In case you’re noticing the ‘new look’ of the No Biz Like Horse Biz blog, it became necessary since WordPress was eliminating the old theme I’d chosen. The new theme is called Pilcrow, and I’m giving it a try – let me know what you think!
This past weekend I spoke at the Equestrian Lifestyle Expo & Holiday Market; there was a great turnout, the event sold record numbers of 2-day passes, and I think everyone had a really good time. I know I did!
At the Expo the past two years, Saturday night shopping hours had very little foot traffic, much to the dismay of vendors and businesses that paid to have booths and staff them. So, the Expo manager, Joy Meierhans, asked me a few weeks ago if I had any ideas to help.
Joy had already set up a silent auction to benefit the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Scholarship Fund, and lined up ‘roaming hors d’oeuvres servers’ and a cash bar. I gave it a bit of thought, and decided what was missing was a little fun and challenge.
Thus was born the Tally Ho! Treasure Hunt. I based the game on a trivia contest, but added a twist to ‘hunt’ for the clues at various vendor booths across the trade show floor. Here’s the rundown on how it worked:
* Participants had a 12-question form and one of those short ‘golf pencils’ for writing down their answers, plus their name and phone number.
* If they knew the answer to a question, they could write it down; if they didn’t know, they’d have to roam the floor looking for the Clue Zone for that question (most of the questions were pretty tough to answer, so they’d be more likely to ‘hunt’ for the answers and interact with the vendors).
* Brightly colored signs were stationed at vendor booths; the vendors that were able to be the Clue Zones were ones that donated a prize for the treasure hunt. Vendors were instructed to provide the answer when asked, but could do it in whatever manner they chose.
* Completed entries were put into a bucket, and were drawn to win one of the donated treasure hunt prizes. Winners had to stick around and be present in order to win; we called the winners, and if they weren’t there we re-drew for that prize.
This type of activity isn’t for everyone, but the folks that were drawn to play were over-the-top excited. One lady said she’d have done it even if there weren’t prizes, simply for the chance to interact with the vendors in a way that didn’t feel pressured. And when we were drawing for the prizes (thanks to my helper, Brian Long!), there were folks stacked up 3-deep around the table – everyone wanted to win! And, I wish I woulda had a prize for every person.
When I checked in with some of the vendors on Sunday, they all said that it was fun, it was a way to interact with people and did bring traffic to their booths, and they got a kick out of how excited people were. Some offered suggestions on how to tweak it for next year!
Many thanks – to the vendors that donated items, to the folks that played the game, and to Joy and the Expo for taking a chance on something new with no guaranteed outcome. But I think it paid off in just the results we wanted.