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.

The National Retail Federation’s annual show for the industry – Retail’s BIG Show – definitely takes after its moniker; The show IS big, in fact this year’s, which was held in January at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, broke all-time attendance records with 30,000 people, an uptick from 27,500 last year.

There also were 555 exhibiting companies, up from 494 last year, and 205,000 net square feet, up from 168,000 net sq. ft. last year.

But, even the though show is growing, Susan Newman, NRF’s senior vice president of conferences, and Mark Bogdansky, NRF’s vice president of exhibit operations, both said it’s done in a very specific way.

“At the Javits, we are in a very controlled growth situation,” Newman said. “We know what space we have for the next 3-4 years, and by 2016, we will max out the Javits.”

Bogdansky added, “We actually have had a waiting list for the last few years. We are really holding tight to this controlled growth.”

So, what do they mean exactly?

Because of the space limitations, Newman said they’ve had to carefully figure out how much they needed the show to grow to make certain revenue numbers every year, and then release more space slowly.

“We are trying to stay in the Javits for as long as we can without using other space,” she added.

All of the existing customers have the opportunity to rebook their space at the show, and then for those who weren’t there, Newman said they can book based on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For the companies that don’t make it on the showfloor, Newman said they are frustrated, but they do understand NRF needs to do “what is right for the show.”

They also are careful to ensure the right buyers are on the showfloor, which limits the number of people permitted at the show.

“We take the quality of attendee very seriously,” Newman said. For example, 30 percent of the show’s audience is international so NRF is instituting a stricter vetting process to check that everyone who attends as part of a delegation is an actual buyer.

It’s not just Retail’s BIG Show they are keeping a careful eye on either.

“We are looking at each show individually,” Bogdansky said.

Newman added, “If we weren’t in a venue where we were space confined, we wouldn’t be as focused on this. The floor is just incredibly packed the entire time the show is open.”

She said it was important for them to prioritize, adding, “At the end of the day, we have to make sure we are providing value and not just numbers.” 

5 Keys to Great Tradeshow Selling

September 14, 2014
Lew Hoff

President at Bartizan, Lew has spent the last 40-plus years focusing on bringing buyers and sellers together, face-to-face.

Tradeshow attendees are unique, they want to discover something – and as such, you can’t sell to them in the same way you would to a prospect in a corporate boardroom. Follow these five steps to more effectively engage potential customers at your next tradeshow.

1) Greetings

Even during the busiest times, always extend your hand, smile and learn your prospect’s name.

Pro tip: Take a look at the prospect’s name badge and refer to him or her by name throughout the conversation.

2) Identifying needs

Ask the attendee what he or she is looking for today so you can identify and address problems your prospect is struggling with.

Pro tip: If you don’t have the right solution, recommend a nearby vendor who does. The attendee with appreciate your forthrightness (so will your fellow exhibitor).

3) Asking and listening

Ask the prospect the key questions up-front (budget, priorities, etc.), listen to the answers and use these to guide the conversation. Don’t jump the gun. Instead, let customers have the forum to describe their pain points. Notice body language. Do they appear bored? If they are interested and ready to close, take steps to move the business forward.

Warning: Ask about budget only if the prospect has already decided he or she is in the market for what you have. Don’t expect a planned budget for an unplanned purchase.

4) Making the pitch

Be aware of your prospect’s time and refine your pitch.

Pro tip: Before you tell a prospect what your product does, tell them how it will benefit them. Take listening breaks if you notice you are the only one talking. Prospects don’t want a long-winded rundown of your complete product line, that’s what your website or brochure is for. Don’t push your products on people. Regarding lead retrieval: If your prospect is qualified and seems interested, politely ask to scan their badge. Don’t scan every badge, being selective simplifies lead follow-up.

5) Offer and closing

Don’t expect the prospect to sign the dotted line at the event; ask what they need to help them make a decision.

Pro tip: Make notes immediately after your interaction and reference them in your follow-up.

