Making the most of missions, exhibitions & events

Sales missions, exhibitions and other trade events are a great way to meet key industry players and build new and existing relationships. Find out how you can take full advantage of the events you attend.

Group shot of staff and attendees of our Destination Britain China 2014 event

Trade shows

VisitBritain on a stall at a trade show

Trade shows are useful for first time entrants into the market as well as established operators looking to develop their business. They enable you to meet, network and build relationships with a large number of targeted clients under one roof, so can be more cost and time-effective than conducting individual sales calls.

However, they may be aimed at specific members of the travel trade, such as wholesalers or frontline retail staff, they may focus on specific market segments or be geared to particular industries. Do your research to make sure the events you attend are the best for your business.

Explore highlights of our recent trade events.

Sales missions

Sales missions are organised visits to key international markets, which bring UK suppliers together with operators and agents. They give you access to specific markets and help you to compete for international visitors. We run regular sales missions in a number of markets, to ensure more of Britain is packaged and sold effectively.

At our largest mission in the UK, ExploreGB 2016, there were:Meeting between supplier and buyer at ExploreGB

  • participants from over 40 countries
  • over 28,500 pre-scheduled one-to-one appointments took place 
  • 370 British and Irish suppliers
  • 325 international buyers
  • 29 members of the international media

Our events calendar is packed with a wide range of sales missions, trade shows and workshops designed to help you promote your business.

Use our opportunities listings to find suitable opportunities that match your business objectives and budget.

Preparing for success

Meeting the right people from the right organisation is the key to success. More important than the number of meetings you hold is ensuring you meet with people who have an interest in your offering and the potential to sell your product.

Forward planning will help ensure your business gets the most out of your trade event attendance.

Sales missions and trade shows checklist:

  • Be prepared to take part in the same event for a minimum of three years. Awareness of your product will significantly increase each year, as will your own expertise and knowledge of how to work the show
  • Research who is attending, the markets they operate in, and whether they sell competitors’ products or complementary products. If it’s appropriate, include pre- and post-sales calls in your planning
  • Set clear goals and ensure your staff members are well prepared and committed to meeting your trade marketing objectives
  • Read all pre-event literature and application forms carefully, and take note of the cancellation policy and deadlines
  • Tailor your presentation to the needs and interests of your audience
  • Research and observe local courtesies; not only will this be appreciated by your hosts, but it will significantly enhance your chances of success
  • Develop a sales kit including brochures, product fact sheets, your sales presentation, a collection of images on DVD/USB, online tools such as podcasts and vidcasts, display banners and posters. Ensure your marketing materials are designed, printed and delivered well in advance
  • Send thank you emails after meetings and follow up on any requests you get for further information

Find out more about our programme of sales missions in our events calendar .