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.

Last year was a good one for Global Experience Specialists, with the recent earnings report indicating that GES scored a 14.6 percent increase in Q4 revenues, from $213.4 million during the same quarter in 2014 to $244.5 million last year.

In addition, GES’ full-year revenues also saw a 3.4 percent increase, from $944.5 million in 2014 to $976.9 million last year.

“We had a very good 4th quarter for both of our businesses,” said Steve Moster, Viad president and CEO. He added that the 4th quarter beat expectations, and the full-year results were in line with expectations.

For the full-year, Moster said, “The more modest full-year revenue growth reflects solid performance from the acquisitions we completed during 2014, strong same-show growth and new wins that helped to offset significant negative show rotation and unfavorable exchange rates.“

He added that overall same-show growth of 8 percent was particularly strong last year.

In addition, strong revenues were driven as result of the acquisitions of several companies at the end of 2014 – including onPeak, Travel Planners, N200 and Blitz.

“2015 was a great year for the acquisitions,” Moster said. “They are now all fully integrated as well.”

Part of that integration was introducing the new companies and the services they offered – accommodations, registration and AV – to not only existing and potential clients, but also the company’s team members.

In order to make the integration as smooth as possible and support offering services based on clients’ needs, Moster said the leaders from all of the companies got together to “really understand the breadth of services provided, look at the opportunity map and (also) identify synergies between businesses.”

At the annual GES kick-off meeting last year, each of the business segments was presented in detail “to really bring everyone up to speed about each other,” Moster said.

Looking into the future, he added, the company wants to expand the existing offerings, such as onPeak, into overseas markets and bring overseas services, such as registration, over to North America.

As far as the overall outlook for this year, Moster said, “We continue to see good sales traction in both our new service offerings and in corporate and consumer events, as well as favorable industry conditions.  Looking ahead, those factors, combined with positive show rotation, should result in substantial year-over-year growth in 2016.”

Attendee Data Collection: Weighing the Risks & Rewards

February 9, 2016
Marlys Arnold

Exhibit marketing strategist and consultant Marlys Arnold is the author of “Build a Better Trade Show Image” and host of the Trade Show Insights (]]>]]>) blog and podcast.

Everyone’s talking about “big data” these days, but exactly what does that involve?

Thanks to a variety of technology tools, shows now have the ability to collect a wealth of information about attendees: demographics, interests, social media details, job title/role, number of years attending, buying authority, time spent on the show floor (and in what areas), reasons for attending, other shows attended and more.

Having all this data provides insight into who really is participating in the event and how to find others who are similar. It also offers the opportunity to make adjustments and create an event which more accurately connects with the audience.

For example: Traffic counts can be used to adjust the flow and ease bottlenecks on the showfloor – or attendee interests can help to create personalized experiences with suggested sessions to attend, exhibitors to visit, or even other attendees to meet.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) used data they collected to develop profiles of six specific attendee segments. These audience personas were combined with feedback gained from focus groups and post-event surveys to create personalized marketing campaigns and onsite experiences.

Promotions were tailored to reflect age group, attendance history, and more. Then depending on which sessions each attendee registered for, they were offered suggestions for other topics of interest as well as exhibits to visit.

Attendees loved being able to custom-design their experience and as AAFP Meetings & Conventions Director Tom Pellet said, “Using the data we gathered has totally changed the complexion of our event.”

What about the methods to collect all of this information? Much of the demographics, history, and interests can be gathered at the time of registration. However presenting a laundry-list of questions turns off attendees and likely won’t be filled out completely.

Consider offering some kind of incentive for attendees to share data (some shows even gamify the process), and remind them how they will benefit with an improved experience or conveniences on-site.

On-site behavior, such as traffic patterns/movement, interactions, dwell time, and sessions attended can be compiled in the background using RFID, beacons, heat maps, and show apps. But several challenges exist in this area, including the fact that show apps are still not gaining the kind of traction necessary to get accurate data: the Event Manager Blog’s Event App Bible report states that only 33 percent of events surveyed have at least 50 percent of attendees using their app.

Shows also must be careful about making assumptions based on surface data. For example, if someone leaves a session early it isn’t necessarily a reflection on the topic or speaker, but perhaps a matter of receiving an urgent phone call.

