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March 23, 2006



I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.


The shortest distance between two points is under construction.
-- Noelie Alito



First of all I d'like to say. This blogs have lots of imfomation and thay all imfomation is very important for me.

steve M

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David Opsahl

Interesting thread. Some comments:

1. I don't think 9/11 has been a factor on trade show attendance for some time; one only has to remember NCGA and AutoFACT - to name two - to have seen this is a trend that has been evolving for a long time.

2. Its absolutely true that the Internet has everything to do with the decline in attendance at trade shows, as it has changed the selling and marketing strategies for software companies. Customers and prospects used to take time to see vendor presentations, either in the office or at a tradeshow, because there really was no other way to get the information you needed. Ask any software company how hard it is to get a customer meeting today vs. ten years ago. I call this David's Law: the attendance at trade shows, conferences, and vendor presentations is inversely proportional to the amount of information about the subject available on the Internet.

3. Attendance at conferences or trade shows based on the appeal of the location attracts people who aren't serious about getting benefit from their attendance; its too easy to cash in frequent flyer miles and hotel points if you want some time by the pool at your favorite palm-tree location

4. Yes, you can still have a conference or trade show that gets attendance, but you have two opposing forces at work. One is that vendors underwrite the cost of most of the conferences and shows with booth fees and sponsorship. For that, they expect to be able to get in front of their target audience. The opposing view is that attendees come to learn something they can't get anywhere else.

How to resolve this? Here's just one idea.

Vendors, instead of paying for a booth that nobody of importance walks through, should sponsor a speaker that has something interesting and valuable to contribute. It could be a customer, consultant or an industry luminary and represent the vision the sponsor has without gratuiously promoting the vendors product.

We all know that keynotes are the most attended sessions at a conference or tradeshow - why limit them to one a day?

Wolfgang Geist

Same effects in Europe with Trade Shows with even more severe effects. There is no real European show. Countries stay islands and cost for promotion is even higher due to different languagues. There is only one show which has some success: EuroMold in Frankfurt. It less a product show but more a design process show.
Shows have lost their main former mission: collection of new information. The only reason for me attending a show is to meet the right people. This cannot be replaced by Internet even though there are chat rooms. In my view vendors should create more direct meeting opportunities with key staff and less focus on product presentations.

Jay Moore

Great observations and comments. I would say much if not all of this also applies to the AEC industry. As an exhibitor we have noticed, not a slight, but a HUGE decrease in qualified tradeshow attendees and numbers. To combat decreasing attendance, shows are increasing their exhibitor costs / fees to help make up for this negative shift.

In addition, many are also not providing enough pre-show marketing & advertising to bring in the numbers. This is also a result of skyrocketing print and web advertising prices. And for the exhibitor I haven't even touched on the massive dollars for booth designs, shipping, setup, etc.

Regional shows lack the funds (or desire) to advertise enough. National shows get large exhibitor attendance but attendees can rarely justify travel costs, etc. that you mentioned.

Regional or National, it is a vicious cycle that I don't see a solution to for the show planners anywhere in the near future.


Adena Schutzberg

You are right about having "hardware" that's not accessible via the 'Net. The big excitement at the past two ESRI conferences were the "touch table" a large format, touch screen monitor in a huge table and the "topo table", a table that used pins to create 3D topography from existing models in front of your eyes. Folks stood in the Northrop Grumman booth for a long time watching and drooling over these.


I'm not sure that regional shows would work better. Coupla' reasons:

1. Smaller target area, fewer potential visitors.

2. No commitment is needed. I find I never go to local (Vancouver BC) shows, because I don't need to pre-commit. Comes the day of the show, and, well, I got other things to do.

Far-off shows require pre-committment in terms of airfares, et al.

Another draw for me is when the show is located in an interesting city. Vancouver is great, but I can go at any time (just an hour away).

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