LIGHTFAIR International Expected to Set All-time Show Record

April 29, 2013

If the activity on the showfloor at LIGHTFAIR International (LFI) is any indication of the health of the trade show industry, expos are back in business.

Not only were the aisles and booths crowded, but also what really stood out was the amount of people walking around with a smile on their face and a jaunt in their step.

While some of this positivity could be attributed to the foosball and table tennis in one showfloor lounge, it certainly cannot take all the credit.

LFI, which ran April 23-25 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, had in excess of 233,000 net square feet, with more than 500 exhibitors, 80 of whom were first-time exhibitors. LFI also is seeing an enhanced international audience on both the attendee side and the exhibitor side.

Perhaps that will increase even more in the near future, as they have applied for the International Buyer Program.

Simone Proietti, brand manager for Neri, a first-time exhibitor coming in from Italy, said they came to the show this year because they are expanding into the U.S. market.

Beneficial to their exposure at LFI were the Innovation Awards, where Neri secured a second place finish in the category of Parking, Roadway and Area Luminaires. “Being here is helping us understand the U.S. market and the interest in design,” Proietti said.

Education is a very important part of LFI, and this year, they are seeing their largest conference seating. Jo Ann Miller, executive vice president of tradeshows, said they’ve had to constantly move sessions to larger spaces because of such a high turnout.

“The ability to text attendees (the location changes) and update the show app has made the process very smooth,” she added.

The LFI Web site is another piece of their technology pie. Instead of a static Web site that rarely changes, Mike Turnbull senior vice president of strategic relations, says, “The information there is as immediate as this moment. It’s a progression that never ends.”

What draws so many people to the educational portion of the event? Jeff Portman, president and COO at AMC, Inc., which runs the show, attributes it to the involvement the audience has in the selection of topic and presenters.

“We survey our audience and ask them what is most important. It’s a highly evolved process,” Portman said.

When asked what information he could pass on to other show organizers, Portman added, “CEIR released a report on government and education attendance being down in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2012. Based on the people I’ve talked to and exhibitors, I believe we’ll see a large number of educational and government people in our numbers.”

“People are not here to kick tires,” he added. “They are here because they want to be here. It’s the products and innovation they’ve come to see.”

Portman said it’s a revolutionary time in lighting, and there are vast amounts of technological changes. Attendees have the chance to walk the showfloor and see and touch that technology first hand.

LFI exhibitor, Steve Nadell, president of Troy-CSL, said he was happy with the buyers on the showfloor as well. They’ve increased their booth space footprint since 2011 and plan on going even bigger in 2014.

“LIGHTFAIR is important not just to show new products to the suppliers but to get our reps excited about what we’re doing,” Nadell said.

He added that he felt it was just as important to use the show to build and strengthen their relationship with their distributors.

LFI does not release any preliminary numbers prior to the final audit results, which are expected to be available in about two weeks, but Turnbull said, “performance exceeded every expectation and goal.” He added he believes this year’s show will set an all-time record.

LIGHTFAIR International is the world’s largest annual commercial and architectural lighting trade show and conference and is sponsored by the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALF) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). The event is produced and managed by AMC, Inc.

2014 LIGHTFAIR International will run June 3-5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center

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