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The Main Event: How to Use Exhibitions to Your Advantage

by Lisa Rose November 20, 2016

The Main Event: How to Use Exhibitions to Your Advantage

Whether you’re a fully-fledged company, a team of massage therapists or a lone ranger, you can get in on the exhibition action. At best, exhibiting at events can be fun, sociable and lucrative in terms of future business. At worst, they can be tiring and competitive, but this is par for the course. The point is that you are putting yourself in a position where people will notice you, and that’s what counts.

There are many marketing tactics for massage therapists, but exhibiting your services when you have the chance can yield better results than many others. Because you’re part of the massage and holistic therapies industry, it might seem like the best idea to get your foot in the door with one of the many exhibitions and conferences that this industry offers. Yet one of the bonuses of working in massage is that you don’t always need to be offering a ‘relevant’ product or service to be welcomed on board. Why not see what local exhibitions or conferences are coming up in your area and contact them as far in advance as possible to offer your services at their event? Even if the event is not one specifically tailored towards massage or other holistic therapies, things like ‘relaxation stations’ are always going to be popular.

Big events can mean a very long day, so attendees are often jumping at the chance to experience a taster of something generally considered a luxury at a cheap price, if not free. You can even offer your services to exhibition staff – they’re likely to need it even more and are surely as much a part of your potential client base as the conference attendees! 

Is the event worth your time and effort?

If you’re thinking of getting in on a non-holistic event, check out how popular the event is likely to be by researching its reputation and history online. Find out how many exhibitors are likely to be there – if you can find out how many tickets have been sold, even better. Depending on your powers of persuasion, you may be able to set up without paying to be an official exhibitor, if you pitch your services as an offering for the other exhibitors and staff as well as the attendees. With massage being an added bonus rather than the focus of the event, you will probably be (and have) no competition.

Likewise, if you’re paying to exhibit at a holistic event, try to find out how much competition you will have and whether the fees are justifiable. The obvious choices may not always be the most profitable; if you sign up for an event like the Mind Body Spirit Festival, you know that you may well be able to attract more customers but there is likely to be a lot more competition. On the plus side, if you’re confident that your massage skills are a cut above the rest, you’ll no doubt reel in a few more customers with a quick demo.

Why does this approach bring you new customers?

On-site massage is a much more practical way of promoting your services than dropping leaflets through doors, putting up marketing materials in your salon or on your website. The proof is in the pudding, so with a practical demonstration half the battle is won. You don’t need to convince anyone to part with the full price of a treatment before they know whether you’re good at what you do. At a busy exhibition you may well have people queuing for a taster session, especially if it’s a free massage – and the chances are they will be back shortly with colleagues in tow! This is another great reason to attend exhibitions – with so many businesses or their representatives attending, your word-of-mouth factor is much bigger. You may find that you can secure a regular gig at a local business based on this. If you’re very lucky you might even find that you’re having to turn down work after an event!

Once you have a potential customer there on the chair or table, they will instantly be much more relaxed than if you were giving them a sales pitch, so they’ll be much more receptive to your friendly chat about your products and services.

Choose your equipment (and your presentation) wisely

If you’re already a mobile therapist you may have this covered. Some massage therapists find it easier to attend events with a massage chair rather than a table, dependent on what kind of treatments you plan to offer, and also dependent on how much space you’ve been allocated. Often attendees are dressed in suits or business attire and they may feel awkward laying on a table at an event – it’s less practical than sitting on a chair and removing a jacket. For this reason chair massage is a very popular therapy for events and corporate office bookings. If you don’t already have one, there are lightweight, portable chairs on the market that make for a very comfortable and convenient massage experience and demonstrating your massage therapies in this way makes it easy for you to extend your client base to local businesses in the area.

Don’t forget to update and bring along your promotional materials. If you are a company, you can promote with free items such as t-shirts or other branded items. If you have proper uniform, you will stand out more as a professional. People will remember your image as much as your therapy skills, and if you put them on a substandard, uncomfortable piece of equipment you will be undoing all of your hard work before it starts. Lastly, even if you don’t mean it… smile! 

Lisa Rose
Lisa Rose


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Massage Table Size Guide

Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!

A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.

The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because

  1.  They are smaller in size (normally around 61cms wide) and as such have less materials
  2. They are sold by specialist retailers who also sell anything else they can import and turn a profit on. As such they just buy the cheapest massage tables they can find in China. They go for smaller sizes as they are cheaper.

Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.


The Width of the Massage Table:

Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.

Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.

Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.

Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.

If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:

Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.

measuring the width of a massage table

Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.

The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.

You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.


The Height Of the Massage Table

Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.

A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:

1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.

The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.

You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!

There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.

1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):

If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.

2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):

The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.


Massage Table Shape:

The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.

1. Rectangle shaped with square corners 

This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.

2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners

Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.


3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient 

A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.

This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.


4. Hour glass shaped with sharp gradient
Same as point above but instead of the it gradually going from wide to narrow, the massage table changes quickly from normal width to narrow width so people of very short stature can get in close.
5. Oval Shaped

 The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.

oval massage table


Have any questions or comments about anything above? Please let us know in the comments below!