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.

After 34 years as president of SnowSports Industries America, David Ingemie will step down as president following the 2016 SIA Snow Show.

“The industry has been incredibly lucky to have David Ingemie as the driving force behind SIA for 39 years,” said Bob Gundram, chair of SIA’s Board of Directors and CEO of C3.

He added, “David has been instrumental in working with the Board on defining what SIA is today and next steps to guarantee its future success and a smooth transition.”

Ingemie joined SIA in 1976 as marketing director and became president of the non-profit organization in 1981.

During the span of his 39-year career at SIA, David has worked diligently to grow snow sports participation and sales and has focused on strengthening the core organization and trade show.

“I feel so fortunate to have been a part of an industry that represents one of my life’s greatest passions – snow sports,” Ingemie said.

He added, “It has been a great run, working under 21 different Board chairmen/women and seeing so many changes within the industry; equipment, resorts, retailers, reps, and even ways to get down the hill.”

The SIA Snow Show runs Jan. 29-Feb. 3 at the Colorado Convention Center and Copper Mountain Resort. The show ranked NO. 56 on the 2013 TSNN Top 250 Trade Show List, with a 340,475 net square feet and more than 6,400 buyer attendees.

A transition plan comprised of a long range strategic vision for SIA and development of job description and recruitment strategy for Ingemie’s successor became a top priority for SIA’s Board of Directors beginning in May 2014, when Ingemie advised the Board of his plans for stepping down as president.

The transition plan included the creation of a strategic vision taskforce, chaired by David Currier, vice president of Smith Optics USA, and led by an outside professional facilitator, Rob Smith.

Buffy Filippell of TeamWork Consulting was selected to work with a search committee chaired by Julie Garry, CEO of Outdoor Gear.

Filippell has attended several committee and Board meetings to develop a comprehensive understanding of SIA’s future goals and the qualifications for an ideal candidate.

Ingemie’s successor will begin in a transitional role in June of this year and assume the role of president following the 2016 SIA Snow Show. 

Ingemie will remain at SIA in the role of immediate past president and lead an archival project preserving the organization’s 60-plus years of history.

2015 SHOT Show Posts Second Highest Attendance Total Ever

January 28, 2015
Traci Browne

Owner, Red Cedar Marketing, auhor of "The Social Trade Show: Leveraging Social Media and Virtual Events"

The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) rang up its second highest attendance ever Jan. 20-23 at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, with nearly 64,000 in attendance from 100-plus countries.

Last year’s record-setting event was at about 67,000 attendees.

SHOT Show reports that lower attendance reflects strengthened pre-screening of attendees to enhance the overall experience of both exhibitors and buyers.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, owns and sponsors the SHOT Show.

Excalibur Crossbow has been exhibiting at SHOT Show for seven years, and Kyle Carruthers said, “a lot of visitors stopped by, and it’s been great exposure for our product.”

Steve Henigan with MGI, an exhibitor for eight years, said that the heaviest traffic was seen on the first couple of days and overall it was a good show for their company.

New to SHOT Show this year was the SHOT Store, which was where attendees could stock up on official SHOT Show t-shirts, jackets and hats. It must have been a successful addition given the fact that pickings were slim on the final day.

Digital signage was another new addition this year that SHOT Show plans to expand even more in the years to come. While the digital signs provide information to the attendees during the show, it also was running during move in with information for exhibitors and exhibitor appointed contractors.

The signage and a new clean floor policy helped to make move-in run more smoothly. “Having a smooth move in helped translate to a smooth opening morning and set the tone for the whole show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president, and chief marketing officer.

Also new was the SHOT Showcase Theater, a collection of exclusive exhibitor presentations for buyers and media. Dolnack admitted this was one new feature that didn’t go quite as well as he anticipated, and he already has ideas that might improve it in the future should they decide to move forward with it again.

Dolnack said, “We’re trying to do as much as we can to add value to the exhibitors, so they feel good about the show.”

He explained that even though the organization is a not-for-profit association, they operate like a for-profit when it comes to their sponsors.

“We have to treat our customers not as members/sponsors but as customers,” Dolnack said. “That’s the way we approach it, and I think it’s paying off. They know we don’t take them for granted.”

