Maryland Trade Expo was started by the State Department of Business and Economic Development in the year 2002. The exposition aims to market the Maryland’s highly capitalized corporations to both local and international investors through showcasing their competitiveness, operations, and practices. It is three day annual event held in the month of July. The organizers, committee consisting of five members is appointed by the State officer in charge of international trade for a non renewable contract of 3 years. This committee draws the budget and contracts other companies to manage various aspects of the event.
Importance of the exposition
Maryland is home to many companies that provide employment to thousands of Marylanders. However, the companies are faced with a challenge of limited financial resources. Consequently, many cannot expand beyond the state borders. The exposition provides a platform where the managers of these companies can interact with potential investors and cut deals for financing of their plans.
Participants and the benefits
The events shall be attended by the managers and selected employees of companies with an annual turn over of $10 billion. Executives of financial institutions, governments, multinational companies, development agencies, standard agencies, labor organizations, marketing agencies, state officials and university students. All the attendees will benefits in terms of information sharing. A trade expo creates a platform that enables companies to share information about innovation, markets and products (Bruns, 2012). However, the companies based in Maryland will benefit a lot from increased capital flow. The investors will also get viable investment opportunities.
The expo will held during summer month of July when most people prefer to travel to US because of favorable weather. The exact date for the event will be from Wednesdays, July 15, 2015 to Friday, July 17, 2015. These dates may change; however, they cannot be changed to any other month apart from July.
The venue of the event shall be Marriot Inn and Conference Center located in the city of Hyattsville Maryland. This facility is owned by the University of Maryland. It provides excellent conferencing, accommodation and catering services at competitive prices. Presentations shall be done at the conference room while exhibition shall be conducted on 10,000 square meter packing yard located in front of the accommodation building.
Equipment and resources
The organization of events requires substantial amount of financial resources. The money shall be used to pay for conferencing facilities, contracted personnel, equipment used, materials needed, publications, food and beverages consumed and logistics. In total the event shall be hosted at a cost of $ 10.5 million. Materials include tents for housing companies in the parking yards. Accommodation shall be taken care of by the participants. Some of the people who shall be hired to help in the management of the event include security officers, ushers, public relation managers, translators, information officers, drivers, messengers and assistant event managers.
A research shall be done on the participants, cost, facilities, and logistics and on time organization of the event. The culture, food and language spoken, and preferences of participant will be sought through the use of focus group. The cost will be researched through analysis of alternatives prices of services and materials required during the event. The possible venue shall be listed and data collected on their competiveness in terms of services provided, accessibility and facilities they have. On time organization research shall include sitting arrangement, room layout, positioning of public address system, parking arrangement, food and beverage distribution and time management. Moreover, the event manager shall also conduct a research on accommodation facilities, human resources needed, security issues and transportation of participants
This event shall take an exhibition design where companies showcase their products, services, practices and also answer questions asked by visitors that is related to the company. Therefore, it shall be designed in a manner that ensures maximum interaction between company executives and visitors. The main design tasks will be changing the program of activities and initiating measures that will ensure many investors participate in the expo and the also have enough time to interact with sponsors and Maryland companies. It may include shortening speech times, having two exhibitions yards on the same venue and providing free transportation from the nearest airports.
Planning takes two dimensions, strategic and operational. Strategic planning entails development of vision and objectives while operational planning involves creation of steps, processes and structures that must be running during the event (Ian et al, 2012). These tasks shall have a time line of two years. The first step will be to develop vision, mission and objectives then identifying tasks that must be accomplished during the entire event organization and allocating each task specific timelines, person responsible and resources required. Then a budget shall be developed to cover the cost of all tasks and materials. Besides, their recruitment and logistics plan shall also be developed,
The purpose of event coordination will be to ensure that all the people and structures involved in event organization work in unison so that the event is hosted successfully. The initial task under event coordination is pitching or establishing the order of event (Chaturvedi, 2009). The tasks under coordination include assigning people responsibilities, regulating tasks time and facilitating communication among the people involved in the event management such as ushers, information officers and assistant event managers.
This shall involve collection of data and information on all aspects of the event, analyzing it, and writing a report of the findings. The data will include expenditures, number of participants and their characteristics; time consumed by each activity and experienced challenges. The reports will help the event managers in organization of future events.
Designing event using focus group
Focus group is used to gather information about aspects of society such as culture. It is a planned dialogue between a researcher and a specific group of people conducted to collect information on particular topic of interest (Waagen & American Society for Training and Development, 2008). In Maryland Trade Expo planning, focus group will be used to collect information about culture, language, preferences and foods of international participants. The organizing committee has invited people from diverse cultures and it is important that their cultural affiliations are factored in the event planning. There shall be two sessions of focus groups organized by the event manager. They shall all be conducted during the first month of event planning time. The participants shall be students drawn from an international school in Maryland. These schools admit students from various countries across the world. The event manager shall write to the administrator of one of these schools seeking to have a discussion with 30 students on cultural aspects. These students will be sampled to ensure that not more than 3 students come from the same ethnicity or country. The focus group session shall be conducted in one of the room in their school on one Saturday. The groups shall be divided into two consisting of fifteen participants and each session shall run for 45 minutes. The event manager shall hire a sociologist who shall lead the discussion while the manager shall take notes.
Open ended questions relating to foods, language, preferences, and culture shall be asked by the facilitator and participants given opportunity to respond and react. Open ended questions are suitable for collecting information about perceptions and attitudes (Babbie, 2013). During the discussion, the manager shall note audacity of the respondents, their attitudes towards other cultures, their languages, their reactions to other respondents, their preferred foods, and cultural affiliations. The information gathered will be used to come up with food menu.
Babbie, E. R. (2013). The basics of social research.
Bruns, C. (2012). Trade fairs as temporary clusters in Europe. GRIN Verlag
Chaturvedi, Ashutosh, Dr. (2009). Event management: A professional & development approach. Global India Pubns.
Ian, et al. (2012). Festival and events management. Routledge.
Waagen, A. K., & American Society for Training and Development. (2008). Measurement & evaluation: Essentials for measuring training success, volume 4. Alexandria, Va.: ASTD Press.