Discover the do’s & don’ts of trade show selling and become a better salesperson at your booth with our step-by-step guide, The New Rules of Tradeshow Sales, download it instantly here.

CEIR Predict Conference: Trade Show Industry on Track for Positive Growth into 2015-2016

September 12, 2014
Rachel Wimberly

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

More than 110 C-level trade show organizers and suppliers gathered Sept. 11 in Chicago at the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Predict Conference to not only hear about how the overall U.S. economy is faring right now and into the future, but also about the health of the trade show industry and the sectors it serves.

Senior Analyst for CNBC and Financial Industry Expert Ron Insana hosted the event and first sat down with Access Intelligence CEO Don Pazour, who encouraged the audience to support CEIR and the research the organization does for the trade show industry.

First up to present was Ryan Sweet, senior economist for Moody’s Analytics, to kick things off.  

He began with some good news: “We are going to see a noticeable acceleration of the U.S. economy, and it’s been a long time coming.”

Overall GDP growth will close out this year with a modest positive gain as well, and 2015 is predicted to see a 4 percent increase in GDP, he added.

The most growth worldwide still is expected to be in Asia, which is predicted to see a 5 percent increase for the next two years.

All of the news wasn’t bright, however, Sweet warned, “Europe makes us the most nervous. If they fall back into recession … it will affect us.”

He added, “The optimism really lies in the U.S.  When the U.S. economy rises, it lifts all boats.”

Sweet said some things to keep an eye on were the lagging consumer spending, a possible increase in inflation rates on the horizon, what the federal government may or may not do and a definite stock market correction in the future.

“I don’t know when,” he added of the correction, “and if I did, I wouldn’t be here.”

Brian Casey, president and CEO of CEIR, took the stage next and presented the latest CEIR Index numbers that track the overall health of the trade show industry in the second quarter, which saw 1 percent growth, though lagged behind GDP.

He added that although growth in the trade show industry is lower than what CEIR predicted for 2014, he still expects it to have a 2 percent uptick by the end of the year.

And the next few years look even better, Casey said.

He also added that attendance was on track to grow faster in future years, which is a “very good sign. It’s a leading indicator of the other three metrics (net square footage, real revenues and number of exhibiting companies).

For more on the full CEIR Index Report for 2Q 2014 please click HERE.

The morning panels focused on industry sectors with trade shows tracked by the CEIR Index that included Consumer Goods and Retail Trade, Communications & Information Technology, Raw Materials and Science and Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Outputs.

Here are just a few of the takeaways from those sessions:

-          Carleen Kohut, COO for the National Retail Federation, said the retail sector was “more modest than we expected coming into the year.” Both Kohut and her fellow panelist Anne Voller, vice president for talent acquisition at Macy’s, both said it’s all about what the consumer wants right now and engaging them through technology.

-          Marco Pardi, president of UBM Tech Events, said during the Communications and Information Technology sector that change occurs so quickly with the rapid pace of technology, they have a constant need to revamp their events. “It’s just not your grandfather’s trade show anymore.” Carol McGury, executive vice president of Event and Education Services, SmithBucklin, said of the future of live events, “People will talk online, but they will close business in person.”

-          During the Raw Materials and Sciences session, Hart Energy President and COO Kevin Higgins said they launched their first shale industry-focused trade show in 2006 and now their portfolio of several events brings in $21 million in annual revenue. Gene Sanders also had good news to share about the show he oversees – Society of Plastics Engineers’ Plastics Show. “Our show is bigger than it’s ever been,” adding that they are close to breaking 1 million net square feet.

-          Industrial and Heavy Machinery saw the biggest gains year-over-year as tracked by the CEIR Index so far in 2014, with 6.9 percent growth and it was reflected in the shows also on this panel from Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Association. SEM’s Debbie Holden said, “It’s a great time to be in manufacturing.” She said their biggest concern right now is getting trained workers into the field.

The lunch keynote was given by Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, and she talked about the way that people learn, work and govern all are being transformed in big ways right now.

