Managing the European calendar and what it means for your sales

Travelling to Europe in May

by: Christelle Damiens


As an exporter to Europe or as you are getting ready to start investigating the European market, there are few things you need to know about the Month of May.

May is a month full of public holidays throughout Europe whether it is religious (Ascension); the celebration of Spring or a historical date such as Labor Day (1st of May in several EU countries) or the 8th of May marking the end of WWII celebrated by the French.

So it means a few things for Australian exporters to Europe:

So before you plan your trip to a specific European country, check when are their public holidays. Otherwise, you will struggle to obtain meetings and won’t make the most of your trip.

The normal practice throughout Europe is to start arranging your meetings 6 weeks in advance. It will suit the Germans as well as the Italians although the Italians might find it a bit early!

This is a safe practice if you already know the companies and the persons you are targeting. If you are starting to target a European country for the first time, and your product or brand is unknown there, the process will take much long you need at least three months to make the initial contact and convince prospective clients or partners they should meet you.

Racing to finish off projects before the European Summer slow down time

May is the time to accelerate any business discussion you had in Europe throughout the year before the business goes into limbo in July and August.

Your objective should be to sign a distribution agreement, close a deal or formalise a partnership by the end of June before everything slows down in July! Otherwise, you are at risk of your European business partner postponing things to September!

Of course in terms of sales you are losing months! As a small business, we can’t afford to do that.

Preparing for Trade Shows

The European Trade Show season starts from the end of August and will last until early December. That is when most major European trade shows happen.

In May, it means you already have submitted your application to exhibit, and it has been accepted. You should just be discussing the location in the hall at the latest.

Now you need to get organised marketing wise: what is your stand going to look like, which message is going to be prominent this year. It is a good time to determine what marketing material you will have available for the shows.

I’d recommend to find a European printer and get them to print it locally and have it delivered to the European Union. Too many times, we want to deliver brochures to a distributor for a show, they are shipped from Australia and customs charges the distributor for import duties!

In May, you should already have sorted out your accommodation, especially if we are talking about an International Fair. You can then get the best deals for the team.

To manage that planning for our clients, we usually set-up a retro-planning document with a checklist, if you would like to get a copy of it contact me on

If you find it hard to arrange meetings with European clients, read my blog next week where I’ll share plenty of tips with you. Watch this space!