The objective of the Top Buyers programme, supported by the French government as part of the recovery plan for the event industry, was to bring back an international clientele with high added value to French trade fairs after the Covid period. Some twenty international trade fairs, taking place between March 2022 and February 2023, were able to benefit from this programme, which welcomed 500 buyers from 48 countries.
The final result is very positive, both for the trade shows, which were able to invite major buyers who had never attended before, and for the Promosalons network, which was able to mobilise its delegations in 48 countries, including fareway countries, and to collaborate with new trade shows.
The success factors of the programme are of course the financial support for the buyers’ travel (transport and accommodation) but also the credibility provided by an official French government programme.
Thanks to the know-how of the Promosalons delegates in each country and their good knowledge of the various sectors of activity, potential buyers with a high decision-making profile were recruited. A detailed identification of their purchasing needs was carried out beforehand in order to check the suitability of the show’s offer and to propose customised meetings with the exhibitors. The specificity of these buyers was their very high purchasing potential: they had to have specific short-term investment or purchasing projects.
The Top Buyers were assisted by the Promosalons delegations prior to their trip to facilitate all the logistical aspects (hotel reservations, flights, etc.) and during their visit, with a specific welcome at the show and on-site assistance by the Promosalons delegates. The show organisers have also set up dedicated services, such as shuttles for their transfers, and private events (VIP diners or cocktails). The Top Buyers particularly appreciated the exchanges among peers, from the same country or from several countries, thanks to the networking events organised for them.
Thanks to this operation, the trade fairs benefited from a leverage effect for their visitor promotion, increasing their notoriety among the press, professional associations and companies in the sector. The Top Buyers’ trips also provided an opportunity to amplify communication before, during and after their visit to the show, with testimonials and interviews that were well relayed on social networks.
At the end of each trade fair concerned by the programme, specific feedback was given between the organisers and the countries of the Promosalons network that participated.
For SPACE, the international livestock show in Rennes which welcomes international visitors from 120 countries, the programme opened doors to new countries and the arrival of top buyers undeniably contributed to the success of this edition. Contracts between these buyers and exhibitors were signed on the first day of the show.
SIAL, the international food trade fair in Paris, was able to extend its reputation among new buyers and to forge a rich bond of exchange and feedback with these high-level decision-makers.
During a Think Tank organised on 15 February, as part of the Promosalons annual meetings, the network’s delegates and trade show organisers discussed how to capitalise on this Top Buyers programme in the long term. The aspects of financial support, loyalty, coaching and participation in the content of the trade fair were discussed for future editions.