Transparency about how data is being collected and how it will be used is crucial – it’s a matter of building and keeping attendee trust. Using aggregate data is fine, but be very cautious when compiling and using personal data. First, it should always be stored on a secure server. Data breaches are a growing threat (no matter how small the event or list) because thieves want to get their hands on credit cards, email addresses, and passwords.

A second security issue involves how the list is used. Bottom line: never rent or sell the data due to privacy issues. (Yes, that includes sharing it with exhibitors … a touchy subject for most shows!)

While most attendees recognize that their personal information will be used for the purpose of marketing the current and future event, they may not be accepting of other uses. For example, they might be fearful of having their movements tracked, either online (e.g., ad stalking) or at the event.

Once all this mountain of data is collected, it’s worthless unless there’s a structured system in place for compiling and analyzing everything. It can either become an overwhelming blur of information, or it can be an incredible tool for creating future floor plans, marketing materials, sponsorships, and programming. The potential is there … it’s up to each show what to make of it.

World of Concrete Draws Close to 60,000 Attendees to Las Vegas Convention Center

February 8, 2016
Rachel Wimberly

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

Music blasting from loudspeakers that pumped up the standing-room only crowd who cheered on the more than 20 contestants of the Bricklayer 500 World Championship, in which 800 bricks are placed in an hour flat, was just one of the many exciting opportunities offered to attendees of World of Concrete.

The show, which ran Feb. 2-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and is owned by Informa Exhibitions, was a huge hit overall, drawing its largest attendance in seven years, according to Tom Cindric, vice president at Informa.  

The unaudited attendance numbers were tracking an 8-10-percent increase, compared with last year’s show that drew 55,000.

“The showfloor also is close to 750,000 net square feet, which also is the largest in seven years,” Cindric added.  In addition, there were an estimated 1,500 exhibitors showing all the latest products for concrete professionals.

The show had some new areas, such as the pre-cast section of the show, which Cindric said was a “big industry for us,” as well as an expanded decorative concrete area.

The education sessions also grew, with some of the sessions, such as the ones that focused on hands-on training in which they took a class, then an exam and then went outside and put it to practice right away, completely selling out.

Attendees also had the opportunity to take part in an off-site tour to visit the Hoover Dam and see it thought the eyes of a structural engineer.

Back at the Las Vegas CC, at the Concrete Industry Management Auction, which last year raised $850,000 to support attracting your professionals into the concrete industry, someone could bid on items ranging from getaways to the Kentucky Derby to truckloads of concrete mix.

For first-time attendee Wayne Burroughs, who works with Western Star Trucks out of Laurel, Miss., World of Concrete was the perfect place for him to bring two of his customers and show them around.

“It’s just awesome,” he said. “There is so much to see in the concrete industry.”

For exhibitors like Joey Peters, who works with Oldcastle Architectural, said the show also was the perfect place to unveil the company’s new brand – Echelon.

“This is the first place we are introducing Echelon to create awareness,” Peters said. “It’s only a month old, so it’s the initial tease to this group. The primary audience is architects.”

The positive energy on the showfloor reflected the positivity in the overall concrete industry, according to Cindric.

“Right now, (the industry) is going really well,” he said. “The construction industry is coming back, and so are infrastructure and road projects. We have a fundamental problem in the U.S. with bridges. They aren’t sound, and there are a lot of projects happening around the U.S.”

Attendance also has seen a boost from people coming from other countries, with the largest contingent traveling in from Canada, as well as a strong showing from South America.

“About 15-20 percent of our total attendance is international,” said Steven Pomerantz, senior marketing manager for Informa U.S. “We work with the International Buyer Program, and there were 50 delegations that came over.”

Cindric added that the show went from being run by a domestic show organizer, Hanley Wood Exhibitions, to an international one after it was bought by U.K-based Informa.

World of Concrete now has a presence with pavilions at several existing Informa shows, such as Construct Canada and Buildex Vancouver.

In addition, the World of Concrete has satellite shows in Paris and India that continue to grow the brand overseas.

Pomerantz said on the second day of the show that exhibitors “seem really happy so far because the show is really busy.”

Cindric added that resigns for next year’s show were going really well. “We usually book at least 65 percent onsite,” he added.