She also said that in the past, only big companies could produce on a large scale, and now individuals or smaller workforces could do the same with the evolution of the Internet. “Uber is just the beginning, there are many others that are coming,” Gorbis added.

Relevant to show organizers, she talked about allowing attendees to crowdsource content, looking for ways to create exciting events off the showfloor and creating fans around events and engaging them in the right ways.

The afternoon sessions also were broken up into industry sectors: Transportation, Medical & Healthcare, Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services and Building: Construction, Home & Repair.

A few more takeaways:

-          According to Jack Holmes, president of UPS Freight, the biggest issue they are grappling with right now is a driver shortage, otherwise, “as far as the industry goes, things are not that bad off”.

-          Even though the CEIR Index showed little growth in the medical sector, Stephen Lieber said the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society’s annual show, which is technology focused, was thriving. Sally Shankland, CEO of UBM Americas, added of health care companies, “We see more solutions looking for problems than problems looking for solutions.”

-          Kerry Gumas, president and CEO of Questex, said the hospitality and travel sector is “booming” right now with the busiest summer on record finishing up – 320 million hotel rooms sold. “Demand right now outstrips supply,” he added. Eric Wulf, CEO of the International Carwash Association, said that sector was seeing improvement with consumer spend, but “It’s slow … it’s cautious.”

-          Hanley Wood CEO Peter Goldstone said the good news in the housing market is new home builds are up to 1 million, however to keep that recovery going, he added: “If you have kids 18-35, kick them out of your home” … basically so they could go buy one of their own.

The final official session of the day was moderated by Wilma Jordan, founder and CEO of The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., and she interviewed Douglas Emslie, managing director of Tarsus Group, about his company’s M&A strategy.

Of the overall M&A market right now, Jordan said this year so far has fewer deals with smaller values, compared with 2013, but reminded the audience that last year included the $950 million acquisition of Nielsen Expositions (now Emerald Expositions) by ONEX.

She added that one deal coming up that might be of size in the trade show industry would be the sale of Advanstar Communications.

Emslie said Tarsus Group’s strategy when they are looking for a possible acquisition is to look for markets in transition, including emerging ones, such as China, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Middle East and Mexico.

Of China he added, “(It’s) a massive market. It’s the third largest trade show market in the world. It’s very competitive, but the good thing about China is the infrastructure is in place.”

Emslie said the Tarsus model when they buy a company/show is to retain the owner and the knowledge.

This strategy has paid off the past few years in Turkey, where they are the largest show organizer, when several copycats tried to take business away from Tarsus-run shows. But, because of the partnership with the original owners, he added, “we repelled them all.”

Closing up the conference was Insana asking for final thoughts from Dennis Slater, president and CEO of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and CEIR chairman, as well as David Audrain, president and CEO of Exposition Development Company, and Bob Priest-Heck, president and COO of Freeman, all of whom are on the CEIR Predict Program Committee.

Priest-Heck said experience marketing at shows is “as relevant as ever,” adding that organizers need to let attendees take control of the event. “If we’re going to engage them, we’re going to have to take risks,” he said.

Audrain added that “trade shows are either growing or their dying” and encouraged the audience to keep their events fresh.

Slater said that also it was important to understand how to engage attendees during the days when there is no showfloor for them to be on. “You have to look at the overall experience when going forward with this,” he added.

Lastly, Priest-Heck said, “A lot of folks are still doing the same thing. I am fearful for those (who) don’t change.” 

Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index Report: 2Q Shows 1 Percent Overall Trade Show Industry Growth

September 11, 2014

The trade show industry grew by 1 percent in the second quarter of 2014, marking the sixteenth quarter of consecutive growth, according to the CEIR Index Report released today in a room filled with C-level executives at the CEIR Predict Conference in Chicago.

All four metrics tracked by the index posted year-on-year gains, with the strongest performance in Real Revenues, which rose 1.4 percent.