To that effort, there are plans to hold a sponsor summit in Las Vegas in April of this year. The goal is to have a frank discussion with sponsors and potential sponsors to understand what NSSF can do to make their show better.

2015 was the second year SHOT Show participated in the U.S. Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program. Last year they participated in the pilot program and this year SHOT Show hosted nine delegations with attendees from over 100 different countries.

This program also is a value add for exhibitors who are looking to export. U.S. Commercial Service officers are on hand throughout the show to help guide them through the export process and share their expertise at no charge to the exhibitors. It’s a resource that many exhibitors would not have access to otherwise.

The New Product Center is a popular area for buyers and the media. Six hundred new products were part of the Center this year; that’s double what attendees saw last year.

By the end of the third day, there was a total of 23,500 scans in the New Product Center, up from 9,000 last year.

To help get new exhibitors off on the right foot, SHOT show requires they buy a package that provides them a good base for pre-show marketing that doesn’t break the bank. It also allows them to place a product in the New Product Center. One exhibitor that took advantage of the New Product Center was a second year exhibitor, Salus Security Devices.

Carmen Lobis of Salus Security Devices said that last year they came to SHOT show with a prototype. The interest level was high, and they received a lot of feedback from attendees on how to improve the prototype.

This year, after incorporating all that feedback into the final design, they put their new product in the New Product Center. Lobis said, “people are seeing the product there and then coming down to see us here in the booth. The media is coming down as well.”

Lobis added, “We’re getting the kind of exposure that we had expected and hoped for. From that standpoint, the show has been a success for us.”

Radio Row, where major conservative radio hosts broadcast live, is another way SHOT Show adds value by creating unique opportunities that exhibitors may not get otherwise.

Even the smallest mom and pop exhibitors can find themselves talking about their product on a national radio show.

SHOT Show’s 1,400 exhibitors and 640,000 square feet of product display aren’t the only reason buyers attend the annual event. There are four separate tracks of education focusing on specialized industry fields.

First-time attendee Mark Williamson, owner of Terrell Guns, said, “I will freely admit it is pretty overwhelming, but I’ve attended all the classes and I’ve gained a lot of insight into the industry. I think I can go back with a new business model that will really increase sales. I can’t compete with Bass Pro and Walmart, but I now have some new marketing strategies.”

China International Pet Show Breaks Records in Beijing

January 27, 2015

The 18th China International Pet Show (CIPS) – a trade fair in Asia for pet supplies and aquarium products broke new records when it ran recently in Beijing: 946 exhibitors from a total of 20 countries showcased their products over a display area of 80,000 square meters and provided the around 36,000 trade visitors with information about the latest products and current trends.

The annual exhibition is co-organised by the China Great Wall International Exhibition Company and NürnbergMesse.

The ongoing growth in the Chinese pet market made for a positive mood among exhibitors and visitors. “The stable economic situation in China is creating a good basis for the country’s pet supply industry and is making it an attractive market for companies worldwide. For international exhibitors in particular, the CIPS opens doors to the Asian market and is very popular,” said Katharina Neumann, project coordinator at NürnbergMesse GmbH.

Exhibiting companies came from 20 countries and trade visitors from 70 countries, mainly from Europe and the Americas, as well as 36,000 trade visitors in total, 45 percent of whom travelled from countries outside Asia, 26 percent of them from Europe alone.

In the Asia region, the CIPS is the key industry platform for international experts from the pet segment to share knowledge at a high professional standard.

 “For us, the CIPS is always the ideal platform for networking and a place where we meet customers, suppliers and old friends and at the same time make promising new contacts,” said exhibitor Dennis van Houten from D. van Houten Import – Export B.V.

Many exhibitors were pleased about the major international component of the event in Beijing. “For us as a European company, the CIPS not only builds a bridge to the Asian pet industry but also to potential partners in South American and Arab countries. We see future potential for our export trade in these growth markets,” said Pierluigi Fortuna of Italian company MPS 2 Italian Pet Products.

He added, “In 2015, as in previous years, we intend to build on these contacts and exhibit at the CIPS again.”

