Tips When Attending Trade Shows

Trade shows can be an excellent opportunity for you and your business, whether you are an entrepreneur or you’re representing the company you work for. Thousands of people set up trade show booths and trade show displays across the country at a huge variety of industry events. However, many people don’t know how to take advantage of the opportunities a trade show offers. Some plan on simply attending, setting up their trade show booth, and then staying there all day hoping to attract new business.

Manning a trade show display is only part of the reason you should be attending a trade show. The other vendors at a trade show can provide you with a wealth of new information and contacts in your industry; all accessible in the same room on the same day—this is the unparalleled attraction of a trade show for your business.

If you plan to attend a trade show, make sure you are not the only person there representing your company, even if you are a small business owner with few employees or a sole proprietorship. You will need at least one person to staff your trade show booth, and another to walk the floor taking in the other trade show displays.

If necessary, get your spouse or a good friend to come with you and give them a crash course on how to handle your trade show booth while you check out the other vendors – and only do so when it is slow so you don’t miss important business opportunities. When you make reservations for the hotel you will stay at during the show, try to find a room as close as possible to the actual location—preferably within walking distance. That way, you won’t have to bring anything with you to the venue other than the materials for your trade show display.

Before you attend a trade show, go over the list of vendors who plan to put up trade show booths. Make lists of the vendors you must see, the vendors you would like to see, and those you can live without seeing. You may even be able to schedule appointments with your top priority vendors.

Research the companies and determine ahead of time what you would like to find out from each trade show display and what your goals are regarding each vendor: are they competition, or a potential contact? If they are a potential contact, how would they specifically benefit your company? Have questions ready to ask vendors to save yourself time walking the floor.

Another good time saving strategy is to obtain a map and a directory of the trade show when you arrive on location, before the show begins. Use the map to plan your route, and check your prioritized list of vendors against the directory to find out whether any vendors have been added or dropped out.

During the trade show, be active in your quest for information. Don’t feel bad about passing by trade show booths that don’t interest you. Like you, they are attending the trade show to generate new business, and they don’t want to waste time talking to someone who isn’t a potential customer.

Visit your targeted trade show displays, engage in a dialogue with the vendors, and ask questions. If the trade show booth offers handouts, samples or other materials, take only those you actually want to find out more about. It can be difficult to tote a loose stack of glossy brochures, catalogs, and bulky product samples around a busy trade show floor.

If possible, arm yourself with an empty briefcase or duffel bag to stow materials. Use your time wisely to gather intelligence on your competition and make new industry contacts that will benefit your company.

When the trade show ends, especially if it is a multiple-day event, take the time to make notes and organize the materials you gathered before you leave the event. If you need to mail reports, brochures or other materials to your colleagues, prepare the mailings right away while “who gets what” is still fresh in your mind.

Make sure to store your trade show display safely so nothing is damaged and you can find everything you need the following day. When you return from the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you have made—and start preparing for next year’s trade show!

Introduction to Trade Show Exhibits

When you are planning for your next trade show exhibit you should look back to when you were only browsing the many different booths, exhibits, and displays. Remember what type of exhibits got your attention. Your presentation should also draw the crowd.

Before you just rush out and purchase displays for your trade show exhibition you must take into consideration many different aspects of how you desire your presentation to look and feel. You know you want it to speak to the potential customers that are passing by and hopefully bring them over so you can speak with them. Your exhibit must get their attention so will they walk over, and then you can get their undivided attention.

You must first decide which type of exhibit will be the best to present your products, services and your company image. You should also consider your budget. No matter what your budget you can find the perfect trade show exhibits that will convey your message with the image that you want others to see.

The size of your trade show exhibit can either make or break you. If you have one to large, the exhibit will be overwhelming and if you choose one to small it will look overcrowded and cluttered. The most common sizes for trade show exhibits are 10 feet by 10 feet, 20 feet by 20 feet, and 10 feet by 20 feet. Within this size limitation, you must also choose from pop-up designs, panels or complete Truss trade show display booths.

In the 10 feet by 10 feet size, you can find some great displays in various styles and designs. With the Clever 10 foot panel, you can choose from Backlit Header, lights, the color that you prefer for the lower panel and a different one for the upper panel. The benefits of using these panels are that they are sturdy and durable but very lightweight and easy to transport. The average weight of these panels is around 130 pounds.  The Genius I 10 foot panel you can also choose whether you want lights, the counter base color, Counter Laminate Color, the color of the lower panel and the upper panel. The features of this type of panel is that it is a folding panel display system, has 6 upper hinged panels, 6 lower hinged panels, 1 backlit header and lights, 1 alcove counter top and 1 alcove counter base. This wonderful panel is very impressive for all types of displays and normally weighs around 200 pounds.