The growth of the exhibition industry lagged behind GDP during the second quarter of 2014, a reversal of the previous two quarters. 

“Overall, the second-quarter results show a meager gain of 1.0 percent; the underlying reasons for performance can be attributed to weak exhibition performance in the construction, business, education and non-profit exhibitions sectors” said CEIR’s economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.

The sectors leading in performance to-date in 2014 are Food, increasing 6.2 percent; Discretional Goods and Services (CS), increasing 5.4 percent; and Communications and Information Technology (IT), increasing 4.3 percent.

Conversely, the Education and Non-profit (ED) sector declined by 3.5 percent, which is attributed to retrenchment of state and local government expenditures. The Raw Materials and Science (RM) sector also declined by 0.6 percent, even though fundamentals remained sound during the same period.

As an objective measure of the annual performance of the exhibition industry, the CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance: Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space Sold; Professional Attendance; Number of Exhibiting Companies; and Gross Revenue.

The CEIR Index provides exhibition industry performance across 14 key industry sectors: Business Services; Consumer Goods; Discretionary Consumer Services; Education; Food; Financial, Legal and Real Estate; Government; Building, Construction, Home and Repair; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; Communications and Information Technology; Medical and Health Care; Raw Materials and Science; Sporting Goods, Travel and Entertainment; and Transportation. 

TSNN will have a full report online shortly from the CEIR Predict conference that took at in-depth look at the specific sectors and the health of the overall trade show industry now and in the future.

CTIA Super Mobility Week Launches to Success in Las Vegas

September 10, 2014
Anna Huddleston

Las Vegas Contributor.

Connectivity was supercharged at the CTIA Super Mobility Week, a trade show and conference for all things wireless that took place Sept. 9-11 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center.

The inaugural Week brought together CTIA’s consumer and enterprise-focused events that used to run in the spring and fall, as well as 4G World,  IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin (via online portal) and Competitive Carriers’ Association annual conference, which ran at the Cosmopolitan hotel and shared badges with CTIA.

“We are a very dynamic industry. We have to start from scratch every year,” said Robert Mesirow, vice president and show director for CTIA. “The mantra for this year’s show has been Ctrl + Alt + Delete.”

The reload mode paid off with 20 percent higher square footage, about 1,100 exhibitors and approximately 40,000 attendees.

Commenting on the thought process behind creating this new event, Mesirow said, “What we really wanted to do was to convene the new wireless ecosystem. As a result, every metric is up year over year.”

As if innovation on the floor and the new product launched from Apple streamed into the keynote weren’t enough, the show also positioned itself on the cutting edge of wireless. With industry partners, it created a “heat map” of the floor and began to tap into the potential of indoor mobile engagement technology.

Mexia Interactive installed more than 125 sensors around the floor. Supporting Apple’s iBeacon and Android devices through an open-BLE antenna, the platform allowed CTIA to instantly monitor and analyze locations of mobile devices on-site in real-time, show where attendees are lingering on the Big Data Wall.

But what’s even more fascinating is that at next year’s show, the technology will allow to deliver contextual proximity messages to attendees who’ve downloaded the official show app and opted-in to receive notification. Attendees also have a choice to opt out.

“You’ll walk into the Samsung, and it will ask you questions about what you’d like to see and offer to schedule a meeting and send information to your phone,” Mesirow said. “It makes it a lot more efficient for exhibitors as it automatically does their lead generation and follow-up.”

Another new aspect of mobile engagement is the SocialRadar component of the app that gives real time information about the people around. It also alerts the user when one of their connections appears nearby.

“I can be walking in New York next month and it will ping me that one of my CTIA connections is within a mile and ask if I’d like to connect,” Mesirow said.

Noting how hard it is to create a 365 community around a show, he said, “Maybe this is it.”

On the floor, much excitement was around the cars connected to the internet as well as wearables and mhealth solutions. The new format of the event seemed to work for both attendees and exhibitors. Exhibitor Seth Dare with Gadget Guard said, “We’ve had great traffic. We love this show.”