The record participation of 946 exhibiting companies (916 in 2013) called for yet another extension of the exhibition area to 80,000 m² (60,000 m² in 2013). More than half of the exhibitors presented products and services from the pet segment, while another third came from the aquarium field.

The CIPS 2014 incorporated a diverse supporting programme. As well as regular features like various special presentations, competitions and awards, exhibitors also enjoyed a completely new opportunity: to showcase their product developments in the twice-daily “Pets and Beauties” show.

Many companies used this creative platform to have their product innovations presented by fashion models. The show engendered a lot of interest among visitors and media alike.

The next China International Pet Show will premiere in Shanghai next year in November. By relocating the show to the National Exhibition and Convention Center, which was completed in October 2014 in Hongqiao district, the organizers are responding to current developments and the increasing fit-out and service requirements to be met by the exhibition halls.

2014 Trade Show Industry M&A Market Ends in an Upswing

January 26, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

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

After several slow years during the recession, the mergers and acquisitions market for the exhibition and conference industries had an active year in 2014, according to Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc.’s Year-end M&A Overview.

Even with the pickup in deals, though, the number of them fell from 64 in 2013 to 53 last year and deal value was down significantly from $3.75 billion in 2013 to $1.1 billion last year, in part because of major deals switched to broader categories that JEGI tracks.

There were several deals that occurred in the last quarter of 2014, the biggest being UBM’s buy of Advanstar Communications for $972 Million from hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group LLC and private equity companies Veronis Suhler Stevenson and Ares Management.  

Also in the final quarter last year, Informa bought Hanley Wood Exhibitions for $375 million.

Other fourth-quarter deals included GES (Viad)acquisition of onPeak and Travel Planners, two event housing software and services providers, for an undisclosed sum; and i2i Events acquisition of Money20/20, an event for the financial services sector, for an undisclosed amount.  

Richard Mead, JEGI’s managing director, discusses with TSNN Editor-in-Chief Rachel Wimberly 2014 deals and looks forward into this year.

TSNN: Compared with 2013, the number of deals fell somewhat and deal values fell sharply. Is it because of the several mega-deals that were in 2013, as opposed to an actual ‘slowdown’ in deals last year?

Mead: The number of transactions will fluctuate year-to-year due to timing considerations. 2013 saw four large deals in the events sector: Onex’s buyout of Nielsen Expositions for $950 million; Goldman Sachs’ acquisition of PSAV for $900 million; Emerald’s acquisition of GLM $335 million; and Vista Equity’s acquisition of Active Network for $946 million. 

In 2014, Hanley Wood’s $375 million sale of its tradeshows to Informa was the largest pure events sale and was not enough to offset the four large deals in 2013. 

JEGI included the sale of Advanstar for $972 million to UBM in the B2B Media sector, given its diverse area of b2b media assets, including print and events, in line with how we have categorized previous integrated B2B media deals.   

TSNN: A lot of deals occurred near the end of 2014. Was there a reason why? 

Mead: In the events space, there were 18 deals in Q4 versus only five in Q3.  And, Q4 also saw the largest events deal of the year … the sale of the Hanley Wood’s exhibitions to Informa. 

Based on JEGI’s current engagements and pipeline across all sectors, we are seeing a very vibrant M&A market early in 2015.  There are a mix of factors playing into this, namely readily available capital from both the equity and debt markets, PE firms with historically large amounts of “dry powder” – capital that needs to be put to work, and greater confidence in the economic environment following a strong Q3 GDP and better employment numbers. 

TSNN: PE seems to be very interested in the exhibitions market. Why is this sector attractive to them? 

Mead: Events offer some very strong business model characteristics that are attractive to PE, such as strong margins and cash flow (making them financeable to the debt markets), little to no receivables risk, excellent forecasting capability (tradeshows generally know how they will fare months ahead of the event), little working capital requirements, and relatively small staffing. 

Plus, events platforms give investors the opportunity to add other non-event revenue streams, such as magazines, online media, data and research, to deepen the relationships within the served communities.

TSNN: Where do you see deals going into this year? More? Less? Higher/lower values?

