A Brighter Outlook at EXHIBITOR
From all the smiling faces seen at EXHIBITOR Show, one might be fooled into thinking happy days are here again for the face-to-face marketing industry. Although that might be jumping the gun slightly, things are indeed looking up, according to participants at the 25th annual conference and exhibition for exhibit and corporate event marketing professionals.
Held March 4-8 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the lively event boasted its second year of growth since the downturn, with approximately 6,011 attendees and 272 exhibitors covering 59,500 square feet of exhibition space, according to show officials. Last year, EXHIBITOR attracted 5,802 attendees and 243 exhibitors to a 52,300 sq. ft. showfloor.
According to Wayne Dunham, EXHIBITOR public relations consultant, one of the reasons the show was enjoying another break-out year was because more and more companies were finally looking to spend money on expanding their exhibiting programs after a long hiatus.
“From talking with exhibitors, everyone has refurbished the booth about as much as they can, so they’ve got RFPs in their pockets again this year,” Dunham said.
He added, “A lot of our exhibitors are saying that things picked up for them last fall and that they’re having a really good spring. Plus, registration for our conference is up this year, so people are loosening their budgets to allow people to travel so they can get the education they need in order to do a better job of exhibiting.”
And there was plenty of cutting-edge education to be had by attendees, with 220 educational sessions, including 70 new, seven learning tracks and 167 speakers covering the latest in trade show and event marketing trends, technologies, strategies and tricks of the trade.
Since staying on top of industry trends has always been an objective for EXHIBITOR, the event made a point of expanding its digital and social media presence, including a Twitter wall in the show lounge and a broader use of video to increase show buzz and promote participation, Dunham said.
On a lightly trafficked but animated trade show floor, innovation in exhibitry, products and services could be seen throughout, with all the biggest names in exhibit designers showing off eye-catching and creative uses of materials, color, lighting, technology and interactive components.
First-time Exhibitor Donna Shultz, president and CEO of Mirror Show Management, said she was very happy with her decision to give the event a trial run.
“We’ve always attended EXIBITOR but never exhibited so we thought what the heck, let’s go in with a 20 x 20 space and see what happens,” Shultz said.
She added, “We’ve been really delighted with the response and the show has really exceeded our expectations. Our objectives were to develop a few new relationships that we could follow-up with over the next year and we’re definitely meeting that.”
“Mind-blowing” was how first-time attendee Joey Outten, marketing services manager of the Produce Marketing Association described the event.
“I’m here as a gatherer of information and to disseminate new ideas because some of our existing exhibit designs are a little dated,” Outten said.
She added, “We recently re-branded, so we want to follow through by starting from scratch and incorporating some new concepts. Just going to the learning sessions has been an unbelievable experience for me personally and professionally!”
EXHIBITOR will return March 17-21, 2013, to Mandalay Bay.