If you prefer a larger size like the 20 feet by 20 feet, you should like at the features that are included with pop-up displays and Truss display booths. The best pop-up display of this size is the Trilogy 20′ x 20′ Island Pop up Trade Show Display. The features of this unique display are that it is in actuality three trade show booths in one. It has the 10-foot wide back-to-back exhibiting area that creates a triangular or star shape. If gives you the ability to present your products or different aspects of your company all the way around the display. You will also be able to choose the color and fabric that you desire along with a case to counter conversion kit and the colors and fabrics of this kit, lights, shelf package, Backlit Header Package and Reconfiguration Panels. 20 feet by 20 feet Truss booths come in a few unique styles such as the Cassiopeia, which features a steel construction; high shine silver color, 4 tabletops, and the ability to assemble with just four screwdrivers that are included. The Centaurus features the same quality steel construction, the high shine silver color, 24 silver spotlights, and the ability to add tabletops in either light wood or silver in color. The Neptune is sure to grab attention with features like a modular system that is quick and easy to assemble. The Jupiter is another modern and innovative display which gives you great features such as high shine silver color, quality steel construction, 6 tabletops in either light wood or silver, 8 silver spot lights, and easy to assemble with screw drivers that are included. The Vega is similar to other Truss booths but is an eye catching and appealing booth with options for tabletops, colors, and design.

The 10 feet by 20 feet size of displays gives you styles and designs to choose from such as pop-display’s, panels, and Truss booths. All of these also have many unique styles and designs that are sure to aid you in presenting your products, your company, or your services in a manner that is not only unique, stylish and original, but with prices within your budget.

Tips When Displaying at Trade Shows

Almost all products being sold in the market today have already been sold before by their competitors but what makes other products a hit despite their being new in the market? Most entrepreneurs say it is a matter of marketing your products to your target market.

Marketing can be done in various ways depending on the expertise of the marketer. However, one common way to market a new product is through participation in trade shows. Trade shows are held at any time of the year and they do attract buyers and prospective customers.

There are general trade shows but you can choose from niche trade shows depending on your area of business. Companies join trade shows not so much for actual selling but most importantly for showing off their products and for the possibility of getting bulk orders during the trade show.

A company or a sole proprietor planning to join a trade show should take note of the following:

1. Able personnel to man the trade show booth. A trade show is not just an ordinary selling venue but it is a venue where prospective clients abound so make sure that you send your best personnel to man the booth. Some companies take trade shows for granted and allow inept personnel to watch the booth. The people who are put in charge of your trade show booth can make or break your product. A good staff with public relations skill can attract more clients to your products. It is also important to instruct your booth personnel to dress properly depending on the venue of the trade show. Business attire will always be safe.

2. Invite visitors to your booth. The booth personnel must be trained and instructed to invite visitors to the booth. Most visitors walk away from trade show booth when they see the staff busy with their own thing. Tell your staff the main reason why they were assigned to the trade show and that is to get as many visitors to see your products. Booth personnel should be able to answer questions from the visitors because the visitors may already be potential customers. A booth demo will catch the attention of visitors especially if the demo is useful to them.

3. Prepare your brochures, leaflets and business cards and make sure you do not run out of them.  Always expect plenty of people to visit trade shows so never be caught without your marketing tools. Imagine if a potential client asks for your brochure or your card and then you cannot give him anything just because you did not prepare for an influx of people. It is better to have plenty of left over marketing materials after the show rather than miss the opportunity of showing off what you have to offer.

4. Keep a visitors’ book. Most companies who join trade shows require visitors who get their free marketing materials to sign up in a guestbook. However, only a few of these companies will communicate with the people who signed in their guestbook. Be creative and use the guestbook as a sourcebook for potential clients. The people who visited your booth and who got your materials are definitely interested in your products or else they will not even glance at your booth. Why not take advantage of their contact information?  Mail them a thank you letter along with more information about the product and where they can buy the products.

5. Promote your products but do not be too pushy. Visitors are often turned off by very eager booth personnel who call out to the visitors using their loudest voice. No one would want to visit your booth if your personnel are boisterous. Allow the visitors to go inside your booth and look at the items you have on display but always keep a welcoming smile. Entertain their questions and try to respond to them accordingly. Never shout your words of welcome to the visitors since they might feel defensive all of a sudden and decide against looking at your products.

Anatomy Of A Successful Trade Show Exhibit

A trade show, also known as a merchandise show or market week, is an exhibition or a business gathering organized by companies that showcase and demonstrate their new products and services and also their latest offerings. Trade shows also provide opportunities for companies to meet their customers, to learn new trends and to identify new prospects.

Trade shows are not open to the public and can only be attended by company representatives, members of the trade and members of the press. One advantage of holding a trade show is that it shortens the time it takes for companies to look for prospective customers. But the major disadvantage is that customers and prospects pay little attention to the many exhibitors and their products due to the many distractions and the busy atmosphere inherent in trade shows.

Exhibitors can make effective use of trade show displays in trade shows to direct visitors to their main display area. Trade show displays are used to give visitors a better understanding or appreciation of the products or services being marketed. Although exhibitors are only supposed to put their trade show displays within the confines of their designated trade show exhibit area, exhibitors also display items in strategic areas of the fair grounds. Trade show displays often used include banner stands, counters and cabinets, panel display etc. that clearly display the company logo, basic company information and company slogan.

The trade show booth is an important component of the trade show display as it aims to enhance the brand and marketing experience for the visitor. It facilitates valuable direct face-to-face contact between the companies and their prospective customers. The whole booth set-up includes counters kiosks, lighting, flooring, literature racks, banner stands and high impact graphics, with the booth design, the staffing and the handouts the main factors to a successful trade show booth.