Mead: Many of the larger privately-owned tradeshow portfolios (not in the hands of associations) traded over the past two years, so I don’t think we’re going to see a sizable increase in deal value in 2015.  Clarion was acquired recently by Providence Equity, as their second foray into the events industry, and one or two other events platforms could trade this year. 

However, I do think we’ll see an increase in the number of events deals in 2015, as events platforms are playing an increasing role in B2B marketing and lead generation.  Owners see valuations being strong in the marketplace, and well-heeled domestic and international consolidators, including the Chinese, are looking for acquisitions to deepen market penetration and to supplement organic growth. 

TSNN: What about international players. Are they going to be as active as they have been? 

Mead: Yes, major European strategic buyers – public companies and the state owned operators – continue to look for acquisitions, particularly in the US given its market size, growth prospects, and marketing sophistication. 

The Chinese event industry could also be acquisitive internationally.  It will be an interesting couple of years as the majors vie for market position in events, and there could also be consolidation amongst the majors themselves. 

TSNN Accepting Submissions for 2014 Top 250, Top 50 Canadian Trade Show Lists

January 25, 2015

Each year, Trade Show News Network compiles a list of the Top 250 Trade Shows ranked by net square footage in the United States and Top 50 trade shows ranked by net sq. footage in Canada.

Submissions to be included on the 2014 lists are now open, and the shows must have occurred in 2014. The form to fill out is HERE, and the deadline is Feb. 15.

TSNN is proud to present valuable data to the industry, which is based on in-depth information provided by show organizers about their events.

In 2013, the Consumer Electronic Association’s massive International CES show in Las Vegas topped the TSNN Top 250 U.S. list for the second year in a row with impressive growth, jumping another 62,000-plus net square feet from 2012 to 2013, scoring a total 1,924,650 net sq. ft.

“The 2013 International CES was full of innovation and included executives from every major industry that touches technology,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, when the list was unveiled.

He added, “We are pleased to be recognized by Trade Show News Network for the success of the 2013 CES, which drew global business leaders from more than 160 countries.”

On the 2013 TSNN Top 50 Canadian trade show list, snagging the No. 1 spot once again was Regina Exhibition Association’s Canada’s Farm Progress Show, with a whopping 1,232,670 net square foot showfloor at Evraz Place in Regina, Saskatchewan.

“Canada’s Farm Progress Show (CFPS) a proud member of The Farm Show Council, is honored to be recognized by Trade Show News Network as Canada’s largest tradeshow for the fourth year in a row,” said Ken Taylor, director, Trade and Consumer Events for EVRAZ Place at the time that list was released.

It’s not just massive shows on the lists. Shows range from a million or more net sq. ft. down to 40,000 net sq. ft.

Don’t delay and make sure to submit your show(s) HERE to be included on the 2014 TSNN Top 250 and TSNN Top 50 Canadian trade shows lists. 

GES Releases Comprehensive Sponsorship Study Highlighting Unique Ideas

January 23, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

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

For organizers looking to spruce up their sponsorship models, hosting an experts corner, offering tours or having a fitness pavilion on the showfloor are just a few of the unique ideas that were in Global Experience Specialist’s recently released Comprehensive Sponsorship Study.

The study also focused on the following key areas; how organizers and exhibitors can make the most of sponsorships; how organizers can best sell sponsorships; what organizers can do to align their sponsorships with sponsor objectives; and information and insights for exhibitors to evaluate and optimize sponsorships.

The study was conducted with data from the TSNN Top 250 U.S. trade show list, TSNN Top 50 Canadian trade show list and top 50 Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association medical meetings. 

“A top priority of event organizers today is driving revenue growth and sponsorships are seen as a top area of opportunity, while exhibitors are looking to enhance the value of sponsorships,” said David Saef, executive vice president of GES MarketWorks and Strategy.

He added, “Although sponsorships have been around for a long time, there is no single resource for organizations to understand how to create and sell sponsorships and how to make sure they are fully optimized. The findings from our comprehensive study fill this void and help the industry demonstrate the value of sponsorships.”

The study was broken up into two parts for organizers and exhibitors.