Having the show do so well at the beginning of the year kicks off a good feeling for the overall concrete industry Pomerantz added. “It builds confidence for the business,” he said.

5 Benefits to Taking Your Event Online

February 6, 2016
Drew VanVooren

]]>Drew VanVooren]]> is President of]]> INXPO]]>, where he helps organizations engage their employees, customers and business partners using]]>INXPO’s solutions for live online events powered by video.]]>

With constant enhancements in technology and the continuous fight to remain competitive, there has been a surge in ways to increase event revenue. With this surge  we are seeing a dramatic shift in the way content is being consumed at events. Virtual and hybrid events in the form of conferences, job fairs, and trade shows are becoming the norm, adding a new approach to traditional events.

If you’re thinking about hosting one yourself, here are 5 benefits to going virtual. 

1. Extend the Life of your Event

One of the most helpful elements of a virtual event is the fact that it has an afterlife. 

Sessions can be recorded and referenced as on demand sessions for users to reference back to, re-watch, and share. There is no need to worry about taking notes or missing a big idea because every presentation, chat, and Q&A session is recorded.

2. Drive Overall Engagement

The interactive features of a virtual event allow for more conversations to take place within the presentation. Games, chat, polling, and Q&A allow for continuous audience 

engagement, learning, and creating meaningful connections. These tools also help the client to better understand the audience’s perception and gain valuable insight.

3. Quick Set Up and No Tear Down

Virtual events include all the same elements you would see in a physical event like  handouts, sponsor booths, and breakout sessions without the hassle of setting up large stages or breakout rooms. A major highlight of virtual events is that there is no complicated set up or break down after the event. You simply end your last session, and it’s a wrap!

4. Reach a Global Audience

Adding a virtual event to your event strategy offers many great benefits including the ability to reach a mass audience. You can extend your reach with the ability for attendees to easily share your registration pages beyond your list of participants. Anyone can attend a virtual event regardless of where they are located, and they can also view and participate from any mobile device making virtual events perfect for people on the go.

5. Receive Metrics and Audience Data in Real Time

With virtual events, you are able to track new leads, see how engaged your audience is, and track which attendees convert to physical attendees at the next event. With this data at hand, you can easily measure results and make continuous improvements to your program.

Virtual events are rising to the top as a preferred way to learn, network, and share ideas with like-minded people regardless of their location. There are many great use cases for adding a virtual component to your next event. Companies use virtual events to help create interest and drive physical attendance for future events. Some use virtual events as teasers to promote content and attract a larger audience to their physical event. Others use virtual events to generate more sales. Regardless of the use case, virtual events are being used more frequently to lower costs, connect dispersed audiences and increase their event ROI.

How to Ensure You Have the Needed Bandwidth for Your Meeting

February 4, 2016
Pat Swan

Pat Swan, Global Account Manager with ]]>showNets]]>, LLC, develops and oversees the implementation of network services for high-priority corporate clientele such as Salesforce, Amazon, and the American Society of Hematology. 

Wireless access is something every show organizer needs but few understand. Here are some great tips to think about before and during an event to ensure your attendees stay connected.

In Advance of the Event

 Know your requirements before you talk to a venue or managing vendor. Consider all of the space you’re using and the needs in each room. Don’t omit any relevant space.

 Are your attendees device heavy? Many now carry two or three devices and use wireless for all of them. This is important information for your venue/vendor.

 Consider last year’s complaints as information that can help your current venue/vendor understand your needs.

 What do your attendees do on the wireless network? Do they primarily check email, or do they engage in a lot of downloading/uploading? If the latter, you’ll likely need more bandwidth.

 Will you have an app in use? If so, send it out in advance of the show and encourage attendees to download it before they arrive. If everyone tries to download on-site at once, say, at registration, you run the risk of overload and might have problems with the app.

 Are you doing any polling during your events? Share the details with your venue/vendor with respect to room location and frequency.

 Include Internet needs on your speaker questionnaires. Ask if they will use the Internet in any form (wireless or hardline) and, if so, what they will be doing.

 Avoid surprises. For example, tell your Internet staff in advance if you plan to give every attendee a gift device that they all are likely to turn on at once. Your staff must know of such potential heavy use to plan correctly — or advise against it if the available network cannot handle such a load.

