Sunday, May 12, 2013

Meet Richard Spencer from UBookRental UK

Richard Spencer has extensive experience in the events sector. He's worked for a number of firms in his ten year career, during the last four of which he was managing events for large firms. Recently he launched UbookRental, of which he is a part owner. UBookRental's business involves hiring out iPads and iPad stands to businesses exhibiting in the UK. Richard's goal is to expand out to other areas in the event hire market.

1. What made you decide to switch over from your job as an event organizer to supplying event equipment?

It was all an accident really; in fact, I fell into my job as an event organizer by accident as I had experience in nightclub events during my student years. After a few years running events, I found myself handling more of the logistics. There are creatives who do very good work with custom display signage, and a lot of corporate clients do the signage in-house, too, which made it difficult for someone like me to provide much input in that respect. I felt more at home with sales and logistics, so I ended up handling hires. Last year I made the decision to make the move to help setup and run UbookRental.

2. What made you choose iPads in particular?

We noticed a lot of our customers needed interactive display stands for their events, and there was a lack of choice available for hire at the time. There are a few different companies hiring out display stands, but none of them offer truly sought-after stands. Also, with my experience with exhibition kiosk design and supply, I was unable to really understand what the clients wanted and help build a range that will truly benefit them.

Also, the iPad is a very robust device: it can be used for registrations, website demonstrations, electronic brochures, customer feedback, audience polling, etc. In fact, the possibilities are endless.

3. Since your launch last year, how has your business developed?

Coming into this company with prior industry experience meant that I could leverage my contacts and get going almost immediately. I got my first "soft" order before even launching the company. Having contacts helps greatly because we have a constant stream of revenue. Every small business is tough to grow; we’ve had to put in a lot of money into this, and we’ve noticed that almost every SME is very price-conscious. There has been a lot of competition, too, as lots of small businesses set up to carve a slice of the business. We had to self-finance everything ourselves as well, because banks just aren't willing to lend unless you have a proven track record. We had an occasion where a bank was confident in us enough to offer to buy shares in our company yet unwilling to offer us a loan.

4. What are some of the benefits of iPad hire from UBookRental?

Well, there are a number of reasons--first and foremost is obviously cost. We supply upwards of 60 iPads to corporate clients in some instances. Clients would have to spend £24K if they were to buy iPads, but if they rent for their one-day event, they can usually do so for just £1200. So the cost savings are huge. On top of that we have in-house techs who can help set up the iPads to meet their needs.

Even for small rentals, there are added benefits. We can help the customer set up the iPad and iPad stand to work for their event. There are myriad solutions for website demonstrations, for instance. But you can't always use a conventional web browser to do this. You'd need a purpose built kiosk app that will display your website and ONLY your website so that visitors to your trade show booth don't exit the app or launch the Twitter or YouTube app by following a link. We configure the iPads to work to the customers' specs to ensure the iPad works well and the event runs smoothly.

5. Based on your experience, what's the most important thing to get right when setting up a display stand?

Make sure you understand the purpose of having the display stand. Is it to increase sales? Is it meant to grab leads (contact details)? Does it need to demonstrate your website/app/product lines? It's essential to understand your goals first and foremost and then build a solution around there. Your goal will largely revolve around the type of event, too.

For instance, an exhibitor at a consumer event like a video games conference may be more interested in lead generation, and because of the large footfall it may be best to simply set up a few kiosks to grab email addresses. For a trade show with business owners attending for supply, it may be more useful to have your website/brochure or full product line on display. The kiosk should be used as a support tool for your presentation so you can walk your visitors through your product range.

Thanks, Richard!

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