Some other findings in the organizer portion of the study were that 74 percent of those surveyed said they had one or two people on staff who sell sponsorships, and they target specific companies through phone calls and emails.

Organizers also said they are optimistic about sponsorship revenues, with 56 percent indicating they expected that revenue stream to increase during the next three to four years.

On the exhibitor side, 61 percent of the respondents said they have chosen to sponsor to raise the awareness of their brands, while 29 percent said they sponsored because they preferred spending their dollars on something unique.

As far as what was considered unique, a few things in the study that were highlighted included having an ice cream social, flash drive bracelets, charging stations or new product areas and registration confirmation branded messages.

In December, Saef presented a portion of the research findings at the International Association of Exhibitions and Events’, Expo! Expo! in a presentation titled “Sponsorships that Succeed.”

Several people who attended the session found valuable takeaways, such as Mallory Denny, operations coordinator, Emerald Expositions, who said, “It was very refreshing to attend a data-centric seminar which dived into research from other show organizers. I look forward to future presentations on sponsorship trending.”

To learn more about how to form, sell, deliver, and demonstrate the value of sponsorships, download the GES Sponsorship Survey HERE.

PCMA’s Convening Leaders Annual Meeting Breaks Attendance Records in Chicago

January 22, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

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

It may have been cold in Chicago in the second week of January, but that didn’t stop a record amount of attendees from coming to the Windy City for the Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders annual meeting.

From Jan. 11-14, there were 4,128 convention managers and suppliers who packed McCormick Place West, taking part in educational sessions, keynotes and a bevy of networking and charity events throughout the city.

The 2015 event topped the 2014 record-breaking one in Boston, which drew nearly 4,000 attendees.

“This year’s program was designed to challenge the most respected leaders in the industry to embrace the spirit of innovation and risk-taking,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA.

She added, “Our audience showed that, without a doubt, they are ready to accept that challenge and elevate the next generation of meetings, conferences and events.”

There were wide range of keynotes, including long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad talking about what it took to swim from the U.S. to Cuba, to Dan Pallotta, founder and chief humanity officer for  Advertising for Humanity, advising the audience to rethink the way they give to charities.

Besides the high-caliber keynotes, there also were education sessions that spanned everything from the idea of “Un-Marketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” to “Be Proactive Not Reactive to Global Meeting Trends in 2015”.

“We aimed to give our attendees more than education credits,” Kelly Peacy, senior vice president, Education and Events, PCMA, said.

She added, “The roadmap served as a path from inspiring big-picture general session concepts to specific intimate courses with personal and practical takeaways. When our attendees return home, we want them to be able to take what they learned at Convening Leaders and immediately adapt it to their own organizations.”

There also were some other learning opportunities offered outside of the education tracks, including the PCMA Learning Lounge that featured, among other activities, Q&A sessions with keynotes and thought leaders and TechCentral at which attendees could learn about new technology.

Beyond the more than 4,000 attendees who made it to the face-to-face event, there also were another 1,000-plus form 33 countries who took part in the PCMA Convening Leaders Hybrid Event.

“We made no little plans with our hybrid meeting,” Mary Reynolds Kane, senior director, experience marketing, PCMA, says. “This year, we streamed 13 sessions over three days for a full taste of what Convening Leaders offers.”

Reynolds Kane and the PCMA hybrid meeting team infused a virtual networking element to each day of the program, too, with an online happy hour at the end of each day that allowed virtual participants to stay logged on and continue their chat discussions.

PCMA has a major focus on giving back, so there also were plenty of chances to do just that at the annual meeting as well.

Just a few of the events included more than 1,200 attendees taking part in the 22nd year of PCMA’s Party with a Purpose that benefitted Future Founders, Network for the Needy® & PCMA Education Foundation and PCMA’s Hospitality Helping Hands Program that drew 120 individuals to help out at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Next year’s PCMA Convening Leaders already is in the works, set for Jan. 10-13 in Vancouver, B.C.

Professional Convention Management Association Gives Back to Chicago Community

January 20, 2015

The Professional Convention Management Association not only brought thousands of convention managers to Chicago for a few days of networking and education last week during its Convening Leaders annual event, but it also gave back to the local community through several programs.