Atlantic City CC to Welcome Nearly 10,000 Attendees During Five Events

September 9, 2014

Despite the news of several casinos closing in Atlantic City, N.J., recently, the meetings and convention business keeps moving forward.

From beauty queens to mail carriers to candy store owners, this week will be a busy one at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

The facility will welcome more than 9,900 attendees during the course of five events beginning Sept. 8.

Included among this week’s events is the Philadelphia National Candy Gourmet & Gift Show, America’s largest trade show for the retail confectioner, which will take place Sept. 7-9 and will host more than 5,000 attendees.

During the same dates, the Arett Lawn & Garden Show will bring together professionals of the lawn care and gardening industry for educational sessions and a showfloor featuring more than 40,000 products and 1,800 retailers.

Another event that the convention center will host this week is the set-up and rehearsal for the 2014 Miss America “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade on Sept. 13.

To wrap up the week, the convention center will welcome more than 1,200 postmasters this week for the 2014 NAPUS National Convention which will be held on Sept. 13-17. 

“The Atlantic City Convention Center is humming with activity this week as the fall convention season begins,” said Karen Totaro, general manager, Global Spectrum at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

She added. “Our staff is cleaning and polishing in preparation for the thousands expected to walk through the front doors over the next several days. Shows are setting up and the forklifts are in full swing as exhibitors begin unpacking their show wares and attendees file in to register.

The activity from this week’s events are expected to significantly boost activity for Atlantic City’s local businesses.

The estimated economic impact is expected to be more than $5 million and the convention center visitors will be occupying more than 6,000 hotel rooms throughout the week.

“The energy and excitement is palatable in the venue as we try to anticipate the clients every need. We work to ensure we have happy customers and happy attendees to ensure repeat business to Atlantic City,” Totaro said.

Global Gaming Expo Asia 2014 Breaks Records with Largest Event to Date

September 8, 2014

Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) 2014, organized by the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, was a major success in its eighth year.

The event saw a record-breaking audited attendance of 8,233 daily attendees—an astounding 36 percent increase, compared with the 2013 event.

The showfloor encompassed 8,640 square meters (up 16 percent from 2013) with 160 exhibitors (up 13 percent from 2013) representing more than 80 countries.

“To be able to provide a record-breaking forum for the best and brightest in the Asian gaming market through G2E Asia, we are thrilled and humbled at the same time,” said Nat Wong, president of Reed Exhibitions Greater China.

He added, “Enhanced programming, improved conference schedules and networking events proved to be a big draw as we’ve seen in the increased delegate attendance as well as positive feedback received. Utilizing a larger exhibit area also provided the perfect showcase for a significantly increased total number of exhibitors and attendees.”

G2E Asia is the only industry event in Asia that is independently audited to provide verified attendance data. The G2E Asia 2014 audit was conducted by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. and complies with standards set forth by the Exhibition and Event Industry Audit Commission (EEIAC), a nonprofit commission organized for the purpose of managing and overseeing the exhibition industry’s independent audit process.

G2E Asia also is the only UFI-approved gaming event in the region, proving the show’s quality and assuring exhibitors and visitors – particularly those considering first-time event participation  – that G2E Asia is a sound-business investment. UFI approval is much sought after in the exhibition industry. 

The credential engenders trust by giving credibility to data recorded on-site by event organizers.  In addition to verifying hard facts like area covered, visitors and exhibitors on-site, UFI approval is regarded as a solid indicator of a show’s popularity, service quality and level of internationalism.

“We are amazed by the significant and fast-paced growth that has occurred for gaming in Asia over such a short period of time, and are proud that G2E Asia mirrors these qualities by serving as the resource for the booming industry,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA.

He added, “From informative educational content, forging new partnerships and relationships through ample networking, and aiding in development of business opportunities, G2E Asia continues to serve gaming professionals. We look forward to working with Reed Exhibitions to elevate the show to even greater heights in 2015.”

