Confidence Strong at EXHIBITOR 2013

Confidence Strong at EXHIBITOR 2013 altConfidence Strong at EXHIBITOR 2013

Improving expectations of sales and the position of the United States at the top of global market drove increasing exhibitor and attendee confidence at 2013 EXHIBITOR Show, the annual gathering of the trade show industry that took place March 17–21 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Some 296 exhibitors presented everything from motion-activated displays to live sculpting to inflatable chairs, not to mention the latest in creative strategy and social media integration. The show attracted about 5,600 attendees and spanned approximately 67,000 square feet, up 13.5 percent compared with 2012.

“This is our best show since 2006 in terms of square footage and exhibitor count,” said Wayne Dunham, EXHIBITOR public relations consultant. “Exhibitors advisory council said that they’ve had a great show and that people on the floor are serious shoppers.”

Exhibit Surveys recently recognized the EXHIBITOR Show as the No. 1 show in America for Net Buying Influence, with 98 percent of the show’s attendees in 2012 having the power to specify, recommend or to make final purchasing decisions. It was also in the top 10 for Total Buying plans, with 62 percent actually preparing to purchase within 12 months.

First-time Canadian Exhibitor Matt Obst with Rhoddy was banking on this trend to continue. “We’ve had a fantastic time so far,” he said. “We’re growing fast and doing a lot of business in the States. We’ll be definitely back next year.”

Improving economic conditions in the U.S. also have attracted a growing international contingent that included attendees from 43 countries and exhibitors from nine. Dunham noted that for the first time the show had to arrange interpreting services for groups from Brazil and Japan.

Back after several years, the German Pavilion had a prominent presence with a gleaming exhibit and über popular “Made in Germany” bags.

Several exhibitors noted that the U.S. is among the fastest-growing global markets, along with China and India. They were looking for local partners to execute the trade show programs of their European clients in the U.S.

There also was a lot happening off the floor. The event offered a robust educational program with more than 200 sessions, 75 of which were new. Many exhibitors opted to share expertise and invest resources in the roundtables, receptions and other events where they could be face-to-face with attendees.

“People don’t want to be sold to, and there’re a lot of products here,” said Simon Fairweather, chief creative officer with EEI Global that had scaled back their booth this year but went heavy in other forms of engagement. “We do want to make a statement with our sho floor presence, but at the same time, we want to listen to what attendees have to say so we can help them address their problems better.”

Sherry Howell, corporate event manager for Texas Instruments, was one of the coveted decision-makers roaming the floor. She said she was impressed with the quality of exhibits and was excited to share ideas of technology use with her team.

“Exhibitors here are very cutting edge,” Howell added. “I love it how they use technology to demo products and to connect with customers. It’s a much deeper integration of touch technology and it’s very cool.” She said the budget for her is staying steady, but she’s hoping to see an increase next year.

The Best in Show Awards went to: Derse for best large exhibit, Armadilo Display Solutions for best small exhibit, Exhibitus for best staff and Blair Inc. for best new exhibitor.

EXHIBITOR is coming back March 16-20, 2014, to Mandalay Bay.

Bustling EXHIBITOR show floor suggests good year ahead

WRITTEN BY EXHIBIT CITY NEWS
Three days of face-to-face engagement and accelerated sales cycles during a record-setting EXHIBITOR2013 show bodes well for the tradeshow industry this year.

EXHIBITOR has been ranked the top tradeshow in the United States for net-buying influence among attendees, according to research conducted by Exhibit Surveys. About 98 percent of those who attended the EXHIBITOR show last had the power to specify, recommend or make final purchasing decisions within their organizations, according to Exhibit Surveys. And some 61 percent indicated they would make a purchase within 12 months of the 2012 show.

“These percentages are well ahead of the averages for all tradeshows,” said Lee Knight, CEO, EXHIBITOR Media Group. “Over the last 10 years, the profile of EXHIBITOR attendees has consistently ranked us among the top shows who have qualified decision-makers with buying power.”

More than 275 exhibitors occupied about 65,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Mandalay bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, making the 2013 show the event’s largest during its 25-year history.  Some 219 exhibitors took up more than 52,000 square feet of exhibit space last year. And educational programs topped 200 this year, making EXHIBITOR as critical for career success as it is sales success.

“It’s a great show to be in. I’m impressed by the amount of people who have stopped by and shown interest,” said Brandon Watson, owner and president, Streamline Show Services. “We hope to be back next year.”

Watson’s company is new to the tradeshow industry and was nominated for the new product showcase for its unique “Show, Stack, Ship” display system that doubles as a crate system for product transportation. The system eliminates the need to store crates and other moving materials while a tradeshow is in progress and enables quicker exit times after a show ends, saving on labor and drayage costs.

Although not new to EXHIBITOR, Reality Engineering made its return several years after going on a tradeshow hiatus at the start of the recent economic meltdown that crippled many industries. But with economic conditions improved at least slightly, a return to the tradeshow floor was in order to promote its new products for lead retrieval, business card capture technology and other services.

