaturated with wedding photographers. One of the biggest bridal shows here in Dayton, OH had about 120 vendors with more than 30 photographers present. There was one every 3 or 4 booths. I spoke with a client who attended a show recently and she admitted that there are so many photogs that they quickly lose interest and just take literature and not even stop to ask questions. The investment also include literature, sample albums, decorations, etc. In the end, you can easily spend a couple thousand to be at a show.
     
  10. Manuel, that is incredible and a shame. The show promoters should put a limit on certain vendors to make the show viable for them. But they don't really care. Their only concern is to fill up the booth space.
    Back in the dinosaur ages, shows would put a limit on the amount of vendors. That was when show promoters had more scruples. Now it's all about making as much as they can with no concern about the vendors.
     
  11. We do 7 smaller bridal shows during the year from country clubs. It's much easier to bond with potential clients, there's less photographers and you are being referred by the venue which is one of those "golden" rules of referrals.
    The cost is usuall minimal in the 100.00 to 125.00 range and we get far more bang for our buck as opposed to the larger shows which are nothing more than cattle calls.
     
  12. Betty, is it my imagination or were you "Amanda Reseberg" in all of your posts yesterday?

    Nope, I'm pretty sure you were...I see a post above addressing you as "Amanda."

    Going through an identity crisis?
     
  13. Christopher,
    I changed my name, easier this way. I didn't really want my real name out there. Crazies, you know : )
     
  14. I thought about changing my name...My kids would still find me though :)
     
  15. I think the smaller shows are much better than the larger ones.
    I was just at a local one in Sacramento, CA. (As an attendee just looking around)
    Over-saturation of photographers in my opinion. It's actually getting much worse than last year, I would venture to guess almost twice as many.
    If you do the bigger ones, Make sure you have something to make you stand out.
     
  16. I just participated in one this past week and there were 104 booths and18 where photographers. I live in pretty rural area and we had two new photogs from DC come down to join the show. I am guessing the economy is hitting them pretty hard if they are going to travel 3 hours away to cover our community.
    I had price list to stuff in the bags and colleges to hand out at the booth along with some sample albums from Graphi to hand out those 4 x 5 ones they were a big hit OUr booth was $400 but there was a guy from a convention center close by inviting vendors to participate in their citys expo for 125 a booth. Hmmm
     
  17. I participate in 2 shows a year average between $100-150 for a day or weekend. I live in a rural area and photographers seem to popping out of the woodwork like ninja's! I have a show this coming weekend with maybe 50 vendors, 15 are photographers! I really agree with the above comment on making vendor limits, but like you said they are in it for a buck. I do like to work the bridal shows. I've always had a good turn around, so I guess this year I might have to fight hard for my contracts :)
     

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