Record-breaking Crowd Celebrates Fastest-growing Shows at the 2014 TSNN Awards in Cleveland

November 17, 2014

The National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Education Conference was named the overall fastest-growing show in net square footage and UBM's Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) Minneapolis and MinnPack snagged the overall fastest-growing show in attendance at the 2014 TSNN Awards, held Nov. 14-16 in Cleveland.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend and Cleveland is a phenomenal city,” said Laura Pabst, who oversees the NSGC show for SmithBucklin. “NSGC is very grateful for this and will be back next year!”

Other big winners celebrated during the gala celebration on Saturday night at the Cleveland Convention Center in front of a record-breaking crowd included UBM’s Enterprise Connect, which won for fastest-growing for-profit show in net square footage, and the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo won for fastest-growing association show in attendance.

“I would like to thank TSNN … I am proud to accept this award,” said Jean Heis, IFT's director of meetings and exhibits.

Also honored during the ceremony emceed by Betsy Kling, chief meteorologist for Cleveland’s WKYC-TV, was Karen Malone, vice president of meeting services for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, who was the Industry Icon Award honoree,

“TSNN, thank you very much for this wonderful award and the city of Cleveland. You’ve done a fabulous job,” Malone said. “We are the sum of our parts, and I would not be here without my team.”

Among five shows that fought a hard battle for votes from the public to be named TSNN’s “Best of Show” Award, 5NET4 Productions’ Abilities Expo, which serves people with disabilities, scored the top prize.

5NET4’s chairman Lew Shomer accepted the award: “Abilities Expo is a very, very special show because we concentrate on changing people’s lives.”

For the second year in a row, the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority gave a $5,000 TSNN Awards Student scholarship to someone who is pursuing a clear path into the trade show industry.

This year’s winner was Shauna H. Clark from the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

“I just wanted to say thank you to the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority for this award. (This is) a fantastic opportunity to meet everyone here at the awards,” Clark said.

Also onstage were the five winners of The Expo Group's Show Manager of the Year Awards that were from different-tiered shows. 

One of the winners, David Grindle of the United States Institute of Theater Technology, said, "Thank you to The Expo Group , TSNN and, of course, Cleveland. Thanks also to all on the board for not firing me in the last four years of crazy ideas."

For a full listing of those winners please visit HERE

The three-day celebration kicked off at the Cleveland Browns’ First Energy Stadium Friday night, where the city’s mayor, Frank G. Jackson, welcomed the attendees. Food from several local area chefs also was served, and while the local band, Welshly Arms hit the stage, people played assorted games throughout the private stadium club, including life-size Jenga.

The next morning kicked off bright and early at the Global Center for Health Innovation for breakfast, followed by TSNN’s education conference.

First up was Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, who talked about content marketing for events.

Pulizzi encouraged show organizers to create, curate and distribute as much content as possible to drive interest in their shows throughout the entire year.

Among several important takeaways, he added, “We never talk about our event in the content.” Pulizzi said they may add a “call to action” in ad space around the article or something at the very bottom but the content is purely meant to inform and educate.

The payoff is that it is shared in wide circles and ends up driving people to sign up for the event because they want to learn even more in person.

The next session featured a rare moment in which the chairs for the Society of Independent Show Organizers, Rick McConnell, and chairman for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Skip Cox, were on a panel moderated by TSNN President Rachel Wimberly to talk about the “State of the Industry.”

Also joining in were David Dubois, IAEE’s president and CEO, and Lew Shomer, SISO’s executive director.

McConnell advised show organizers to not only think about what young professionals might want differently from shows as they come up in the industry, but also how they need to be communicated with.

 Cox said that the traditional focus on depending on exhibit sales for the majority of revenue is shifting and encouraged attendees to think outside of the box for new models.

With shows all looking for new ways to grow attendance, all of the association leaders talked about how much international growth has occurred in their ranks.

McConnell said 40 percent of SISO’s members are holding shows overseas and one-third of the attendees at the SISO CEO Summit earlier this year in Las Vegas were international.

The next session was led by Velvet Chainsaw Consulting’s Wendy Holliday and Donna Kastner, who talked about “Creating Sponsorships That Matter”.

Here are just a few things they suggested:

·         Have the sponsor ‘pitch’ occur after the general session speaker goes on, instead of kicking off an event that way

·         Offer sponsored mini education sessions on the showfloor

·         Create sponsorships that encourage networking

·         Offer exclusive VIP opportunities such as transportation, access to keynotes, lounges on the showfloor.

Most importantly, Kastner said show organizers should be asking, “Are sponsorships really delivering the value they need to?”

After lunch, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Quicken Loans Arena, Len Komoroski, gave the keynote address and talked about the ‘tipping point’ that Cleveland was experiencing, with not only the return of LeBron James, but also the city recently was awarded the 2015 Republican National Convention as well.

“Everyone is asking, ‘What’s going on in Cleveland?’,” he added.

He also encouraged attendees to think about “is there a different or better way to do things in their own organizations”, as well as telling people that awareness of their surroundings is key, and if something is broken, just fix it.

The awards gala was held that evening, followed by a brunch hosted by celebrity chef Michael Symon (“The Chew” and “Iron Chef”) the next morning during the Fabulous Food Show at the International Exposition Center (I-X Center).

Cleveland native Symon talked about how he started to cook at 13 and eventually has grown his business into several award-winning restaurants.

He also talked about how all of the positive interest in Cleveland right now is driving sales at his establishments and businesses in the city overall.

Jokingly saying he was like a Kardashian being an expert at selfies, he took photos with the attendees and signed copies of his latest cookbook – “Michael Symon’s 5 In 5”.

The weekend would not have been possible without the TSNN Awards sponsors. Stay tuned for next year's awards location that will be announced in January!

Add new comment

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.