Reed Exhibitions Adds to Its U.S. Fashion Portfolio with AXIS Launch

September 8, 2014

Reed Exhibitions, which currently hosts more than 20 fashion events annually – including Capsule and Agenda shows – will add another show into the lineup with the launch of AXIS.

AXIS will take place biannually during New York Women’s Market Week in February and September.

The show debuts winter Feb. 22-24 and will be collocated with sister show Capsule Women’s in Pier 94.

“AXIS is the first trade show of its kind built for a new generation of women,” said AXIS Show Director Vanessa Chiu, an industry veteran who has spent the last two years cultivating AGENDA WMNS.

She added, “Guided by the same ideas and inspirations that drive its clientele, AXIS takes a cross-category approach to merchandising that reflects the eclectic, aspirational way its demographic shops. The result is an experiential event that resonates throughout the fashion industry and serves as a year-round resource for attendees.”

Drawing influence from art, music, street culture and design, AXIS is a trend-focused, multidimensional platform that caters to global and emerging women’s collections, according to show organizers.

“AXIS was created to fill the void in the Women’s New York fashion lifestyle market with niche brands that currently do not show,” Chiu said.

She added, “We’ve built a platform to showcase the new-new, expose branded collections that were displaced in the current New York trade circuit and introduce new global collections into the U.S. marketplace. We plan on utilizing our team’s matchmaking expertise to introduce media, brands and retailers, and tie it all in with events that make AXIS a true 3-D, lifestyle experience.

Collections will be exhibited in a gallery-like setting with white walls, natural wood and modern fixtures that mimic an architectural façade, according to show officials.

Food and beverage menus will be designed to be health-conscious, and attendees can also participate in health and fitness activities throughout the duration of the event.

“By collocating with our sister show, Capsule Women’s, we’re able to bring all women’s brands together in one place,” Chiu said.

Interview With a Trade Show Exec: BIO International’s Robby Lycett

September 7, 2014
Traci Browne

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

This month on Interview With A Trade Show Exec we’ll be getting to know a bit more about another one of our industry’s rock stars – 32-year veteran Robbi Lycett, senior vice president, Conventions & Conferences, Biotechnology Industry Organization, which owns and runs the BIO International Convention.

While it may not have the Gothic setting of an Anne Rice novel, I think these main characters are just as complicated and deep as Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac, but without all that brooding undead thing going on.

Where did you grow up? What was your adolescent experience like?

I’m an Army Brat.  I grew up on the east coast but we were also stationed in  Alaska and Panama.  Alaska, I really don’t remember, but Panama in the 60’s was memorable – think civil unrest and riots.  Fun too, though!  My brother was born there and it was summer all year long!

What was the first show you went to? What do you remember most about it?

I went to the National Restaurant Show as an attendee/guest.  I was in my 20’s and had never been to anything like it.  I was amazed at how large it was and all the vendors you could see in one place.

What was your first job? Did you learn any valuable lessons or tools that you have brought with you into your current career?

Like most young people starting out in life, I had no idea what I wanted to do.  I had some part-time jobs, I dressed mannequins for a sportswear chain (not many people know that) but my first real job was working with Cherif Moujabber and Skip Mason, then Jerry VanDyke and Peter Nathan at Cahners Exposition Group.  I went to my first CEG tradeshow with Tony Calanca and Larry Charrlin, and when we got to the hall it was empty.  I knew the show started in a couple of days and I remember saying something like, “What happened?!  Where is everything?”  I had no idea you could build a show in a couple of days.   I’ve worked with so many great people in the industry who have shared so much, but Peter Nathan pushed me out of the nest and introduced me to exhibit sales, which was the next position I had in the industry and another story …

When did you become interested in working in the industry? How did you get started in the trade show industry?

I had just moved to Stamford, Conn., and was looking for a job.  I applied at a temp agency/placement firm, where Bob Krakoff’s wife worked at the time and she set me up with an interview for an administrative position with Skip Mason and Cherif Moujabber.  I knew what a trade show was, but had no idea it was the beginning of a lifelong career.

