NAB Show Posts Gains in Exhibitors, Showfloor Size in Las Vegas

April 19, 2012

Put together thousands of creative, like-minded buyers and sellers dedicated to an innovative industry undergoing a digital revolution and serious business is sure to occur, recession or no recession.

That’s exactly what took place at the National Association of Broadcasters’ NAB Show, the world’s largest annual electronic media trade show and conference for broadcasters, digital media and entertainment professionals, held April 14-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Despite the fact that attendance was flat with the year before, NAB boasted an uptick in exhibitor participation and an almost 10-percent increase in size, with just under 1,600 exhibitors spanning 825,000 net square feet of exhibit space, according to Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president of conventions and business operations.

Last year, NAB drew 92,708 attendees and 1,550 exhibitors to a 785,000 sq. ft. floor, he said.

“That’s our largest jump in space in the last six or seven years,” Brown said. “We were running nicely ahead (on attendance) for a while but that goes to show you that pre-registration patterns are unpredictable. We all know our whole industry tracks the economy pretty closely, so it’s been choppy.”

He added, “but maybe we need to change the dialogue and put the focus around the reality that what drives our show are the people here doing business, quality attendance and what comes out of that. There’s a lot of business being done here.”

And with the media and entertainment landscape experiencing a huge shift toward online content across an ever-broadening spectrum of digital platforms, NAB must not only focus on growing its participation, but also give its audience good reasons to show up.

That means staying ahead of the industry’s latest innovations and trends with more and more cutting-edge offerings, including streamlined conference content and on-floor education sessions, expanded and fine-tuned show floor pavilions and new platform launches, including the Startup Loft that showcased the industry’s newest and most innovative media technology companies.

But from all appearances, NAB participants seemed to be taking advantage of everything the show had to offer, with robust educational sessions and steady show floor traffic throughout all three exhibition halls.

Long-time Exhibitor Mark Boyadjian, marketing and communications manager of Neutrik, had no complaints about the quality and quantity of buyers he was meeting at NAB.

“It’s been a very exciting show, and we’ve had a lot of foot traffic,” Boyadjian said.

He added, “Especially over last year, everything is still kind of slow going, but it seems to me that the budgets are still there, especially with equipment and the new technologies in their infancy that are continuing to grow. If you’re going to have meetings, if you’re going to make some kind of impact with the products you have in this industry, you need to be here.”

Attendee Steve Graham, owner of PC Prompting Systems, agreed that even though he was only able to come to the show every two years, NAB was a more than worthwhile investment of his time, money and energy.

“It’s an important show for me because I have to stay up with all the latest technology, which is growing exponentially,” Graham said.

He added, “So if you want the latest you need to come here and see it, touch it and try it out. When I come here I know where I want to go, and I get what I need.”

NAB will return April 8-11, 2013 to the LVCC.

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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.