Confidence Strong at EXHIBITOR 2013

March 20, 2013

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.

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.