Recently the Park Home and Holiday Park Association had one of their many firsts. Our first trade show. We attended the Holiday Park & Resort Innovation show as exhibitors and it was an experience like no other. Throughout the 2 days we tried to share with you snippets of our day through photos and videos on our socials (follow us so you don’t miss out). However, I would like to take this opportunity to let you in on all the behind the scenes and our true emotions as a team.
If you have been to a trade show as an exhibitor, you will understand when I say the 2 (technically 3) days were surrounded with waves of new experiences and challenges. To say our trade show experience went off without a hitch would be pushing our luck. But it’s all in the fun of events and trade shows when the unexpected happens.
Our journey began on Tuesday morning, back at our HQ in Grays. It started with us packing up our equipment and placing it into our director general’s jeep. Tetris style. That was, in fact, challenge number 1 of the day. After some reshuffling and then some more, we did it and we were ready to hit the road.
We arrived at our accommodation in Birmingham late afternoon, quickly dropped off our belongings and scooted off to the NEC. This is where the team had to come together and with a joint effort, bring the stand and the vision to life. We assembled furniture, moved TV’s, opened leaflets, prepared roller banners, and set up all the techy stuff. I’m sure if our web developer / IT guy wrote this blog he wouldn’t use the term ‘techy stuff’, but you get the gist.
Whilst this was going on into the evening, the girls got to get a lucky escape and take care of our food. Can’t say it was any easier trying to figure out what to buy for 9+ people without having to take out a mortgage. But we got there in the end, with lunch & dinner covered for the next few days.
A short while later the team met back at the house to relax before the first day at the trade show on Wednesday. The boys were on dinner duty on Tuesday night. Up for dinner was meatballs and Gluten Free Pasta. Tip: if it says to cook the pasta for 5 mins, it means cook it for 5 mins. 2 lots of pasta later we ended up with mashed pasta with meatballs. Delicious (!).
Fast forward to 6am the next day where the whole team was up and ready to get started. Whilst some of the had some idea of what was ahead of us, the rest of us were well and truly blindsided. Our day was jammed packed with us meeting visitors, new members, and industry experts. The day was full of connectivity, social media buzz and talking everyone’s ears off. Before we knew it, the day was over, and we were finally able to rest our (VERY ACHY) feet.
As we got back home, we all started to unwind with a delicious glass of wine. Ready for…CURRY night. After some tasty food, the team were ready to separate and hit the hay with an early night for everyone (except of course Bradley and our videographer Charmine). And just like that it was 6am again the next day and we were up and fighting for the bathroom (again).
The final day begins with us setting up the stand ready for the arrival of our Chairman and the park home King Alfie Best. Unlike the day before, today involved marketing for Alfie’s speech, book signing and launch prep and overall commitment to getting to know all the visitors.
At exactly 14:45 Alfie began his speech at the Keynote Theatre, all mic’ed up with the cameras rolling ready to capture this moment exactly. It was an incredible experience for the PHHPA team to hear Alfie speak and share his story. This speech was different, it truly allowed the audience to be able to take a walk in his shoes (not literally). Yes, he skipped a lot of the struggles but the overall feel allowed people to embark on Alfie’s business journey, alongside him.
Before we knew it, the speech was over. We were all rushing back to our stand to begin the book signing. This is where our director, Kim Wright, was able to showcase her brand new book too! From talking and interacting to those around the stand to clicking and snapping away with our cameras to capture the moment. We did it all. Before we knew it, it was 4pm and the show was over.
After nearly 3 hours the team was back at HQ ready to go home and sleep. Bradley gave the team Friday off to rest up so we could come in on Monday and be prepared to deal with the buzz left after the show.
Overall, the show was exciting and hectic all at once. The team really got stuck in and was able to learn, grow and adapt to the association in a different environment to what we are used to. We are excited for our next upcoming trade show which is the business show at London Excel next week. Hopefully we will see you guys there.
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