“We have so many new products to offer our industry,” said Shayna Metzner, account executive, Reality Engineering. “People more than ever need to measure their events – especially tradeshows. You need to qualify the leads you are getting.”

Participating in EXHIBITOR was the best way for Reality Engineering to introduce its new products and accelerate the sales cycle.

“It’s an excellent show and a really good turnout. We are seeing a lot of traffic, even on the last day,” said Metzner. “We got a booth right up front next year.”

Among other returning exhibitors was Expand International, which has been at EXHIBITOR for more than a decade and found the business pace to be brisk this year.

“The quality of leads seems to be better this year. There are fewer tire-kickers,” said Ed Fedorowich, marketing manager, Expand International. “We are seeing way more qualified leads, and the people coming to our booth know who we are. We’re going to be here again next year in the same spot.”

Another returning exhibitor was New York-based ExpoLinc, which was participating in its eighth EXHIBITOR event and was featuring its new panel base and magnet frame for banners and signage.

“This has been an exciting show for us. We’re seeing a lot of new people this year,” said Jan Firszt, national sales manager, ExpoLinc.

Exhibitors from all 50 states as well as Canada participated, but the international presence reflected the increasingly global nature of the tradeshow industry with exhibitors and attendess coming from 40 nations.

“We are especially pleased with the international contingent,” said Carol Fojtik, senior vice president, Hall-Erickson, the event’s management company. “The international exhibitors are telling us they are coming to connect with U.S. exhibitors both to find outlets in America and to help U.S. companies expand their overseas business.”

EXHIBITOR2013 ran from March 17 through March 21 and is slated to return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center again next year. Its apparent success bodes well for the tradeshow industry, which generally matches the pace and tone of the EXHIBITOR show throughout the year. And that means lots of qualified business leads and shortened sales cycles likely are in store for exhibitors.

February tradeshows announce increased participation

Posted by Exhibit City News

Several tradeshows that took place in February recently reported increased numbers over the 2012 versions for attendees, exhibitors and net square feet of exhibit space. From Las Vegas to New York, these shows delivered positive results for exhibitors and the industries they serve.

concrete

The WOC 2013 show covered more than 605,000 net square feet of exhibit space.

World of Concrete (WOC) 2013, which took place Feb. 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, surpassed all expectations in square footage and attendance. WOC is the only annual, international commercial-construction tradeshow for the concrete and masonry industries. The 2013 version attracted 54,869 professional registrants and showcased more than 1,300 indoor and outdoor exhibits in more than 605,000 net square feet of exhibit space, an increase of more than 53,000 net square feet over the 2012 show.

“Optimism was evident throughout World of Concrete 2013 with positive results from exhibitors as well as attendees,” said Jackie James, show director, WOC. “Exhibitors were so pleased with WOC 2013 that we have already booked more than 60 percent of the 2013 exhibit space for the 2014 show.”

Many exhibitors, including a significant number of new exhibitors, at WOC 2013 reported positive results from the show in 2014.

“We used to do other shows, but for the last 10 years this has been the only show that we do, and this year’s show is probably the best one I’ve been at in the last six years,” said Ron Turley of Ron Turley Associates Inc.

ireshow

Attendees at the IRE show stop to take in a show floor demonstration.

Professionals in the roofing industry also came out in full force at San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for the 2013 International Roofing Expo (IRE).

Held Feb. 5-7, total attendance for the 2013 IRE expo and conference was 8,491 – a 1.3 percent increase over the 2012 show, marking the third year in a row the show has seen an increase in attendance.

“There was a noticeable energy on the show floor among the attendees and exhibitors,” said Lindsay Roberts, group director, IRE. “The energy was evident throughout the show.”

In attendance were representatives from the industry’s leading roofing and construction companies, including commercial and residential contractors, builders, remodelers, architects and engineers.

“I attended the show for the great sessions as well as gaining better insight into new and existing products,” said Christopher Knott, sales manager, Cherry and Clark Roofing in Mississauga, Ontario.

Attendees represented all 50 states. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Australia and Brazil.

Switching from the construction industry, the 110th American International Toy Fair welcomed a surge in international attendees as visitors from 92 countries descended upon New York City to preview 150,000 innovative toys, games and youth entertainment products.

Owned and operated by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Toy Fair 2013 was held from Feb. 10-13 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The fair saw a 4 percent increase in international attendees, a 9 percent rise in licensors, a 6 percent increase in international manufacturer’s reps, and an 18 percent surge in foreign press. Total attendance during the four-day show was more than 24,000.

A blizzard that hit the New York City-area on the Friday before Toy Fair 2013 resulted in just six cancellations from the 1,066 pre-registered exhibitors, who filled a record-breaking 375,000 net square feet of exhibit space. The Toy Fair also welcomed 239 first-time exhibitors.

“Despite airport closures, flight cancellations, train disruptions and the closing of major roads due to the snowstorm, Toy Fair 2013 had a terrific turn-out, and the atmosphere on the floor was upbeat and energetic right up until the very end,” said Carter Keithley, president, TIA.