Many companies prefer to rent pre-owned trade show exhibits and displays rather than to buy or to create them from scratch to save on the trade show booth construction costs and also on the expense of warehousing the displays after the trade show is over.

Trade shows demand a lot of work and effort, and exhibitors have to plan well in advance so as to make the trade show a success. It is because any successful trade show offers exhibitors with a very valuable opportunity to build relationships face-to-face with their clients and to close lucrative business deals.

International Pizza Expo, a pizzeria business-to-business trade show owned by Emerald Expositions, will launch a new two-day trade show at the Atlantic City Convention Center that will focus on pizzerias and Italian restaurants.

“This is in no way a replacement to Pizza Expo for East Coast pizzeria operators and their staffs, but more of an opportunity to let them be a part of this regional two-day experience,” said Bill Oakley, group show director – Food Group. “Most of our eastern U.S. attendees have two days of travel in order to attend the Expo, making it difficult to attend the entire four-day show, which would keep them from their pizzeria for an entire week.

The 2017 Pizza & Pasta Northeast show will incorporate a blend of food demonstrations, contests and educational sessions to augment an exhibit hall showcasing top suppliers for both of these strong foodservice segments.

The show will be held Oct. 17-18, 2017, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Atlantic City was chosen for several reasons, according to show officials. including its central location on the East Coast, access to the largest concentration of pizzerias and Italian restaurants in the U.S., a top-notch convention center and affordable first-class hotel and dining options.

The 2017 Pizza & Pasta Northeast show will deliver a one-stop shop exhibit hall where Italian and pizza-concept restaurant owners can meet face-to-face with leading national and regional industry suppliers. Attendees will also have access to food demonstrations that will focus on new and traditional, Italian ingredients, flavors and products — allowing attendees to stay on top of consumers’ growing desire for pizza and pasta menu items. The education program will spotlight current menu trends, as well as top-level business and marketing education sessions.

Show organizers are looking to integrate a strong pasta component as part of the experience for both Italian restaurateurs and pizzeria owners and operators.

“No trade show would be the same without a few top-notch, world-class competitions,” said Pete Lachapelle, vice president and publisher of Pizza Expo and Pizza Today magazine.

He added, “We’ll be on a quest to find the perfect combination of pasta, sauce and other ingredients that sets a signature pasta dish apart from the rest of the competition.

Lachapelle said, “Our newest cook-off will pit 20 of the world’s best pasta perfectionists against each other to find who’s the ‘Best of the Northeast.’ And as most everyone knows, pizza in this country was born in the Northeast, so we’re proud to announce our partnership with Antimo Caputo and Orlando Foods to hold the annual U.S. ‘Caputo Cup’ competition at our Northeast show. At the third annual U.S. competition, contestants will be invited to compete in two categories: Traditional Neapolitan and New York Style.”

The New England region combined with Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. is home to more than 28,000 Italian restaurants and pizzerias, making this region number one in the U.S. in terms of the total number of pizzerias and Italian restaurants. This means one-third of the country’s operators, generating 30 percent of the industry’s revenue, are located in one tightly condensed geographic area.

“This event is a natural progression and one that we hope will allow more restaurateurs and pizzeria operators the opportunity to experience some of the things they have been missing for years now at International Pizza Expo. Adding some new twists to this new event should make it a very compelling event to attend,” Oakley said.

International Pizza Expo returns March 27-30 to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Nearly 4,800 Attendees Flock to 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Salt Lake City

August 22, 2016

Close to 4,800 association professionals and industry partners took part in the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, held last week in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Attendees took part in more than 120 education sessions, two keynotes and five Game Changers, as well as 20-plus OpenSpace pop-ups and events. ASAE Foundation’s The Classic event also sold out for the second year in a row. 

The final attendance breakdown includes: 2,669 executives, 1,739 exhibitors, 381 others, including guests, spouses, press, vendors, and staff, for a grand total of 4,789.

A total of 424 companies representing 679 booths exhibited in the expo hall, which resulted in a strong ratio of 60 percent buyers (association staff) to 40 percent sellers (industry partners).

“Our attendees loved the greater variety of learning opportunities this year. Both keynotes received rare standing ovations from our attendees. Mark and Scott Kelly provided insight on leadership lessons learned in space, and Derreck Kayongo stressed the importance of paying attention to details and to make revolutionary connections in work and life. Everyone left inspired and ready to implement new strategies and ideas,” said ASAE President and CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE.

During the opening keynote, Captains Mark and Scott Kelly discussed their childhood inspirations, experiences as U.S. Navy fighter pilots, lessons learned as NASA astronauts, and revelations from Scott’s year on the International Space Station.

They also reflected on the importance of doing the hard things, keen focus on what you can control, and other leadership lessons learned while flying in combat, dealing with loss, and traveling in space.

During the closing keynote, Dr. Derreck Kayongo, CEO at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, gave advice on how association professionals should observe the world around them and leverage their skills and vision to overcome impossible odds and impact the lives of others.

The talk was illustrated by Kayongo’s own story of transformation from his childhood in Uganda, to a refugee in Kenya, to U.S. citizen building a multi-million dollar venture called the Global Soap Project.

Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning, five Game Changers provided diverse perspectives from outside the association community included: Matt Tenney, CEO, Wanna Save the World: Veronika Scott, founder and CEO, The Empowerment Plan; Tan Le, CEO of bioinformatics firm EMOTIV; Robert Stephens, Founder Geek Squad and former CTO Best Buy; Charles Best, founder & CEO of K-12 micro-philanthropy site

ASAE raised $30,000 for the Utah Food Bank, which will helps provide 100,000 meals for the community. The Utah Food Bank has served the community for more than 110 years and distributed more than 31 million meals to the entire state.

The 2017 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition will be Aug. 12-15 in Toronto, Ontario.

Avoid Serving These 7 Types of Food at a Trade Show

August 21, 2016
Sofia Troutman
Sofia is the Customer Engagement and Industry Relations Manager for ]]>Skyline Exhibits]]>. Sofia has more than a decade of experience with both B2B and consumer packaged goods companies and an MBA from the University of Arizona with an emphases in marketing and entrepreneurship. 

We are observing an emerging trend with exhibitors.  More and more are moving away from having the generic candy dish to serving “real” food and offering beverages to their visitors at the booth. From something as simple as offering a branded bottle of water, coffee or tea, higher end chocolate, sandwiches or even a full sit down meal at some shows in Europe. People get tired and hungry walking a show.  Many people travel from distant places to attend, and there are few things that are better when you are jet lagged and tired than free food.

There are some things that while great at a college party, are not a good idea to offer at a business event.

Messy foods. No one wants to get ketchup or ice cream on their business suit or to be seen by a prospective business contact with cilantro on their teeth.   Serving fajitas, hot dogs and spaghetti are probably not a good fit.   One year we served ice cream in our booth.   While people loved it, there are still stories about how messy it was and the difficult cleanup issues we had.

Smelly Foods. I love garlic and seafood.  Many people love fish sauce and other foods that are fabulous to eat … but may not be so great to smell when you are not eating them.  A big objective at events is to make new connections and have in depth business conversations.   Questioning your breath, or whether your hands smell like roast beef, are not confidence inspiring when you are trying to decide whether or not to introduce yourself.

Controversial foods or beverages. Yes, it is likely that serving shots or martinis at the show can get you a lot of talk value, and possibly many more leads.   However, you may want to consider how your clients and other industry contacts may interpret that choice.  If your brand image is pretty relaxed, high end, or you work for a company that produces the product, then it may be the perfect offering.  However, make sure it does not conflict with your messaging at the show or distract from the product or service you are trying to promote.

Dangerous Foods. It should go without saying that anything that requires you setting the food on fire should probably be out.  Yes, that means no bananas Foster, sorry.  However, you may also want to avoid anything that requires cooking food at high temperatures.   Fire regulations are very strict at Trade Shows (check out this ]]>Exhibitor Online article]]>).  There is a good reason for that, you have a very large number of people in an enclosed and somewhat unfamiliar space.   You don’t want anyone to get hurt, or worse yet to cause a fire.

Highly allergenic. This could easily fall into the dangerous category if you serve peanuts to the wrong person.   Other possible foods to avoid would be shellfish, tree nuts, fish, milk and eggs. For a more detailed list of food allergens visit the ]]>World Allergy Organization]]>. Even if allergies are not an issue, you may want to be mindful of food sensitivities or trends such as gluten or lactose intolerance when planning your menu as well.  In some of our events we have found we get much better attendance when people know that we will have food options that will be sensitive of their food needs and preferences.

Very expensive. You don’t have to serve caviar for your food expenses to exceed your budget at a trade show. Note that any food not regularly included in the catering menu provided by the convention center or host hotel is likely to be significantly more expensive than what you would pay outside of the show. Also, be aware that if you plan to bring your own food to the show you are likely to be charged for corking fees which may make you question  the importance of a particular brand of coffee or water. Corking fees may include flat service fees per booth, per day as well as corking fees per item. Candy Adams has a great article on Exhibitor Magazine, “]]>Food on the Floor]]>” that outlines how to minimize expenses. Be sure to contact the Convention Services vendor for your particular show well in advance to get estimates.

Not brand appropriate. The food does not need to be controversial to fit into the “not brand appropriate” category. For example if you are a premium provider of a particular product or service, it may not be brand appropriate for you to offer sub sandwiches at your trade show. However, if your brand is playful it may be just fine to serve custom cake-pops at your booth.Here is a great ]]>site]]> with some fun bite sized ideas you may want to consider for your next event.

Once you have noted these potential pitfalls, have fun planning your menu! There are few things as effective in forging a relationship as being able to break bread with them. So go ahead and start planning a menu for your next event and let us know how it goes!

TSNN Awards Speaker Line Up Includes ESPN NFL Analyst, Miss America, Trade Show Thought Leaders

August 18, 2016

When the ]]>TSNN Awards]]> kicks off Oct. 28-30 in Atlantic City, N.J., attendees will have the opportunity to hear from not only a bevy of high-profile trade show industry speakers, but also a retired NFL star quarterback and ESPN analyst, a top-ranked talk show host and the reigning Miss America.

Ron Jaworksi, nicknamed “Jaws”, will be the keynote speaker during the TSNN Awards Education Conference Oct. 29 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

“Meet AC is very proud to have Ron Jaworski, an accomplished NFL quarterback now businessman and television analyst, speaking to TSNN,” said Jim Wood, CEO of Meet AC.

