Guest post by Marc Bouvrot-Parratte, Co-Founder & CEO,

Business-centric events such as trade shows, conferences, exhibitions, and fairs are often an underrated and nearly forgotten tool for companies of all sizes, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The reasons for this are multifaceted: lack of awareness of what events can do for a company, misunderstanding of strategic impact, a dearth of tools to streamline and facilitate event identification and selection, and uncertainty about costs and logistics.

Benefits for Every Business Size and Strategic Objectives

Events are a unique strategic tool in a company’s arsenal in that they place businesses of vastly different sizes on more equal footing than other solutions, such as advertising and direct sales, do. Events, if selected properly and managed efficiently, can also offer very attractive ROI, especially for smaller companies.

By allowing businesses to meet a very wide range of strategic objectives, events also separate themselves from other tools. Events help organizations network with other businesses and industry leaders, support a product launch, deliver leads and identify qualified prospects. They can also be fertile ground for the creation of strategic partnerships and overall corporate development. Companies can use events for competitive assessment and innovation monitoring in their industry. Last but not least, events can be powerful platforms for branding and awareness for companies of all sizes.

The Bestrade Crowdsourcing Breakthrough

With the many advantages for so many businesses, there are surprisingly few tools to help companies identify events that meet their business objectives, and even fewer tools to help them select the best possible events. One online platform offering innovation in this field today is Bestrade.

Bestrade is not only a business event directory covering over 23,000 fairs, trade shows, exhibitions, conferences and other business events worldwide. It is also a community of event participants, visitors, organizers and venues that networks and communicates on the platform. More importantly, community members exchange feedback, ratings, reviews, and recommendations about the events on the platform. All that feedback is accessible, filterable and easy to digest thanks to the highly visual charting and comparison features embedded on Bestrade. The feedback is from real people, peers that need to validate their credentials through LinkedIn or Facebook. Now businesses researching events to attend or exhibit at can enjoy the same benefits restaurant goers get on Yelp. With event monitoring, companies can see past participants’ feedback, get news about specific events, compare events of interest on several important criteria, and easily create lists of prospective events and share them within their organization. Companies save time (and money) on a previously daunting or, at best, cumbersome task. Best of all, it is free.

Bestrade also offers some innovative solutions specific to event organizers, such as the ability to claim an event or create one from scratch. Recently launched, Smart Surveys™ are a supremely efficient and affordable way for organizers to learn from their attendees, read results of their satisfaction surveys in real time in their dashboard on Bestrade and improve their offering quickly and accurately.

The Stay22 Accommodation Stress Reliever

Discovering potential events to participate in and selecting a few that best meet business objectives is a big first step, but the issue then becomes budgets and logistics. Companies know the costs of entering an event, but the total cost for participating in one involves many more components, such as travel, lodging, food, booth design and creation, and equipment. Accommodation is always an especially thorny concern: Where is the accommodation relative to the event venue? Does my company get discounts and where? How do I get from there to the venue? How can I make a reservation? Will there be enough availability for my team?

Stay22 alleviates those concerns with their integrated solution for organizers: the map takes care of accommodation logistics. Using Stay22, the need for negotiations with hotels and the specter of attrition penalties associated with room blocks disappears. Event-goers also get a wide range of comparable listings on one map, saving hours of browsing frustration. Moreover, they get access to the lowest prices on accommodation listings near the event venue and can use a live-availability feature. Stay22 covers 6.5m listings worldwide from respected names like Airbnb, Expedia and

Using solutions like Bestrade and Stay22, businesses can benefit from the events they attend while enjoying a seamless customer experience.

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