A Look at Farnborough Air Show’s ‘Meet the Buyers Programme’

$47 billion in deals were done at the last Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), and billions of dollars in commercial and military aircraft, equipment and technologies orders were announced during the 48th edition which took place last week.

FIA continues to pursue new ways to drive business for its stakeholders. At the last event, FIA launched its “Meet the Buyers Programme," which pre-schedules face-to-face meetings between buyers and suppliers during the show.

There are many moving parts to these types of programs—many ways to set them up and many nuances. So in this week’s post, I share some key points about FIA’s "Meet the Buyers Programme," which is back again at this year’s show:

  • • The Programme runs two days, 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the meetings last about 15 minutes.
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  • • More than 35 procurement teams have committed.
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  • • Suppliers request meetings with buyers they would like to meet from the buyers catalog. Both suppliers and buyers are provided an appointment diary on-site, stating who they will be meeting and at what time.
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  • • A key point worth highlighting about the buyers catalog is the information in it is very granular, including buyer companies with specific buying interests, current projects, and procurement policies.
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  • • Suppliers are advised they can expect, on average, between four and seven pre-scheduled meetings, with the potential to set up additional meetings on site.
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  • • FIA offers buyers two nights’ accommodation, travel between the hotel and airshow, entry tickets to the airshow for both days of the Programme, lunch and refreshments.
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  • • One interesting aspect is that buyers are required to nominate a deputy, so if a conflict arises and the original buyer can’t make it, the company will still be represented by the deputy. FIA uses language that makes it very clear that “attendance is essential” for buyers, once committed.
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  • • The Programme is well-promoted with a dedicated microsite, and the buyers catalog is posted on the website.
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  • • There is no cost for buyers. The cost is £195 + VAT per supplier delegate (a separate pass must be purchased to enter the airshow). FIA also provides a limited number of exhibit opportunities at the Programme, which include a 3m x 2m exhibit space and other on-site promotion for £750.00 + VAT.

Cristopher Levy is managing partner of Encore Media Partners. Encore is an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency covering traditional, digital and mobile platforms, which specializes in local, national and global trade and consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences. Reach him at clevy@encoremediapartners.com.