He added, “Ron is a coveted motivational speaker and can provide great insight to the current NFL season. He owns a variety of businesses including several golf courses in New Jersey and resides here in New Jersey with his family,

The Los Angeles Rams drafted Jaworski in the second round of the 1973 NFL Draft. After four years with the Rams, Jaworski joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 1977. 

Until Jaworski suffered a broken leg at St. Louis during the 13th game of the 1984 season, he had started 116 straight NFL games, a record for most consecutive starts. “Jaws “held that record until 1999, when Brett Favre broke it.

Now, Jaworski is on ESPN as a NFL analyst role that includes appearances on “Sunday NFL Countdown”, “Monday Night Countdown”, “NFL Matchup,” NFL-branded specials, “Mike & Mike in the Morning”, “Pardon the Interruption”, and other platforms and shows throughout the year.

At the TSNN Awards event, he will be speaking on his leadership from gridiron to the boardroom as the owner of a professional sports team, a business relationship company and five golf courses. 

The roots of Miss America originated in Atlantic City back in 1921 as a way to extend the summer season into September, and TSNN Awards attendees will have the opportunity to hear from Miss America, who will be crowned the month before, at the brunch Oct. 30 at the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel.

“The newly crowned 2017 Miss America will be able to offer insights to her whirlwind journey leading up to the pageant,” Wood said.

The Miss America organization also is the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women. 

Radio Broadcaster Harry Hurley, who will be emceeing the TSNN Awards Gala Oct. 29 at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, started his career in the hospitality industry in Atlantic City.

“Hurley enjoyed a 10-year career as an Atlantic City Hotel Casino Executive, serving at the highest level of the casino industry,” Wood said.

He added, “Harry’s broadcasting career began on July 1, 1991, and has been on the air ever sense on WFPG 1450 AM “Hurley in the Morning.” 

The TSNN Education conference also will be jam-packed with trade show industry thought leaders and valuable sessions.

“Your Exhibitors; What You Need to Know to Keep Them”

Led by Randal Acker, President at EXHIBITOR Media Group, with panelists Diane Benson, Americas Exhibits Leader, GE Healthcare; Dominique Cook, Trade Show Manager, Marvin Windows and Doors; and Dana L. Tilghman, Senior Trade Show and Events Planner, Minitab, who will bring the exhibitor’s perspective to why they participate in certain trade shows and not others. The panel will share what is working, tools you can put into place and what needs to change to maximize the ROI for all your trade show’s stakeholders.

“Trade Show Event Technology Trends”

Led by Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Experient Jeff Fugate, this session will focus on new event technology trends that shows are utilizing. Focusing on what’s a fad and what’s something that could transform the trade show experience, the panelists, including National Retail Federation’s Mark Bogdansky and Texas Restaurant Association’s Andrea Bahr, also will discuss how they decide what technology to take a chance on.

IAEE/SISO “State of the Industry”

Moderated by TSNN President Rachel Wimberly, the chair of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Julia W. Smith, and the chair of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, Tony Calanca, will talk hot-button issues, including the importance of security at events, the shifting trade show model and the mergers and acquisitions market, among many other topics.

The TSNN Awards celebrated the top 25 fastest-growing shows for attendance and top 25 for net square footage, as well as The Expo Group’s Show Manager of the Year Awards, during a three-day weekend celebration.

More information can be found ]]>]]>.

The TSNN Awards would not be possible without the support of its incredible ]]>sponsors]]>

Bonnier Acquires Sand Sports Super Show

August 18, 2016

Bonnier Corporation, which publishes dozens of magazines including “Field and Stream”, “Outdoor Life” and “Motorcyclist”, to name a few, has acquired the Sand Sports Super Show, a sand sports trade show and consumer expo.

The acquisition solidifies Bonnier’s leadership in the off-road, sand sports and motorsports segments, complementing the company’s repertoire of r publications and events geared toward enthusiast audiences.

The Sand Sports Super Show is an annual trade show and consumer expo where thousands of sand sports fans gather in Costa Mesa, Calif., to experience the latest products and industry innovations.

Within its community, the event is fundamental in uniting and mobilizing enthusiasts, cultivating growth, and fostering safety awareness.

“Bonnier Corp. specializes in connecting high-value, passionate enthusiast audiences with our partners,” said Matt Hickman, vice president of brand strategies for Bonnier.

He added, “The addition of the Sand Sports Super Show furthers our market-segment leadership and unlocks unlimited potential for our customer groups: spectators, participants, sponsors and exhibitors.”

This acquisition is a further expansion of the Bonnier portfolio. The company acquired Family Events, a leading producer of motorsports-enthusiast events, in October 2014. Management of the Sand Sports Super Show will be folded into the Family Events division.

“When Family Events was acquired by Bonnier Corp., one of our key strategies was to seek out great events to add to our roster of shows,” said Mike Moore, president of Bonnier Corp.’s Family Events division.

He added, “The Sand Sports Super Show perfectly aligns with our strategic plan — it’s a great show with terrific partners and sponsors, and we plan to build on its success in the years to come.”