“These programs are one way of expressing our sincere thanks to this tremendous community. After our members leave, we hope these donations will leave a lasting impact on the communities, who need assistance in the Chicagoland area.” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA

Program: Party With A Purpose

Benefits: Future Founders, Network for the Needy® & PCMA Education Foundation

Twelve hundred meeting professionals celebrated for a cause as the proceeds from Party With a Purpose ticket sales help support Future Founders, PCMA’s Network for the Needy® and the PCMA Education Foundation. In its 22nd year, PWAP has raised more than $2 million for a range of notable causes as PCMA leads the meeting industry’s efforts to make a difference in communities around the world. 

Program: Hospitality Helping Hands

Benefits: Greater Chicago Food Depository (Chicago’s food bank)

PCMA’s Hospitality Helping Hands program drew 120 Meeting professionals from around the globe who participated in this program with 100 percent of each participant’s $75 registration fee supporting the Hospitality Helping Hands program.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 67 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 154,000 meals every day.

Program: Network for the Needy® Donation Drive: Mercy Home for Boys & Girls

Benefits: kids in crisis with the support and guidance they need to realize their own potential and make positive decisions. Mercy Home offers full time living, activities, mentor programs, AfterCare programs and more.

PCMA attendees can donate new toiletries, school supplies and pre-loaded gift cards at McCormick Place near Convening Leaders registration throughout the week.

Creating Fun Engagement at North American International Auto Show

January 20, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

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

At last week’s North American International Auto Show Charity Preview in Detroit’s Cobo Center, at which more than 14,000 attendees dressed in tuxes and evening gowns took part, an interesting thing happened on the showfloor.

Several of the exhibitors, which were the largest car manufacturers from around the world, had really fun, interactive and engaging things to do that not only showed off their products, but also created buzz.

With more than 800,000 attendees expected throughout last weekend and this week, it’s an opportune time for the companies to grab people’s attention.

Over at the Scion showroom (you really can’t call it a ‘booth’ since it’s a massive piece of real estate on the showfloor completely built out to display all of the company’s latest cars) there was a ‘Scion Swag Machine’ that resembled a vending machine.

Using Instagram, you were supposed to take a selfie at the show and then tag it with #SCIONSWAGDTW (DTW stands for Detroit) and then post the photo.  

A few moments later, some ‘swag’ dropped into the bottom of the machine, and I was the proud new owner of a Scion key ring.

The Subaru showroom had a few fun things to do also, including stepping up to a green screen, and with the help of the photographer and a video monitor that displayed different scenes around the country and silly props to choose from (like a hot air balloon or kangaroo), you could choose one of the latest car models and take a photo.

Afterward, you could step over to a bank of computer monitors and ‘customize’ your photo even further with even more props, cars and change the scene to anything from a cityscape to the middle of farmlands.

The finished photo is then emailed to you and you could share it far and wide.

In the Ford showroom, which was absolutely massive and packed with people in every square inch of it, there was a discovery station, where kids and adults alike could take crayons and rub on engraved plates that featured different cars’ engine parts to make a picture to take home.

In several other showrooms, including the Hyundai one, there were driving machines in which you could pretend to drive one of the cars. Hyundai took it one step further and to show off its ‘eco-friendly’ car that you had to drive within a certain speed limit and not over- or under-brake in order to score points.

Lastly, in the Chevrolet showroom, people lined up to get a virtual reality driving experience inside on the of the company’s new cars by donning a pair of Oculus Rift glasses.

It was funny to watch people ‘look’ into the back seat of a car in the virtual world when there was nothing actually there in the physical one.

All of these engaging, interactive and most of all FUN activities are great examples of what any exhibitor should be thinking about when spending the time, energy and money to come to a show.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either, just think about creating something that makes someone walking by really want to step on in and hear more about what your company has to offer and maybe make them smile at the same time.

International Association of Exhibitions & Events Has Busy 2014

January 19, 2015

The International Association of Exhibitions & Events had a very busy 2014 as evidenced by the list of accomplishments it had throughout the year.

