For those of you that always see the glass half empty, wondering if you should continue exhibiting at trade shows, consider that face-to-face marketing has been around since the ancient Greek markets. The human being is a tactile creature. We enjoy interaction, hands on demonstrations and multiple visual choices. We inherently prefer to rely on all 5 senses in our decision making process, sometimes maybe even 6 if intuition comes into play. Businesses are exhibiting and attendees are coming in droves to use those senses.
Here are a few of this quarters headlines from the trade show industry. Rest assured, trade shows are filling exhibit halls around the world with success. The game is played a bit differently these days but if you know the new rules and have the right team in place to brand you properly the trade show floor can be a fantastic marketing tool.
Trade Show Industry Headlines.
AHR Expo is the latest of several shows that have kicked off the New Year on a positive note by shattering previous attendance records for one of its West Coast-based shows with its first time in Las Vegas.
The show for the air-conditioning, heating and refrigerating sector, held Jan. 31 – Feb. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracted more than 34,000 attendees and 20,000 exhibiting personnel, as well as 1,938 exhibiting companies.
In addition to drawing the most attendees for a West Coast-based event in AHR Expo’s 80-year history, the show also was the largest one ever held outside of Chicago or New York.
Previously, the largest West Coast show was held in 2004 in Anaheim. This year’s total attendance surpassed the Anaheim event by more than 40 percent, while the 1,938 exhibiting companies and 379,360 square feet of exhibit space also were 16-percent larger than the Anaheim show, according to show organizers.
The number of exhibiting companies at the 2011 show was the second-highest in AHR Expo’s history, with 200 first-time exhibitors and nearly 400 international companies from 31 different countries.
If the increased attendance and record-breaking show floor at Nielsen Expositions’ Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, Jan. 20-23 at Salt Lake City’s Salt Palace Convention Center, is any indication, then hiking, mountain climbing, fly-fishing and other outdoor pursuits are seeing some good times.
Preliminary attendance numbers for this year’s show indicate that overall attendance will be up 16 percent, compared with 2010, when 16,936 overall attendees came to the show.
“Outdoor Retailer is definitely the place where I can see the most brands within the outdoor space in one area,” said attendee Phil Shettig from Podium Sports in Summit County, Colorado. “It’s the best place to find that concentrated group of products.”
The show floor also broke records at this year’s show, with 349,950 net square feet sold, and exhibitors gave the show high marks as well.
Indianapolis just opened a game-changing 254,000 square foot expansion of the Indiana Convention Center that will boost the center from the 32nd largest trade show venue in the United States to the 16th largest trade show venue.
The $275 million project now boasts 566,600 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, plus 83 meeting and ballroom spaces. When combined with the attached Lucas Oil Stadium, the facilities offer 749,100 sq. ft. of exhibit space.