WWETT, SuperZoo Win Overall Fastest-growing Honors at 2017 TSNN Awards in New Orleans

August 25, 2017

Informa Exhibitions’ WWETT, a wastewater management show, and the World Pet Association’s SuperZoo snagged top honors for fastest-growing shows in attendance and net square footage, respectively, at the 2017 TSNN Awards Aug. 21-23 in New Orleans.

The Rivergate Room at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was packed with show organizers representing the Top 25 fastest-growing shows in attendance and net square footage during the Aug. 22 celebration, as well as winners of the TSNN Best of Show, Best of Tech Innovation, Industry Icon Award and The Expo Group’s Show Manager of the Year Awards.

“It’s never just about one person,” said Informa Exhibitions’ Sandy Voss upon accepting the TSNN Industry Icon Award. “It’s partners, suppliers and friends who helped me get to this place.”

She also credited her teams of “hundreds” back home and her husband who was in the audience.

HERE is a video of the evening’s festivities by CNTV.

Richard Nealis, Marine Corps Marathon director, said when he took the stage after the show was named TSNN’s Best of Show that he was accepting the award on behalf of the 180,000 U.S. Marines.

“On behalf of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert B. Neller, and the more than 1 million runners who have come across the finish line, thank you!,” he added.

Other winners who took the stage included Rick McConnell, president of Informa Exhibitions, who accepted the award for WWETT’s overall fastest-growing attendance win alongside Tom Cindric, senior vice president of Informa Exhibitions.

“It’s awesome to be able to accept a great award on behalf of this show,” McConnell said.

Additional award winners included the NAMM Show, which won fastest-growing attendance for an association show, as well as the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market that won for fastest-growing for-profit net square footage.

WVC also scored the top prize for its use of technology and took home the award for TSNN’s inaugural Best of Tech Innovation Award, sponsored by GES.

The SMOTY winners included SmithBucklin’s Jennifer Wishart, RIMS Stuart Ruff-Lyon, Diversified’s Christine Salmon and MHI’s Tom Carbott.

“This is quite an honor and I’d like to thank The Expo Group for creating this award,” said Tom Carbott, MHI senior vice president of exhibitions. “I am very fortunate to have a great team to work with at MHI.”

The 3-day 2017 TSNN Awards kicked off Aug. 21 with an opening part at special events venue Marche with a live jazz band, amazing New Orleans cuisine and a lot of great networking. HERE is a video of the opening night captured by CNTV.

The next morning at the convention center, the TSNN Awards event continued alongside Connect event, at which 4,000 suppliers and meeting planners took part, with an opening keynote by Molly Fletcher.

Afterward, TSNN Awards attendees took part in a fast-paced education conference that featured The Expo Group’s Mike McCauley encouraging the audience to break down barriers and allow creativity to flow.

“Find something that gets you into the creative flow state,” he advised. “If you are afraid … you are not going to be creative.”

Adam Anderson, senior of vice president of Events for Health & Nutrition, Informa Exhibitions, talked about how they created a lifestyle at Natural Products Expo West that synced with their attendees’ expectations.

“Everyone expects to have similar experiences in their professional life as they do in their personal life,” he said. “Create personal connections throughout the show … and make sure most of all (they) have fun!”

Some examples from NPEW included morning yoga in the plaza outside the Anaheim Convention Center, food trucks everywhere and fun games in the seating areas to play.

Cindric also talked about creating an engaging environment at World of Concrete, another fastest-growing show winner, where they had hold the Bricklayer Challenge every year in a stadium filled with cheering crowds, music and avid fans.

 “(Make sure) to create events that appeal to all five senses,” he added.

Taffy Event Strategy’s Elena Grant discussed her company’s work on the Coverings show that involved partnering with the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando to bring puppies on the showfloor to try out doghouses built by some of the exhibitors.

The reaction, of course, was positive because, as Grant said, “You don’t expect to go to a tile show and see puppies.”

The Heart Rhythm Society’s Ken Demith led a session about creating attendee personas and really getting to know who exactly was coming to a show to create the right environment.

“You have to get them to love it more than the cost it is to be there,” he added.

Also during the TSNN Awards conference, a surprise announcement was made by the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau that the 2018 TSNN Awards will be held in Louisville.

Bureau representatives brought in a bugler to do the call to the races and then had an actual onscreen horse race in which participants at each table in the room won a bottle of bourbon if their horse came across the line first.

More information on the 2018 TSNN Awards will follow in the coming months.

The TSNN Awards conference was followed by lunch and then another Connect keynote with Actor Neil Patrick Harris.

“I think we need to live in a more experiential world,” he told the audience. “So many people are focused on the screen right now.”

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