13 Notable U.S. Health Care Trade Shows

January 17, 2017

Sofia Troutman

Sofia Troutman is the Senior Digital Marketing and Product Innovation Manager for Skyline Exhibits. Sofia heads up Skyline’s marketing efforts in new product development and management, lead generation, exhibitor education, industry relations and market research.

Health Care trade shows in the U.S. are currently in a period of re-adjustment. In a (recent industry study), research indicated that in the latter half of 2015, shows that are on an annual schedule (excluding outliers) took 0.6% less square footage of exhibit space than in the first half of 2015, had 1.9% fewer exhibitors, and attendance was down by 1.2%. The city of Chicago hosts two of the nation’s largest shows, Atlanta hosts two large shows and Las Vegas hosts one huge show and several smaller ones. Other top medical shows take place in Orlando and various cities in California. If you are looking for a good reference on the basic challenges and rules of healthcare events, Exhibitor Q&A has a good starting point summary.

While the adjustment in the number of exhibitors and attendance is likely to continue, in light of expected changes in the industry, many shows have demonstrated staying power in the industry. We have listed those notable shows below.

American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting – Nov. 11-14, 2017. The AAO Show, held in 2015 in Las Vegas, had 28,355 attendees, up an impressive 15.1% from 2014, and the attendance was up in all categories: U.S. Physicians, International Physicians, Health Professionals and sub-specialties.

Neuroscience – Nov. 12-16, 2016 in San Diego. This annual conference’s attendance in 2015 was 29,033, down 7.1% from 2014. The 2015 conference was held in Chicago and the 2016 conference was in San Diego. The Neuroscience conferences are a hotbed for sharing up-to-the-minute research, findings, and techniques among the world’s elite neuroscientists. Vendors are also held to elite standards, with requirements that all exhibits be of an educational nature, and emphasizing instruments, products and services for use in research or teaching.

Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) – Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 2016. Held annually in Chicago, the RSNA show had an attendance of 51,000 in 2015, down 9% from 2014. The 2015 RSNA show boasted international registration of 38% of the professionals in attendance. The theme for the 2016 RSNA conference was Beyond Imaging: Maximizing Radiology’s Role in Patient Care. There were 659 exhibitors, representing professional societies, radiological equipment manufacturers, lab equipment and supplies, software developers and more. And, if you weren’t able to attend in person there was an option to participate virtually!

American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting – Dec. 3-6, 2016. The 2015 ASH Annual Meeting in Orlando had 25,319 attendees, down 3.3% from 2014. Last year’s symposium addressed new therapies and possibilities for treating hematologic disease using genetic therapy. The 2016 ASH meeting in San Diego gathered hematology professionals and researchers for updates on the latest trends and topics in malignant and non-malignant hematology. The meeting’s 250 exhibitors included pharmaceutical companies, publishers, medical suppliers, clinical diagnostic and research-focused companies, and non-profit organizations.

American Association for Clinical Chemistry Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo – July 30-Aug. 3, 2017. Although the AACC show in 2015 was sold out, with attendance of 17,600, it was down 9.3% from the attendance numbers of 2014. This is a show that appreciates marketing innovation from its more than 750 exhibitors and has an international buyers’ program. As reported by the show organizers from attendee surveys, 24% of attendees have the authority to make purchasing selections, 24% recommend products, and 20% are responsible for evaluating options for purchase. It’s an ideal show for exhibitors representing lab-related products to bring their most impressive and effective trade show exhibit!

HIMSS Conference & Exhibition – Feb. 19-23, 2017 in Orlando. As much a technology as a healthcare show, this is a must-attend event if you want to find what is new in tech for healthcare. Over 40,000 health IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors worldwide attend this show. This show offers classes, world-class speakers, cutting-edge products and networking.

Molecular Medicine Tri-Con – February 19-24, 2017 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. If you are working in diagnostics and drug discovery, this is a must-attend event. Attracting over 3,500 drug discovery and development professionals, including developers, payers, and researchers from over 40 countries in 2016. The Tri-Conference has grown into a diverse event, focusing on Molecular Medicine, specifically on Discovery, Genomics, Diagnostics and Information Technology.

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOSMarch 14-18, 2017 at the San Diego Convention Center. This show changes venue on a yearly basis. With over 10,000 exhibitors, attendees have the opportunity to see and evaluate new products, nurture vendor relationships and network with other attendees.

FIME Show August 2-4, 2017. Florida International Medical Expo takes place at the Miami Beach Convention Center and is organized by Inform. Topics covered in the past have included Smart Hospital, Biomed, Private Practice, Intentional Medical Markets, Information technology and Future Healthcare. The conference offers free workshops and seminars for healthcare professionals from international healthcare companies.

MD&M East June 13-15, 2017. MD&M East Expo and Conference is the East Coast regional show in a series of medical manufacturing events throughout the US and the world. Other shows in that family include MD&M West, Pri-Med West and MD&M Midwest. MD&M East is the gathering point for more than 500 leading medical technology suppliers and manufacturers, including 3M, Abbott, The Tech Group, Phillips-Medisize and Stratasys. The show is organized by UBM the organizer of multiple medical and manufacturing shows throughout Europe and the U.S.

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO Annual Meeting) June 2-6, 2017 in Chicago. This show was ranked 68th on TSNN’s 2015 trade show list as determined by square footage. With 407 medical exhibitors, over 30,000 attendees and hundreds of educational and research sessions, this event represents a key learning and networking opportunity for both exhibitors and attendees.

Medtrade Oct. 23-26, 2017 at the Georgia World Congress in Atlanta, GA. This show gathers Home Medical Equipment manufacturers and buyers. In addition to exhibits, there are speakers addressing legislative and regulatory environment as well as networking events.

Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI Conference and Expo) June 9-12, 2017 in Austin, Texas. This show is attended by over 2,000 biomedical technicians, clinical engineers and other managers and users of medical devices. The expo showcases over 200 healthcare technology from top medical equipment manufacturers.

While there are other shows that focus on Dental (Greater New York Dental, Chicago Dental), Laboratory (Pittcon 2017), Audiology (Audiology Now!), Vision (Vision East) or Emergency medical care (EMS World), we feel the shows described in the list above are the most relevant purely medical shows in the US. Let us know if there is another major medical show that you attend that should be added to the list.

Sources: HCEA announcement of top Medical Trade Shows: http://momentummgt.com/hcea-announces-top-medical-trade-shows/, TSNN top US Show list, and individual show websites.

Special thanks to Brian Butler from Skyline Boston and Scott Price from Skyline Exhibits New Jersey for their advice regarding medical shows to include in this post.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.