“2014 was an incredibly busy year for IAEE,” said IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA. “I am very proud of the committees, task forces and staff who have worked tirelessly to fulfill objectives set forth in our strategic plan, including our two main pillars of focus – Education and Advocacy.” 

Education Highlights

·  Total Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) recipient growth was up 23.8 percent and CEM international growth increased 37.2 percent year-over-year.

·  Two CEM licensee agreements were signed, furthering our reach into the international community. The agreement with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) covers Southeast Asia including Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and East Timor. We also signed an agreement with Nasaafir Solutions, an organization in Dubai that will operate the CEM Learning Program in the Gulf Cooperation Council region including the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.   

·  A 12th CEM module addressing Consumer Show Management was launched in December during Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2014, in conjunction with the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS).

·  The first annual CEM salary survey was completed.

·  Webinar attendance was up 200 percent.

·  IAEE launched its first ever online Faculty Resource Center in June to support the Art of the Show textbook, and to better serve university professors and staff. Online tools include outlines, lesson plans, activities, test questions, presentation slides, resources such as videos and CEIR research.

·  IAEE sponsored and helped design the IMEX/IAEE Faculty Engagement Program that was held during 2014 IMEX, and will be offering a similar program during 2015 IMEX in Frankfurt and in America.

Advocacy Highlights

·  The first Exhibitions Day was launched this past June, made possible by the Exhibitions Mean Business Campaign. The event had close to 100 attendees who engaged legislators in Washington, D.C., specifically to help them understand the impact of select legislative and regulatory issues on the exhibitions and events industry.

·  IAEE spearheaded the new phase of the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign, raising more than $200,000 towards a $1.2 million goal before year end 2014. Since the beginning of the campaign in 2011, coverage has garnered exposure to more than 285 million people worldwide and 36 million dollars in media value. In the last six months alone, the campaign has secured 40 million impressions.

Membership Highlights

·  Membership saw a 17 percent increase from 2013 in the total number of countries represented and a year-over-year growth of 24 percent in international membership.

·  Overall membership increased by 6 percent, with 54 percent of the membership representing exhibition organizers and 46 percent supplier members.

·  IAEE, upon the recommendation of the Dues Task Force, added three new membership categories in 2014 (Corporate Event or Exhibit Marketer, Educational Institution and Auxiliary members,) and recently welcomed two educational institutions as members.

Outreach Highlights
Vital to communicating the IAEE mission and vision, outreach programs to young professionals and local chapters are important to the continued success of the organization. 

The Young Professionals (YP) Committee implemented several new initiatives to keep YP members engaged with the association and with each other.

·  The YP Connect newsletter supplies expert tips and advice from veterans in the industry, and includes information on upcoming industry events where YPs can connect with each other.

·  The IAEE YP Web site houses detailed information on the committee, continuing education, events to assist in career growth and industry news to name a few.

·  YP members increased by 22 percent year-over-year from 2013 to 2014.

Chapters are the grass roots movement communicating and reinforcing the IAEE mission and vision at the local level.

·  The IAEE Board of Directors approved the University of Houston Student Chapter in April.

·  The Midwestern Chapter and New York Area Chapter celebrated their 40th anniversaries.

·  Four chapters – New England, New York, Rocky Mountain and Southwest – exceeded their chapter challenge goals of increasing Expo! Expo! attendance by 10 percent or more.

Events Highlights

·  Expo! Expo!: Had the highest number of show organizers ever, representing a 17 percent increase in organizer attendance over the 2013 meeting and highest overall attendance since 2007. International attendance increased by 25 percent from 2013 with 27 countries represented.

·  Culture Creation: Attendees learned from experts on how to build a workplace culture of trust, innovation and productivity, and how to assess events and company culture to tailor outcomes for enhanced ROI. The 2015 Culture Creation will be held on 10 June in Washington, D.C.

·  Women’s Leadership Forum in May was sold out and will be expanded to Mexico in the fall of 2015. Registration is open for the 8 April 2015 event in Washington, D.C. and IAEE expects to sell out again.

·  The Krakoff Leadership Institute and Krakoff Advanced Leadership Institute programs were received with great success and will be held this year 15-18 August at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Fla.