“The Sand Sports Super Show will be in good hands with a knowledgeable steward to nurture continued growth and excitement for the industry,” said Donald Murphy, founder, president and owner of the Sand Sports Super Show. “Family Events has produced exceptional motorsports entertainment for more than 30 years and continues to thrive within Bonnier Corp., so I’m confident that this new venture will propel the show into a future of further success.”

The 18th annual Sand Sports Super Show will be held at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa Sept. 16-18. Sponsors, exhibitors, participants and key stakeholders will remain, and Murphy will work with Family Events on the expo. 

The ownership transition of the Sand Sports Super Show is effective immediately. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ASAE Board Approves Budget, New Diversity + Inclusion Initiatives

August 16, 2016

Before the 2016 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition, held Aug.13-16 in Salt Lake City, the ASAE Board adopted a Diversity + Inclusion advocacy and policy model and approved new contract language for future events.

The board also received updates on the major strategic initiatives, new AssociaMetrics platform and passed the budget, which includes Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 17) Program of Work and specific projects in all areas of ASAE and the ASAE Foundation.

ASAE developed a business model that offers accountability and flexibility for D+I advocacy and policy influencing social justice issues, which will help ASAE determine what’s best for the organization and its members and will be piloted during FY17.

The board approved an Anti-Discrimination Clause for future convention center/hotel contracts to be consistent with ASAE’s policy on Diversity + Inclusion.

“The strategic initiatives ASAE continues to advance for our community are game changers, including the new XDP event scheduled to launch May 2017 and the diversity and inclusion work,” said ASAE Chair Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, FACHE, CPA, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of APICS.

He added, “The board believes these projects will benefit the association sector, engage its members, and raise the visibility on how associations’ impact in society.”

The board passed the budget and work relating to the FY17 including: Great Ideas Asia Pacific, XDP, Hybrid Membership Model, and a new learning and talent development platform. The board also received updates from the ASAE Foundation and ABSI.

“Over the past year, ASAE has progressed on a several important initiatives, including research and advocacy. The Foundation has launched a new online platform called AssociaMetrics, which provides a central point for industry benchmarking data for ASAE members. ASAE’s Advocacy team has done a tremendous job on educating policymakers on issues that impact the industry, including the new overtime rule,” said Scott D. Wiley, FASAE, CAE, president and CEO of Ohio Society of CPAs, who will become chair of the ASAE Board.

Urban Expositions Buys LeftField Media, Portfolio of Consumer-focused Events

August 16, 2016
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

Urban Expositions snagged another property for its burgeoning portfolio – LeftField Media – which has several consumer events around the United States. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will provide LeftField increased capital and infrastructure, while offering Urban Expositions, a Clarion Events Company, new expertise and market reach in B2C events.

LeftField Media was started in 2014 by New York Comic Con founder Greg Topalian and the senior leadership at Business Journals Inc. – Britton Jones, Mac Brighton, and Sharon Enright.

Clarion’s deal involves it buying out the shares of Jones, Brighton and Enright, with Topalian staying on as minority owner of the company and president.

“From the beginning, we knew LeftField Media would be a success in the marketplace, and it certainly has demonstrated that since its inception,” Jones said. “Urban Expositions and Clarion Events are well appointed to provide a strong platform to further excel the growth of the LeftField Media business.”

“LeftField Media’s seen incredible growth in under two years, and I’m very proud of the events and relationships we’ve developed,” Topalian said. “I’m excited now to see what we can do with the resources and confidence of a global event organizer at our back. I’m deeply impressed by the team at Urban Expositions and Clarion, and look forward to what we’ll build together.”

“While Clarion and LeftField look very different in size, we share a common philosophy,” said Simon Kimble, executive chairman at Clarion.

He added, “We both build successful, dynamic, and creative businesses, and we value an entrepreneurial spirit. We’re excited to foster this further at LeftField and jointly build new businesses.”

LeftField’s portfolio includes Play Fair – a family-focused celebration of toys and play built with the Toy Industry Association and brands including LEGO, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Mattel, and Cartoon Network – as well as Awesome Con – Washington D.C.’s Comic Con, which saw more than 55-percebt growth this year, drawing 50,000-plus fans and partners such as Science Channel, NASA, and the Smithsonian.

Topalian’s team at LeftField, a group of tradeshow veterans and knowledgeable fans from the communities it serves, will continue to operate the business, with Clarion bolstering LeftField Media’s ability to rapidly launch, acquire and grow new events.

Clarion operates more than 200 events in 20 countries and entered the U.S. market in 2015 through acquiring majority ownership of the Georgia-based Urban Expositions.

LeftField further amplifies Urban Expositions’ and Clarion’s reach in the world of consumer events in the U.S.

LeftField, with Clarion backing, looks to announce new events and the expansion of its current shows in the coming months.

This expansion will complement the existing consumer events currently operating across the Urban and Clarion business, which include SOFA Chicago, The Classic Auto Show, Destinations and The Classic Motor Show to name a few. 

SuperZoo Wraps Largest Show to Date at Mandalay in Las Vegas

August 15, 2016

SuperZoo, a pet retail trade exposition and conference produced by World Pet Association, recently wrapped its largest show to date at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, with a more than four percent increase in attendees and eight percent increase in companies attending over 2015, as well as nearly 1,200 exhibitors participating.