On Site

 Monitor your hashtag and respond to Internet issues.

 Check your bandwidth in different locations during the event and record your findings; verify that it’s what you ordered. Use online tools such as ]]>]]>

 Give attendees a place to go if they have issues. Create an Internet Help Desk, or be sure you can send them to the registration desk to find help  

 A tip we often give: Know that wireless cannot travel through water; think of people as water. If you’re in a crowded area and are having connection problems, move to a less crowded area.

Advice for Attendees

 Post tips (or provide a handout at registration) on what attendees should do if they can’t connect, such as the following.

 For smartphones:

 – Turn your device on and off.
 – In the Wi-Fi settings, instruct the device to forget the network and then re-connect.
 – Turn your Wi-Fi off for 15 seconds, then turn it back on.
 – Know if you have a 2.4 or 5.0 GHz device; if you have 2.4, consider upgrading.

 For problems with computers:

 – Manage your network settings by removing networks you don’t use anymore; this forces your computer to find them again, which serves to refresh the settings.
 – Quit all applications (to start clean) and turn off or restart.
 – Try using a different web browser than you typically use (e.g., Chrome instead of Internet Explorer). The login site might perform better with some browsers than others

Exhibit Design House MC² Buys Marketing Firm Brand Promotions

February 4, 2016

MC² (“MC-squared”), an exhibit, event and environment design and production agency, has acquired Brand Promotions, an experiential marketing and brand activation company. 

The addition of Brand Promotions expands MC²’s growth opportunities within its existing trade show and events portfolio by offering expanded experiential marketing tours capabilities, according to  MC²  officials. 

“We’re delighted to welcome Brand Promotions to the MC² family. They are a proven leader and creative force in the experiential marketing space. They are a great, hard-working team who share the same high-level of commitment to the people we serve,” said Rich McAdam, president of MC². 

He added, “With several of our existing clients involved in mobile marketing tours, acquiring Brand Promotions was a logical step for us to build these capabilities into our core offering and extend them to our existing base of business.”

With headquarters in Los Angeles, Brand Promotions annually operates more than 250 event-days nationwide. This includes annual campaigns and single events for B2C and B2B audiences. 

Having partnered on several projects for high-profile` clients, the integration of the two companies will benefit MC²’s client base with expanded brand activation capabilities and will increase Brand Promotions’ reach with MC²’s robust sales, design, build and project management. 

“With this new capability, MC² can provide our clients with powerful activations backed up by a seasoned team of ambassadors ready to deliver customized personal experiences. Our clients will reap big benefits from this level of expertise and service,” said Gary Benson, CEO of MC². 

He added, “We have already produced incredible results working together as partners. Now that we are one company, our clients will have the luxury of consistent brand representation across all of their face-to-face engagements – from trade shows, custom environments and events and now, mobile marketing tour activations.”

Based in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., MC² has 14 locations in the U.S. and Germany.

“We are excited to join forces with an industry leader like MC²,” said Charles (Chuck) Brand, president of Brand Promotions. 

He added, “Working with MC² has been a great experience. We look forward to being a part of their national network.”

Sentinel Capital Partners Buys Home and Garden Show Company Marketplace Events

February 3, 2016

Private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners bought Marketplace Events, which organizes home and garden shows in the United States and Canada. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are very excited about our investment in Marketplace Events,” said Michael Fabian, a partner at Sentinel. “We seek to invest in niche market leaders, and Marketplace Events is the clear leader in the North American home and garden show industry.”

He added, “Moreover, the business was extremely resilient during the 2008 economic downturn and should benefit from positive tailwinds in the home remodeling and repair sector in the years ahead.”

Headquartered in Solon, Ohio, Marketplace Events organizes and operates consumer shows targeting the home improvement and enthusiast market, including remodeling, home decor and gardening.

Marketplace’s show portfolio is comprised of 44 total events, including 29 U.S. home and garden shows, 13 Canadian home and garden shows and two holiday boutique shows.

The shows bring together 14,000 exhibitors, 1.5 million consumers and 1.5 million unique Web visitors on an annual basis.

