If you want to know how best to market in a particular region, who better to ask than the locals? That simple idea was the basis for a very popular session at English UK's annual fair in Central and South America.
As part of the seminar session in Santiago, educators were asked for questions they would like to ask of agents. They were then split into groups to discuss three: How can agents and educators work together to promote the different cities and regions of the UK? What can be done to make the agent/educator partnership work best? What strategies are there for dealing with the strong pound?
"The agents said they found it really useful because of some of the issues raised, and 84% of educators and exhibitors gave us feedback that it was excellent or good. We think it added value to what our delegates got out of the fair and will definitely include it again," said Roz Rozidor, International Manager at English UK, who led the event.
The fair, held in the Santiago Marriott Hotel, followed the usual pattern of a small, all-inclusive workshop sessions and social programme based in a luxury hotel and was rated a success by agents and educators alike. It attracted 41 agents from nine countries, of whom almost 70% were first-timers or not regular participants at English UK events, resulting in great opportunities for English UK members to establish new partnerships.
Feedback from English UK members shows that all of them are considering working with an agent or agents they met at the fair, and all rated the seriousness and knowledge of UK ELT as good or excellent.
Educators were happy with the business opportunities from the fair. Sarah Tew, from BEET, described the event as "definitely worthwhile…we already have several long-term enrolments in the pipeline as a direct result".
Agents were also pleased, and find the format of the English UK fairs conducive to doing great business. Patricia Ricci de Cabral, representing English UK partner agency Together (Argentina), said: "The English UK fair in Cartagena in 2014 resulted in us sending a large group to a new partner in the UK. The advantage of engaging in small workshops is that there is more opportunity to network with everyone and build new partnerships. The beauty of the English UK workshops is being able to share common knowledge with other Latin American agents."
Also at the fair were two English UK regional groups, English UK North and English UK East, who told agents about their regions during the seminar programme. Other exhibitors included Guard.me International Insurance and the British Council.
The social programme at the fair began with a welcome dinner at fish restaurant Aqui Esta Coco with speeches by English UK Chief Executive Eddie Byers and Andrew Chadwick, country director of the British Council in Chile. The middle night saw delegates stretching their legs on a riverside bike ride, followed by dinner at Mestizo, a styling open air restaurant in Parque Bicentenario. The farewell dinner was at Castillo Hidalgo, at the top of the famous Santa Lucia hill, with fabulous views over Santiago. Some delegates took part in an optional excursion after the fair, to a vineyard near to Santiago and then a private hacienda in the countryside, where a four course meal was enjoyed.
In order to further raise the profile in Central and South America of UK ELT, English UK participated in FFP EDU Media's agent and student fairs in Mexico and dovetailed the English UK Fair, Santiago with BMI's spring ExpoEstudiante events. (Both organisations are corporate members of English UK.)
Some delegates made the most of their time in the region by also attending one or more of these student-facing fairs. At the Santiago event, English UK's pavilion dominated the first room, while the organisation and the UK had a separate hall in Bogota. "We spoke to around 400 students at each of those events so it was very busy - there was good quality as well as quantity there. And it was standing room only at our seminar sessions," said Roz. English UK staff also attended a third event, in Concepcion, Chile.
English UK's 2016 fair for the Latin American region will be held in Mexico, and further details will be released in the very near future.
View the English UK Fair, Santiago image gallery and facebook photo album.
Notes to Editors