Do you have any hobbies? (woodworking, birding, knitting, Herpetoculture)

Too busy growing up in the trade show industry and raising a daughter to take up a hobby over the years, but I enjoy bike riding, hanging out at the beach with friends and family and love a good book.  My daughter and I support a couple of groups in our area to help the homeless.  We both enjoy giving back because we have so much.

Do you have any pets? We want to know all about them if you do.

We have two cats.  They are my daughter’s cats and turned 14 this year.  She named them Gem and Treasure when she was 6 years old and was very upset to find out Treasure was a boy.  She wanted two sister cats!  She loves them dearly, and I am allergic!  Talk about a labor of love!

What’s on your iPod?

I love jazz, blues, country and listening to the “oldies.”

If time travel was possible, where would you go and why? (You cannot choose the future because it hasn’t happened yet and there is the possibility you may have to stay put wherever you travel to … So answer wisely.)

I have been reconnecting more with my deceased mother’s family the past few years.  She was one of 10 children, so it’s a big family!  I’d like to go back and learn more about my heritage.  My daughter and I took the 23 and Me DNA test a year ago and we are learning that we have many relatives of European descent, so some trip to Europe, maybe?

Name three people you would love to have lunch with? (Living, dead, famous, infamous, unknown …)

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Katherine Hepburn, Duke Ellington

What are your future goals? (Career, education, travel, etc.)

To help my daughter through the next few years of her life finishing college and getting a job that she loves and will make her happy.  I’d like to volunteer more; pay it forward; and have some more time to spend with family and friends.   There are a few places I want to see – Ireland to start!  Yes, I’m Irish!

Thank you Robbi for being such a great sport! We wish your daughter all the luck in the world landing that perfect job. You are already a great role model to everyone in the industry and have a blast in Ireland

Social Stalking – How It Will Help You Win Leads at Shows and Beyond

September 6, 2014
Trace Cohen

Trace Cohen is the Co-founder of, the only Event News Management Platform for expos, tradeshows and events to increase their social engagement, buzz and revenue with their exhibitor and show news by creating a Digital Media Center for them.

My first company focused solely on online reputation management, so I have a relatively strong digital presence and am generally off put when someone doesn’t “Social Stalk” me before we meet.

I put a great deal of time and effort into making certain all the information I want someone to know about me, personally and professionally, is online. In this way, my first true impression is before we ever actually meet.

Have you ever Googled yourself? Probably not, but you should! You might be surprised… Here are my Google results for Trace Cohen – so let’s run through different social networks and how you can use them to your advantage: 


First, make sure you have a complete profile, so people know your title, company and your interests. If you’re social stalking someone, checkout their recent tweets to see what they’re interested in or doing or were they’ve been. In this way, when you do meet or email them, you can make it more personal! 


LinkedIn was once thought of as the professional Facebook – it is so much more now. A LinkedIn profile is your digital work history (I always check this out before I meet with someone).It notes your work history, skills, job description and most importantly, connections in common.

Personal/Professional Web Site

I had a personal website that not only had information on my personal/professional life, but links to all social sites and platforms that I use.

This was basically my digital hub online and contained information I wanted people to know about me. If you don’t have one, it is important that your company site has your credentials and background history as it can help generate leads or better inform someone about you when they are making a decision.

It’s not that I don’t like the “getting-to-know-you” small talk when I first meet with someone; however, I am certainly impressed when someone knows some small fact about me, which quickly makes a solid connection.

In business, I like to make certain I know as much as possible about the person to whom I am interacting with, especially if it can lead to a business a partnership or at least make them more confident to act as a referral or make additional introductions.

Privacy is definitely a concern, for all of us. Never, place anything online that you don’t want people to know about. When it comes to your work history though, you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished and your career goals. No one likes to be sold but people do business with people they want to do business with.

Go build your reputation online and fill out your profiles!