Before you go and get too excited about the title of my blog entry this week, let me start by saying that I made that up! There is not actually a show concierge. But – I have thought for years that it might be fun to have a concierge for World Tea Expo. Or a VIP representative. Or a personal shopper type of person. Someone who could greet newcomers to the show and point them in the right direction or actually take people/VIPs by appointment on an escorted tour of the expo to assist particular buyers in finding exactly what they want or need in a timely manner. Since that does not exist exactly, I will volunteer myself –virtually, through this blog ahead of time or in person at the show if need be – to help you find what you personally need on the show floor. Let’s get started here and now.
I would like for you to go away for a moment and take a look at the show floor plan. Return here and I will walk you through some of the highlights of World Tea Expo and how to find them on the show floor.
FINDING EXHIBITORS: If you simply mouse over the squares on the floor plan, it will show you what company is exhibiting in a particular space. If you click on it, you will find details of the company, their products, and contact information. Some also include press releases and show specials. Show specials are something you should key in on and take note of before walking the show. Visit those specific exhibitors offering specials and see if the special offer or particular product fills your needs at this time. It is a great way to start your day.
SPECIAL EVENTS: Go back to the World Tea Expo website and have a look at the special events schedule. Now find the special events stage on the show floor so that you know exactly where to go when you are at the show. At the events stage you will experience things such as tea ceremonies, demonstrations and special presentations. Important: make note of the events or set an alarm on your cell phone so you do not miss anything. Believe me, it is very necessary when you become engrossed in doing business and networking during show hours, it is easy to miss something – schedule your time wisely.
EVENTS OF NOTE: Not to be missed is the NATC (North American Tea Championship) Winners Tasting Circle. Since I am usually exhibiting, I did not tune into that the first few years as I hesitated to take time away from my booth, but once I experienced it, I’ve been hooked ever since. It is such a fun experience to taste teas of the winners. Some might heckle you for your vote, but it is all in good fun. You will try all champion teas and then choose your own personal winners. The NATC Winners’ Tasting Circle provides attendees of the Expo the opportunity to vote for the best teas of each class.
NEW PRODUCTS: There is always a new product showcase area on the show floor. Look for that early on because many people come to the show to seek new products. A look into the showcase is a great timesaver because you might otherwise overlook something new in your walk-through. Visit the showcase and make a list of the products and booth numbers that interest you. Don’t worry, there should be a floor plan printed in the show guide when you arrive, so you should be able to find things pretty easily. And if you would like to see some new products ahead of time, visit the World Tea Expo New Product listings here.
VIP ASSISTANCE: I was not kidding! You are all VIPs in my book, so, within reason, I will assist anyone who needs help finding certain types of products on the show floor. Having both exhibited and walked the Expo as press over the last 12+ years, I am pretty comfortable helping buyers find just the right product to fit their needs. Or, I will introduce you to someone you have not yet met. Other than that, I always have a table for two set up in the back of my booth for little chats. I love it when tea room owners pop by for a little sit down – this is what I do, after all….connect businesses and consumers to all things tea. I will be in booth 710 unless I’m walking the floor…..if I’m not there, ask my staff to call me. I’m happy to be of assistance.
PRE-SHOW ASSISTANCE: From now until show time, I encourage you to contact me with questions about attending, finding products, or choosing classes. Of course most of your questions will be and should be initially answered by visiting the World Tea Expo website directly. But, I am here for you if you simply need to talk to a third party who has “been there.”
By the way, if you missed my recent interview with show director, Samantha Hammer-Mitchell, check it out here. Since the interview, I have received a good deal of correspondence from people who have never visited the Expo and they were happy to read the interview as it provided some more personalized detail on what to expect as they make plans for their very first visit. A lot happens! Over three days, World Tea Expo brings together people who love what you love. If you make an effort to network and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, attend the networking reception the first night (free with badge), and plan to attend the World Tea Awards dinner on the second night (ticketed event), you will certainly return home completely revved up, ready to start your tea business or take your current business to the next level.
World Tea Expo is an experience you will never forget and never regret thanks to a wonderful “World” of fabulous exhibitors, show management, and very special attendees.
By now I hope you have planned your travel and registered to attend World Tea Expo. Advance registration pricing ends April 16. My blog posts have been completely voluntary and are meant to help you prepare for World Tea Expo – I hope the information provided has been useful, but do be in touch if you have questions.
Until next time, I remain California Dreamin’. . .
Gail Gastelu, Publisher, The Tea House Times – World Tea Expo Advisory Board member