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.