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Nothing could have prepared the organizers of the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair for both the U.S.-China trade war and the ongoing increasingly violent clashes between protesters and Hong Kong police. There’s no playbook for this level of disruption to the world’s largest jewelry and gem trade fair. A couple trade associations wanted the event postponed. One trade show association pressed for a 25% discount on exhibitor booths. Several exhibitors demanded to have their contracts voided.

London-based Informa Markets, which owns the trade fair, refused to succumb to the pressure. One thing that was never considered was postponing the fair. It would have been impossible to reschedule and the larger exhibitors and buyers wanted it. In addition, it’s the last jewelry fair before the holiday season. Its importance to the global jewelry industry is undeniable. As one jewelry designer told me a few years ago, this fair fills the shelves of retail stores throughout the world.

Instead, the leadership decided on a package of incentives for exhibitors and visitors. The two most notable was a telemarketing campaign with staff members contacting 40,000 past attendees to encourage them to attend. The second initiative was to provide 10,000 complimentary hotel room nights for buyers. Exhibitors were asked to submit the names of three significant buyers to offer them two free consecutive hotel room nights during the September fair show dates. Softer incentives included champagne and chocolates delivered to exhibitor booths and a “Happy Hour” following the close of each show day.

To read more on Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonydemarco/2019/10/14/september-hong-kong-jewelry-fair-adjusts-under-stressful-conditions/#10d2705a33c4

 

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