The redesigned exhibit hall, with an additional 85,000 square feet of exhibit space, saw more than 820 new products make their debut as part of the popular New Product Showcase.

More than 90 education sessions covered a wide variety of topics including: staff training, human resources, leadership, social media, customer service and marketing, among others.

Grooming and service industry education sessions were geared toward how to build your business by adding rapid growth areas including day care, boarding and dog training.

Animal wellness sessions focused on small animal care in stores and best practices geared toward birds, reptiles and fish.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson – basketball legend and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises – kicked off SuperZoo’s trade show with an inspiring keynote focusing on how he parlayed his skills and tenacity on the court into success in the business world.

“The quality and depth of SuperZoo’s speakers, education sessions, attendees and exhibitors was incredible,” says Doug Poindexter, president of WPA.

He added, “SuperZoo is continually evolving and growing to meet the needs of pet retailers as well as the trends in the industry and this year demonstrated WPA’s sustained commitment to contributing to the pet industry’s continued success.”

“We launched our product, GingerLead, three years ago at SuperZoo and have grown tremendously,” said Liz Rubenstein, founder of GingerLead and a SuperZoo 2016 exhibitor.

She added, “It was our first retail trade convention and it helped vastly expand our business; the quality of the buyers, the number of buyers and exhibiting opportunities at SuperZoo are unmatched.”

SuperZoo also crowned winners in 18 grooming categories, with Ide Kyoko of Tokyo winning Rescue Rodeo, Victor Rosado of Puerto Rico winning the Best In Show award and Catherine Opson of Dana Point, Calif., winning the Best All Around Pet Stylist award.

There were 145 registered Contestants and 226 dogs groomed during the three days of competition, with 15 countries represented and judges coming from five nations.

In addition, WPA announced the winner of its inaugural Show Us Your Good Works social media photo contest. HuggleHounds took home the honors for their program, Huggles for Heroes, which supports Warrior Canine Connection by donating a percentage of sales from selected products.

They will have $1,000 donated in their name by WPA to the National Animal Interest Alliance.

Legendary rock band, Styx, headlined a sold-out concert at House of Blues, treating SuperZoo attendees to an ievening laced with their biggest hits, including “Lady,” “Come Sail Away” and “Renegade.”

SISO Leadership Conference Features Hot-button Topics in Cleveland

August 15, 2016
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

The trials and tribulations of launching a new show, successfully leveraging digital, mapping the attendee and exhibitor journey, new tech innovation and utilizing content marketing were just some of the hot-button topics discussed at the Society of Independent Show Organizers’ Leadership Conference, held Aug. 9-11 in Cleveland, Ohio.

David Audrain, SISO’s executive director, said there were about 174 people at the event, which was on par with last year.

“We are receiving very positive comments from our members on both the content and location of this year’s SISO Leadership Conference,” Audrain said. “From the panel of experts on show launches, to the Innovation Battlefield presentations, attendees were able to walk away with valuable ideas.”

After an opening night party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the conference kicked off the next morning at the Global Center for Health Innovation.

“Finally, SISO is here in Cleveland,” said Mark Leahy, general manager of the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and the health center. … “This is wonderful to have you here.”

The traditional round of introductions in which every person in the audience introduces themselves were done and the first session was led by Destination Cleveland’s Mike Burns, who discussed bringing the Republican National Convention to the city.

Burns said there were 50,000 visitors, adding, “You just can’t get that type of lift. He added that having the convention there “changed the entire narrative about Cleveland.”

The next panel moderated by Leftfield Media’s Greg Topalian focused on the ups and downs of launching new shows with Exposition Development Company’s Stephanie Everett, nGage Events’ Phil McKay and mdg  and VP Internationals’ Vinnie Polito.

“We take our launches very seriously,” McKay said. “As the owner, I am kind of like the (private equity) guy.”

Everett said some shows succeed, and others are more challenging. One of ExpoDevCo’s wins, she added, was the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo.

“Exhibitor/attendee satisfaction was very successful,” Everett said. Polito added that conducting research before launching a show was key. “You need to understand the risk tolerance right away,” he added.

Digital sales and marketing also was a topic at the conference, with panelists such as Informa Exhibitions’ Elizabeth George talking about how her company grew its digital sponsorship revenue 4.7 times over through targeted emails, mobile ads and online banners, to name a few.

“Digital holds us accountable, because we have to deliver the metrics,” George said.

The afternoon session was an interactive one in which all of the attendees were split up into groups and asked to map either the returning or new attendee or exhibitor journeys and how organizers could solve pain points along the way.

Informa’s Dana Teague told everyone in the beginning; “We really have to look at what our customers want.”

Some pain points solved included the following:

–          during set up having people from the show team readily available on the floor to answer any questions

–          free Wi-Fi during set up, turning the AC on

–          personalize marketing for attendees

–          make sure web site has easy-to-find info

–          utilize an app to notify people of any travel/show issues

–          pre-populate forms for returning attendees/exhibitors

After a night out with live music at the local House of Blues, the next morning began with the annual SISO Innovation Battlefield, featuring five technology companies who vied to be named the top company through audience voting.

The first company up, GRIP, showed off what they called the “first artificial intelligence networking solution” that matched people based on keywords at events. Another company, insightXM, took on what it called “the very unsexy topic of data”, while third company, Stereobot, showed off 3-D, dynamic venues.