Marketplace expanded its portfolio rapidly in the past few years, including the acquisition of Casa Latina Home Expo, Edmonton Renovation Show and two more home shows in Raleigh, N.C.

Marketplace Events employs 110 people across 12 offices in North America. The organizational structure, operations and employee base of Marketplace Events are not affected by this transaction. All current shows and staff will continue with the business.

“We have never been more confident in our business model or our future than we are now,” said Tom Baugh, Marketplace Events’ CEO. “Our shows provide an invaluable face-to-face meeting place for our exhibitors and consumers. We believe our partnership with Sentinel will allow us to accelerate our growth. Although we will continue to launch new shows, the biggest single change will be our ability to make strategic acquisitions more aggressively.”

The company expects to announce six new shows by the end of February 2016, which will take the portfolio to 50 total events.

New Omni Hotel Breaks Ground Next to Kentucky International Convention Center

February 3, 2016

Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts broke ground on its 30-story, 853,000-square-foot hotel and luxury apartment complex today in downtown Louisville adjacent to the Kentucky International Convention Center.

“The Omni is a game-changer for Louisville’s hospitality industry increasing our convention business potential in a competitive marketplace. Louisville currently hosts 12.7 million visitors each year,” said Karen Williams, president and CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He added, “A hotel project of this scope will help support further tourism growth.”

The Omni Louisville Hotel is slated to open by March 31, 2018, and will have 612 hotel rooms and 225 luxury apartments.

In addition, the complex will have nearly 70,000 square feet of flexible meeting space and three restaurants, including Bob’s Steak & Chophouse, a popular steakhouse in existing Omni properties.

There also will be a lobby lounge and a lower-level rooftop pool deck that will have a bar and full kitchen. In a nod to Louisville’s bourbon history and culture, the Omni plans to create a speakeasy-style bar with bowling lanes on the lobby level.

Other planned amenities include a spa and fitness center and an urban grocery and market that will offer an array of groceries and household products.

Robert Rowling, founder of Dallas-based TRT Holdings, the holding company of Omni Hotels & Resorts, was on-hand at the groundbreaking to talk about the importance of the project to Omni and how they plan to incorporate the uniqueness and special culture of Louisville into the design so it will not be a “cookie-cutter property”. 

“Of all the things going on at Omni right now, this is probably the one I’m most excited about,” Rowling said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer added that Omni is an “authentic, unique brand that will become part of our city’s DNA.”

The Omni will offer another high-end brand to leisure travelers and help Louisville attract larger conventions with the addition of more than 600 new hotel rooms.

The timing is bolstered by the renovation and expansion of the adjacent Kentucky International Convention Center, which is set to be complete in August 2018.

Global Trade Show Industry Indicates Strength in North America, Europe – Challenges with Millennial Staffing

February 2, 2016
Rachel Wimberly

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

UFI, The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry’s Global Barometer Survey, which takes the pulse of the trade show industry worldwide, indicated that North America and Europe, with the exception of Russia, are predicting positive revenue results in 2016.

On the other hand, in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, the situations remain generally positive, but with a certain level of uncertainty.

 In Central and South America half of the surveyed companies are expecting decreases of turnover, but an improvement is expected in Brazil for the second half of 2016.

“Despite limited global economy growth prospects, the exhibition industry appears dynamic and confident for 2016, with turnover increases expected in most regions and new activities planned for most companies,” said Kai Hattendorf, UFI managing director.

In this year’s survey, companies were asked whether they were seeing higher HR acquisition costs because of increasing turnover among young staff.

Every third company surveyed globally reported higher acquisition costs, with the highest share coming from Asia/Pacific region (55 percent) and the lowest reported in Europe (14 percent).

Hattendorf added, “ … as an industry, we have to make sure to be visible and attractive for young, talented staff – the growing costs of hiring talent shows that we will have to work at it.”

In terms of operating profits, around three to four companies out of 10 on average, declared an increase of more than 10 percent in their annual profits for 2015; the U.S. and the Middle East outperform these results, but lower levels are identified in Brazil and Russia.

The most important business issues to show organizers who were surveyed continue to be related to the general economic situation.

The ‘state of the economy’ in the respective home market, and uncertainty about ‘global economic development’ consistently have been selected as among the most important business issues for the last five years.

