Just Step Away From The Trade Show...Slowly!

It's that time of year again… The time of year we all love to hate. Trade show hell. Think Super Show, followed by Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, followed by ispo in Germany, followed by Magic, followed by SIA,… followed by a heavy round of drinking and a heck of a lot of introspection. Granted, not everyone goes to so many shows – only journalists in search of the hot story (yawn) could ever be so foolish. Still, we hear more and more these days that there are "too many damn trade shows!"
Author:
Publish date:

It's that time of year again… The time of year we all love to hate. Trade show hell. Think Super Show, followed by Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, followed by ispo in Germany, followed by Magic, followed by SIA,… followed by a heavy round of drinking and a heck of a lot of introspection.

Granted, not everyone goes to so many shows – only journalists in search of the hot story (yawn) could ever be so foolish. Still, we hear more and more these days that there are "too many damn trade shows!" On the other hand, consider these facts published in a recent article in Forbes looking at VNU:

"Spending on trade media and trade shows rose 7.5% to $23.1 billion last year and has been growing at a rate of 8.2% since 1995…. VNU is currently the second-largest trade show company in the U.S. and trade shows are even more profitable than publications."

Little wonder, then, that for-profit and non-profit companies and associations such as VNU, SIA, SGMA, Club Industry, and ispo all cling tightly to the control of their respective trade show purse-strings. Each jostles the other with dates that force exhibitors and retailers to maintain a sometimes insane travel schedule and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on multiple booths, exhibit spaces, and rising shipping and staffing costs.

Consolidation is one solution for returning sanity to trade shows. We recently learned that SIA approached VNU on co-location of their shows. Apparently, VNU then tendered an offer to take over the management of SIA's trade show and combine it with the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. VNU also reportedly guaranteed SIA the profits they are currently making and offered to hold the entire show in Las Vegas, meaning Winter Market would leave snowy Salt Lake for sunnier skies.

As we see it, the upside of such a merging of shows would be less travel for retailers and manufacturers who attend both shows, less overall expense for those who attend both shows, more potential revenue for ORCA which receives a share of trade show income and, most importantly, one less trade show to attend. The downside for current SIA exhibitors is their per-square-foot charge would increase from the present levels of between $11 and $12 to around $14 according to David Loechner, VNU Sports Group vice president – still less than what VNU currently charges Winter Market attendees.

SIA for its part has already begun moving its dates earlier. As far as SNEWS® is concerned, this is a good thing. It will return SIA to being the preview show it used to be, and fall in line with its plan to strengthen the regional rep shows and on-snow demos, which would return them to being the place where retailers place their orders.

To date, SIA has refused VNU's advances and David Ingemie told SNEWS®: "We're in continued conversation with VNU as to what is best for the market. We have the Las Vegas Convention Center and dates are open to discussion."

Loechner informed SNEWS® that since SIA turned down VNU's offer, there have been no discussions or calls from SIA, but VNU remains hopeful that discussions will continue.

SNEWS® suggests that what is best for the all markets is fewer trade shows to attend and an increase in trade show efficiency. That would allow retailers to see vendors who sell into one market or the other, or into multiple markets, in a single location, not two. Whether or not that is possible remains in the hands of VNU and SIA.

Related

Biz_101_thumbnail.jpg

The 2013 SNEWS trade show guide

It’s a new year, which means a new round of fitness trade shows and events. We know you’re probably wondering how to allocate your travel dollars this year. Check out a list of trade shows and events we put together to help you decide where you’ll find the latest fitness ...read more

ASR's trade show offers youthful inspiration

The winter trade show circuit has begun and how refreshing to go to one where CEOs are too cool to have business cards, where crowds gather not to see the latest product but watch two guys beat each other up on TV, and a 15-foot-high poster of a dominatrix waves a paddle at you. ...read more

The Super Show fades to dark with slooooooow show

Both sides of the aisles at the last-ever Super Show were so empty that the atmosphere elicited head-shaking about the dismal end that the once behemoth and spectacular event had come to. Consider this: The Super Show, begun 21 years ago, was once the second-largest trade show in ...read more