The fourth tech company was ISL, which created fan engagement experiences, such as a school bus that instead of windows had a virtual reality experience that made it seem like the kids were on Mars. The last tech company to present showed off a technology that worked through aa smartphone app and embedded digital media in sound waves.

After the audience vote, ISL ran away with bragging rights as ‘most innovative’.

The rest of the morning was packed with sessions that included John McGreary, senior vice president of Emerald Expositions, discussing ways to cut costs running a show. Some of his tips were – don’t carpet everything, ask decorator for referral programs, ask for free Wi-Fi, put conferences on the showfloor and don’t use plastic on name badges.

Content marketing is something every show needs to be paying attention to, and some of the key people from the Content Marketing Institute and Content Marketing World – Joe Pulizzi and Cathy McPhillips, as well as McGreary and Jennifer Holcomb, content director – Outdoor Retailer, were on hand to talk through what’s working for their properties.

McPhillips said that the company’s weekly Twitter Chat has been a big success. “Our community expects this,” she added. “It’s our weekly appointment with the community.”

Pulizzi said sometimes keeping up with new content is a challenge so something that they do us take the dates off of articles that were well received in the past and republish them.

The last session of the conference was a chat between Topalian and Agenda’s Aaron Levant, who talked about fulfilling a need in a sector by launching a small event that eventually grew over the years to a much larger show that was bought by Reed Exhibitions.

Levant said one of the keys to their success was “we were from the demographic they wanted to market to. It was very authentic.”

As far as what might be next, Levant said it was important to always think of “new, innovative event formats,” adding, “sometimes we do something very human and low-fi and not force a business result.”

5 Ways to Retain your Current Exhibitors

August 13, 2016
Chris Tremblay

Chris Tremblay, president of Sales and Marketing at Event Technologies,  has over 20 years of experience in the tradeshow industry.

First a few statistics on customer retention to set the stage*:

  • The cost to acquire a new customer is 5X more than to keep existing ones
  • 80% of your future revenue will come from existing customers
  • Reducing churn by 5% can increase profits 25% – 125%
  • 70% of customers leave because of poor customer service
  • For every customer who complains there are 26 others who remain silent

Obviously retaining your current customer base is important.  Here are some programs we have seen our customers use to increase exhibitor retention.

1.      Encourage Participation in the Full Conference Experience:  Many of your exhibitors only participate in the event during show hours.  Getting more exhibitors to attend the sessions and networking events will add value for both exhibitors and attendees.  And most importantly will give your exhibitors more opportunities to make connections and sales during your event. 

The practical way to do this: Encourage exhibitor participation in educational sessions by offering a free full conference pass for exhibitors that send out a certain number of emails to their customers promoting your event. 

2.      Define a Pathway for Success:  Exhibitors that simply show up and exhibit are going to be less successful than those that promote themselves and network during the event.  Beyond selling them a booth space and a sponsorship, your sales people should be creating a narrative that outlines how your exhibitors can be successful at your event.    

The practical way to do this:  Create a few free programs to help your exhibitors.  Ideas might include providing a press list for exhibitor press releases, tweets sent by the show on behalf of exhibitors, or a program that encourages exhibitors to invite their customers to the show.  Then create documentation that outlines the programs and how they can easily participate. 

3.      Give your Exhibitors an Opportunity to Define their Own Sponsorships: Most of your exhibitors go to multiple events. Some of those shows have good sponsorship ideas that you haven’t included in your event, yet. If an exhibitor finds a certain sponsorship to be beneficial at another event, then they are likely to be willing to pay for the opportunity at your event.

The practical way to do this: Consult with your past sponsors and prepare an inventory of ideas.  It will give your sales people another reason to call exhibitors and discuss some of these ideas as well as your current sponsorship offerings.

4.      Increase Attendance:  One proven way to drive attendance is to get your exhibitors to invite their prospects to your event. Email is a great tool for this. An easy to use, pre-programmed email service for exhibitors to use can be provided by:

a.      An In-House Service. Create a couple of JPG images that exhibitors can use in the emails they send to their customers to invite them to your show. Email your exhibitors to let them know these are available.

b.      Hiring a Vendor. This is pretty straight forward. There are companies that offer a service where exhibitors can login, generate emails, and send them to their own lists for free. The show pays for the service. The big benefit of hiring a vendor is they will help your exhibitors and encourage them to send those invitation emails.

5.      Enable your Exhibitors to Contact the Attendees Directly:  Allowing your exhibitors to do direct pre-show marketing will give the attendees more information about what booths they should visit, and connect buyer with sellers on the show floor.  Considering current CAN-SPAM legislation, the attendee list shouldn’t be given to exhibitors.  So the emails can either be sent by the organizer’s staff or by a third-party hired by the organizer.  Not only do pre-show and post-show emails to attendees provide a valuable service for exhibitors they can also generate additional revenue for the show.

Exhibitors need help when it comes to getting buyers into their booths. Show organizers are in a unique position to help them. Helping your exhibitors become more successful will directly benefit your show. Exhibitors will share their success at your event, which will bring in more exhibitors and attendees.

*Statistics courtesy of ]]>]]>