‘Competition from within the industry’ and ‘Internal challenges’ also rank highly. Of growing global importance is the ‘impact of digitalization’, being rated fifth globally, and fourth in Europe.

In terms of strategy, a large majority of companies intend to develop new activities, in either the classic range of exhibition industry activities (venue/organizer/services), or in live events or virtual events, or in both: 75 percent in the Middle East & Africa, 86 percent in Asia/Pacific, 87 percent in Europe and 93 percent in the Americas.

In terms of expanding into new markets around the world, only one to two of the surveyed companies out of 10 on average, in all regions, declared an intention to develop operations in new countries.

The survey was conducted in December 2015 and includes data from 240 companies in 58 countries.

In the new, expanded format of the report, its results are detailed for 12 global core markets of the industry, including the following eight major national markets: Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and U.S.

Full results of the 16th Global Barometer Survey can be freely downloaded at The next UFI Global Barometer Survey will be conducted in June 2016.

Fancy Food Show, NAMM Show, SHOT Show All Post Strong Attendee, Exhibitor Numbers

February 1, 2016
Rachel Wimberly

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

The trade show industry had a strong kick off for 2016, with shows posting big exhibitor and attendee numbers that focused on not only what the newest gourmet food trends might be, but also the latest in musical instruments and everything that someone interested in shooting and hunting might need.

The 2016 Winter Fancy Food Show, owned by the Specialty Food Association and held Jan. 17-19 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, drew 1,500 exhibitors from across the U.S. and 28 countries to exhibit space that covered 215,000 square feet, enough to fill more than four football fields with food. 

Amid record sales in the $109 billion specialty food industry, the show drew close to 20,000 attendees, a 16-percent increase above 2015 numbers.

Buyers represented top names in retailing, restaurants and foodservice including Whole Foods, Kroger, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Williams-Sonoma, Alaska Airlines, and hundreds of local specialty and natural food markets.  

“The appetite for specialty food is stronger than ever across all sales channels. The success of our show is a clear indication,” says Laura Santella-Saccone, chief marketing officer of the Specialty Food Association.

The Summer Fancy Food Show is up next – June 26-28 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York.

Held January 21-24, the 115th National Association of Music Merchants’ Show welcomed a record number of exhibitors and registrants to the Anaheim Convention Center.

“As we look at the record number of exhibiting brands, influx of new entrepreneurial spirit and attendance from 125 countries, the industry seems poised for vital growth and breakthroughs,” said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond.

He added, “The NAMM Show is a reflection of our industry, not only where it is now, but even more importantly where it is heading next. NAMM members brought their A-game to Anaheim this week with creative, innovative, beautiful products.”

A record 1,726 exhibiting companies, representing more than 6,000 brands were on the showfloor, which was a 7-percent increase in exhibiting companies, compared with 2015’s event.

A mix of NAMM member buyers and retail employees, exhibitors, media, artists, NAMM members’ invited guests, NAMM’s Generation Next (college music students) and Music Education Day participants (school music teachers) resulted in a record 101,736 attendees, a 2-percent increase, compared with last year’s record-setting event.

Next up is Summer NAMM, on tap June 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) rang up its second highest attendance total ever, attracting more than 64,000 industry professionals during a four-day run.

Held Jan. 19-22 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, the SHOT Show also attracted a record number of buyers, sending a strong signal about the health of the firearms industry.

“We are ecstatic at the response to this year’s show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

He added, “And we’re optimistic for a year of strong sales, shooter participation, business-to-consumer outreach efforts, safety education and technological innovation.”

This year’s SHOT Show offered several new features, including SHOT Show TV, which aired in more than 70,000 hotel rooms across the city, a new NSSF Members Reception and the SHOT Show NEXT Pavilion.

Click ]]>HERE]]> for SHOT Show highlights from CNTV.

“It takes an in-depth knowledge of what our industry wants and where it wants to go to pull off a show of this size and have the vast majority of those attending state, unequivocally, that this is the best show they’ve attended in years,” said Dolnack. “That kind of positive response is the result of working hard to add value to the customer experience through new, innovative features.”

The 2017 SHOT Show is scheduled for Jan. 17-20 at the Sands Expo.