Forums v trade shows – which is right for me?

What the ‘F’ is a Forum, I hear you say…

Maybe you know it as ‘speed dating’, a ‘hosted buyer event’, ‘summit’, ‘exchange’, ‘one-on-one meetings event’, but the premise is all the same. Very senior ‘buyers’ (in BOND’s case world-class architects and designers. To call them buyers does not do them justice, but forgive us while we explain) are hand-selected, pre-qualified and personally invited to attend a multi-day business retreat at a luxury resort where they network, attend AIA-accredited seminars and, crucially, meet suppliers (building and interiors product manufacturers) in a series of pre-organised one-on-one meetings. The buyers attend free-of-charge, giving up their time and enthusiasm to the suppliers who pay to attend for the opportunity to meet them.

BOND Events are the true pioneers of the one-to-one meetings forum in the architecture and design world. Being the original doesn’t necessarily make us the best – we’ll let you decide about that. But one thing that has always singled BOND out from the competition is the quality of decision maker you’ll meet here. And the fact that we deliver what we promise. And that will never change.

You will only meet the most senior and influential project leaders at a BOND event and every single one of them must show us a portfolio of live, confirmed projects or they can’t come. BOND specialise in events for the architecture and design community only, with programs focussing on the most thriving sectors. If major commercial, interior, high-end single family, multifamily residential and hospitality projects are important to your business, these are the people you need in your life and you won’t meet them anywhere else.

So, now we’re a bit clearer on who you can expect to meet at a BOND event, let’s explain what a ‘one-to-one meetings forum’ actually is and what it isn’t.

The first thing to get straight is that it’s not a trade show. We’ve lost count of the number of architecture and design trade shows out there – you probably have too.

BOND forums are very different to trade shows and conferences. Here’s how:

  1. You will only meet proper decision makers at BOND: no juniors, no stand-ins, no time-wasters. So, they’re different to lunch and learns too.
  2. You know exactly who’s coming before the event starts. Quite a change from just hoping someone interesting might walk by your booth. And walk by they will.
  3. You get a guaranteed number of one-to-one meetings with the buyers of your choice – hence the ‘one-to-one meetings’ forum.
  4. An abundance of natural, quality networking outside of the meetings programme means there is time and opportunity to meet everyone else too. With such a number and quality of senior project leaders in one place, you won’t want to miss anybody.
  5. You are all together at a luxury resort for 3 days – away from project and studio pressures, so you’ll find these decision makers more relaxed and open here so you can have better conversations. It’s a real community and in terms of project business, being part of it is an absolute game-changer.
  6. Preparation is minimal: you don’t need to build a booth or ship tonnes of product. Just bring yourself and a genuine interest in the person in front of you. This isn’t just about sales pitches – it’s about making connections and deepening friendships. The business will come.

Here’s a little infographic which should help explain how the whole thing works:

And an explainer video to make it even more real:

Getting clearer?

BOND designed the one-to-one business forum to be the most productive 3 days you can have as a project professional – buyer or supplier. So, for architects and designers it’s about a year’s worth of information gathering and networking with just one day out of the office (they run Thursday night to Sunday). The AIA-accredited seminars also form an official part of an architect or designers Personal Development Program.

For manufacturers, vendors and suppliers – whichever you prefer to call yourselves, a BOND Event will help you to make some of the most valuable connections of your career, to understand what the project leaders need and to get yourself and your products into the hearts and minds of the people who specify for major projects in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.

So, when planning your architecture trade shows for 2023, check out BOND’s forums, ask us who’s coming and make your own mind up. Trade shows have their place, we attend them too, but if you want more than just leads and want to start real, meaningful relationships that will stoke your pipelines for years to come, BOND will not disappoint.

You can find the list of upcoming events here. Or read on for an overview of each of our programs that we run every year, so you can decide which is right for you.

Upcoming BOND Programs

Residential Projects

BOND Multi
April 13-16, 2023
You’ll meet: America’s top Multifamily Architects and Developers

BOND Custom
October 20-23, 2022
October 19-22, 2023
You’ll meet: America’s most in-demand Luxury Home Architects

Hospitality Projects

BOND Five Star (USA)
May 11-14, 2023
You’ll meet: North America’s leading Five Star Hotel Designers

BOND Diseñotel
May 11-14, 2023
You’ll meet: Latin America’s leading Hospitality Designers

BOND Five Star (EMEA)
December 10-13, 2022
October 12-15, 2023
You’ll meet: EMEA’s leading Five Star Hotel Designers

Commercial Projects

Arc Interiors
September 22-25, 2022
September 21-24, 2023
You’ll meet: Interior Design Principals from the Top 100 Architecture Firms in North America

Arc US
November 17-20, 2022
November 2-5, 2023
You’ll meet: Principal Architects from the Top 100 Architecture Firms in North America

Arc Middle East
December 10-13, 2022
February 9-12, 2024
You’ll meet: The most influential Architects and Designers in the Middle East

How do I join?

To sign up as a supplier, you purchase a meetings package. Everything (except flights) is included: three nights accommodation, airport transfers, all meals and contacts book to take home.

Prices are based on the number of guaranteed, 30 minute business meetings you’d like to have. BUT remember, we all stay ‘under one roof’ for the duration of the event, meaning you can meet everyone else over breakfast, lunch, dinner or a cocktail by the pool.

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