Toy Fair 2013 welcomed nearly 9,500 buyers from 5,000 retail outlets, including buyer delegations from 22 of the nation’s top 25 toy sellers.

“Our initial concerns that the show would be off due to the snow storm were quickly allayed by Sunday afternoon when our booth was filled to near-capacity with both familiar and new faces,” said Jason Schneider, director of product development and marketing, Ceaco/Gamewright. “Overall traffic was up and sales were stronger than ever.”

The Rental Show 2013, held from Feb. 10-13 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, also reported an extremely active show floor with its fourth straight year of increased attendance. The number of rental businesses represented also increased this year and reached the highest total since 2006, which was the 50th anniversary of The Rental Show.

Attendees came from throughout the U.S., Canada and more than 40 other countries.

“Overall, The Rental Show reflects where this industry is headed,” said Christine Wehrman, CEO, American Rental Association, organizer of The Rental Show. “Everyone anticipated a great show because of the attitude, tone and urgency we’ve seen from attendees on buying equipment. Everything about the show was positive this year.”

The show also saw an increase in buyers versus browsers.

“Subaru had a very good show. We were really happy with the increased attendance and the overall energy and excitement level of the attendees,” said Pam Meyer, equipment sales manager, Subaru Industrial Power Products. “Many attendees were armed with purchase orders in hand or a long list of items they needed to purchase when they came to the booth. That has not happened for several years.”

If February is any indication, the tradeshow industry is off to another good start in 2013.

Tradeshow graphic design trends boost productivity

Posted by Exhibit City News 
The U.S. economy just posted its first period of contraction since 2007, and many exhibitors are looking for ways to reduce costs while improving their performance at tradeshows and other events. Fortunately, more print shops offer graphic design services with a greater ability to provide eye-popping custom graphics.“People are starting to really trust and value design services offered in a print shop. With the continuous upgrades in programs, such as the Adobe Creative Suite, stock photo-purchasing options and different design styles based on the general subject matter, designs are being taken to new levels in the tradeshow industry,” said Lauren Spreitzer, online graphic designer, Nimlok. “The tools at our fingertips allow us to createtradeshow graphics quickly and efficiently to meet our customers’ deadlines.”

With an increased ability to produce quality graphics in-house, customers can get their products faster and at reduced cost. And that means a greater ability to produce high-quality custom graphics for less money.

orbus-booth

Companies like Orbus are offering more graphic design services to its customers.

“Designing the artwork in-house gives us the flexibility to build files according to our guidelines and reduces the preflight file checks required on most jobs,” said Jaime Herand, director of graphic operations, Orbus. “This can help us get the customer’s final product out the door faster with less shipping expenses for them.”

As might be expected, Adobe products continue setting the industry standard for graphic design software tools and make it possible to ensure an exact match for customer needs.

“The Adobe Creative Suite is constantly upgrading its software along with creating different plug-ins and program tools to make graphic design more diverse among the 3D world of design,” said Chris Prince, art services supervisor, Orbus. “With the addition of the Solid Works CAD drawing program, we are able to give graphic designers the ability to work directly off exported templates from the actual booth design. This will ensure that when setting up and designing the files, the artwork is 100 percent to the correct dimensions needed.”

While total confidence can be placed in dimensional needs, understanding and communicating design limitations does help ensure customer satisfaction in the final product. Color, in particular, can be a subjective element where opinions might differ on final outcomes. But when customers can see beforehand exactly what the final product will look like, it is easier to reach a consensus.

“There are various color tools to help our customers understand color and the limitations of large-format digital printers,” said Prince. “With tools like the Pantone matching system, our clients have a better handle on what to expect regarding color.”

While print shops have an enhanced ability to provide custom graphic designs for tradeshow booths and exhibits, those designs and graphic elements must complement the overall presentation.

“Graphic design for custom booths tends to be very clean and streamlined. As booths continue to incorporate more technology, lighting and fabric architecture, it is critical that the graphics blend with the overall booth,” said Herand. “The message on the display needs to be simple and clearly understood. There will always be new trends regarding font styles and color. As a designer, it is important to stay current on what is popular in the industry.”

Products requiring short production runs have also proven to be very popular. And tradeshows make great use of products designed to not only inform attendees but to provide easy solutions to last-minute problems.

“We are typically seeing requests for step-and-repeat backwalls, informational banner stands and table throws,” said Jenny Prado, art services supervisor, Orbus. “These products generally have a quick turnaround time, and the customer will need a last-minute solution.”

Although last-minute solutions often are necessary, allowing enough lead time to complete projects helps ensure a job is done well and on time.

“The lead time for graphic design can be anywhere from one to two days on commodity products, such as banner stands, backwalls or table throws, and four to five days on a custom booth design,” said Herand. “We will always try to work with a customer, even if the project is under lead time.”

With reduced costs and enhanced design and production capabilities, graphical elements are becoming a much more cost-effective marketing tool for tradeshow exhibitors.