A Rising Tide ナ Lifts All Tradeshows

July 20, 2013

Adam Schaffer

Adam Schaffer is Vice President, Tradeshows and Exhibitions for HelmsBriscoe and a member of the IAEE Senior Executives Programming Task Force.

There is a very interesting tidal shift in the U.S tradeshow industry. It’s a well sailed ocean in Europe, but a new current here. 

What’s the big splash? Cities investing in tradeshows. I am not talking about wooing shows to the city. I am talking about money on the table types of partnerships. 

As we all know, the German Messe’s have long owned and operated tradeshows on behalf their cities.  In addition, they have branched out all over the world with excellent results. Messe Deusseldorf alone has events in 13 OTHER countries (now including the U.S.) than Germany, and many of their shows IN Germany are the largest in the world in their industry. Most impressive.

If you have read this far you hopefully noticed the parenthetical above “now including the U.S.” Yep, Messe Duesseldorf North America (MDNA) is running shows in Houston and San Jose.  In Houston, where MDNA will floor Medical World Americas, the city has made an investment in the show. Messe Deusseldorf knows about medical shows, hosting MEDICA the world’s largest annual medical show, with 4,500 exhibitors and 130,000 attendees. 

Houston knows about medicine, as home to the Texas Medical Center (the world’s largest such organization) and its 92,000 employees and 52 partner institutions, which include the world renown University of Texas MD Anderson, Texas Heart Institute and Baylor College. Makes perfect sense. The show supports the medical community in the city and the city and the medical community support the show. 

Houston also partnered in a similar fashion with VP International to bring the Total Energy USA show to the city. Energy. Oil. Houston. Makes sense. 

New Orleans is doing it also. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center dipped their toes into the show ownership pool when it partnered with Imago Productions for the launch the International Disaster Conference & Exposition. Sadly, New Orleans knows a little bit about disasters. But hey, capitalize on what you do well.  No arguments there. 

I applaud these cities and show organizers for diving in. This model works and it’s a brilliant opportunity for the business here in between the two oceans. I wish you happy sailing.

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