Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — July 20th thru July 24th

July 24th, 2009 1 COMMENT
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Follow-up from TS2 in Chicago

We are back from Chicago, and I am exhausted. But then again, spending an unplanned six hours waiting around at O’Hare will do that.

The six hours at O’Hare gave me the opportunity to check Twitter and LinkedIn for reactions to TS2, and to compare them to my own thoughts and reactions.

Let me preface this by saying that I have a fairly unique perspective when it comes to TS2 with over 10 years as an exhibitor and the past three years as a member of the TS2 Exhibitor Advisory Committee.

That being said, I will start off from the exhibitor perspective. I, like others, found the show traffic very slow. Having the front and center island in a show, like we did, usually is a huge advantage, but the flow of the traffic seemed to veer right and left as they entered, so our traffic on Day 1 was not the best. Day 2 was better than Day 1, which was not the same for others on the show floor.

Looking through the leads and speaking to other exhibitors nearby, it felt like the attendees were not your typical TS2 exhibitor attendees. Meaning, it felt like the majority of them were there looking for technology, promotional products, education, and other services. Not for exhibits.

From the Exhibitor Advisory Committee Member perspective, it was more positive. Still not great, but more positive. One of my duties was to tour several aisles, thank the exhibitors for attending, and to get feedback on the show. The Advisory Committee wanted their reactions and comments and felt they would be more open with a fellow exhibitor who has the ear of show management.

I have to say, the majority of the folks I spoke to were very happy with the show. The show was slow, but they expected that. And most spoke about the good quality of the leads they were generating. There were recommendations about how to make the show better for Boston, and there was a clear acknowledgement that the traditional “Exhibit House” presence was not there.

I have been asked multiple times in the past 48 hours, “Will TS2 survive?” My response is, I hope so. Although attendance numbers were only off about 15% over the Philly show in 2008, it’s the attendee profile of this year’s show that concerns me the most as a longtime exhibitor. I, for one, think that for TS2 to survive they need the participation and involvement of the Exhibit Houses, and they need to re-engage the Portable, Modular and Hybrid Manufacturers. The show needs to get back to being the “Tradeshow for Tradeshows”. . . along with welcoming technology and event companies. 

In the end, for those of you that I did see there, it was great to see you. The Block Party on Navy Pier was excellent! Very well thought out and executed. The Pub Crawl turned into an event of its own . . . I am pretty sure you can find the re-broadcast of the now legendary Beer-Pong Champs on ESPN 8 “The Ocho” this coming fall. 🙂

In all seriousness though, if you attended TS2, please post a comment and give your honest thoughts and feedback from the event or from what I have said.

 Be Well!

–Kevin Carty


Tags: , ,

One Response to “Word on the Street — July 20th thru July 24th”

  1. I share your evaluation of the recent TS2 show. My conversations also revealed concern about the lack of attendance and the conspicuous absence of some powerful portable players. I did however hear some positive input about the quality of attendees. From a portable exhibit dealer’s perspective, I enjoyed the exhibit hall and came away with a few new ideas and connections. I loved the mingle stick as a networking tool and used it often. From a speaker’s perspective I was a bit disappointed with attendance in the sessions. I have a pretty good group for my program, Exhibit Like an Expert, but other seminars I attended were sparce to say the least. I had several discussions with other speakers who thought it might be wise to reduce the number of presentations that compete in the same hour and try to pack the rooms of every program instead. Quality instead of quantity would generate a more vibrant atmosphere primed for deeper interaction amoung attendees and promote a higher level of enthusiasm and excitement in each room. Better scheduling of the morning bus run would also have helped the 8:30 session with attendance. They arrived ten minutes late and the influx of late-comers interupted the flow of the presentations. Chicago was beautiful all week. I enjoyed a wonderful outdoor meal while watching the action go by on Rush Street. I took in a baseball game on Wednesday night and saw the White Sox beat Tampa Bay 4-3, but wished I had gone to the Thursday game to see that historic no hitter. Maybe next year. In the meantime I will be doing my best to support this industry and service exhibiting companies from my showroom in Phoenix, Arizona. I will also continue to share my views and resources about the tradeshow industry from my blog: Thanks for all you do.

Leave a Reply