Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — March 15th thru March 19th

March 20th, 2010 2 COMMENTS

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

POST-EXHIBITOR 2010 — Thoughts and Comments

What a week!

We are back and in follow-up mode — especially after such a great show.

My trip to Vegas actually started the week before EXHIBITOR as I arrived on Thursday to attend GlobalShop. Also a very good show this year. Then I moved over to Mandalay Bay on Friday to setup our exhibit for EXHIBITOR. I don’t know about you, but I love getting to the floor before I&D starts. It’s completely empty except for the staging of the semi’s and forklifts.

Booth Set-up

Getting Ready for EXHIBITOR

Getting Ready for EXHIBITOR

As I walked the empty floor for a few minutes just looking at the taped out booth spaces, I knew the new floor layout was going to be a huge hit! And if you’ve already seen the floor plan for 2011, they made it even better.

Back at our space, #929, our team from Momentum Management was already hard at work getting our floor ready. If I told you they did a great job, I am not sure that would be giving them enough praise. They have been a dedicated partner for Classic at EXHIBITOR and TS2 for the past 4 years. Thanks again to Rich and Gary!

The booth setup went smoothly. We used one of our standard 20 x 30 island rentals with a few custom tweaks, which included additions to highlight our new TSP ClassicMODUL profiles that accept silicone edge graphics (SEG) from Optima Graphics. We used Flex Floor from Brumark which turned out to be a major attraction throughout the show.

In the end, the booth was attractive and laid out very well from a “booth-staffing” perspective. The graphic message was very direct. It highlighted Exhibit Design Search and the hundreds of exhibit designs in EDS from tabletops to islands to meet any display budget. For a video walk through of the Classic Exhibits booth, see the two video postings that precede this blog.

Day One

The show opened Monday at 11:30 a.m. I love seeing the sea of people flooding into a show hall. And a sea of people is what we had. Booth traffic on Day One was great. Not a lot of end users on our side of the floor, but I wandered around and visited our vendor partners on other parts of the floor and there were indeed lots of Red Badges. The end users did what we all do — turn right or go straight ahead.

Backlit SEG Graphics

Backlit SEG Graphics

After the first day closed, we headed up to the Optima Graphics Hospitality Suite. Reid Sherwood and I served as the “official” bartenders for the event. It was a lot of fun and provided an interesting perspective for both Reid and me — since we are both much more familiar with the other side of the bar. 🙂 It didn’t take long for the room to fill with many mutual customers, new and old.

Conversations on the floor during Day One and at the Optima Suite were mainly geared towards the state of the industry and our individual businesses. A common thread to all the talks was “we’re on the way back, albeit at a paced level, but it is coming back around.” Another common thread . . . “The industry may never look the same, but it appears to be a stronger industry.”

Day Two

Day Two began a bit earlier with Dealer Day at 9:30 a.m. Thanks to those who battled the morning mental fog from the evening before to join us :). I always enjoy this pocket of time to spend with existing and potential distributors without interruptions. Based on our conversations, you saw tremendous potential for the backlit curved light boxes with SEG fabric graphics. There were several vendors showing SEG aluminum profiles at EXHIBITOR, but only one company was showing curved SEG profiles — Classic Exhibits/ClassicMODUL.  That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

Once the show opened on Day Two, it was instantly packed like on Day One . . . and those Red Badges flooded the booth space. About those Red Badge attendees, there were clearly more “final decision-makers” at the show this year than in the past. Meaning, Senior Level Management from Marketing Departments attended the show. And it would appear that like our industry, they were looking to put their best foot forward at their upcoming events. Many said they needed to really make a splash at their next show, so they needed something NEW and a BREAK from PAST DESIGNS.

Tim and Gina from Optima Graphics

Tim and Gina from Optima Graphics

While Day Two on the show floor ended well, we were not done yet. Time for the Classic Exhibits Hospitality Suite. What a great time. Thanks again to everyone who came and had a few drinks. Thanks to Optima Graphics for serving as our bartenders, especially Gina Porcaro and Tim Bonesteel. And thanks to all of the other industry partners that attended. You have heard Mel, Reid and I say this many times, but it really does make business more enjoyable when you get to work and interact with friends everyday.

And congratulations to Steve Gable from Innovation Exhibits for winning the Hospitality Suite drawing! He will soon be the proud owner of a 10 x 10 Sacagawea Portable Hybrid Display for his showroom.

Day Three

Always a mixed bag, right? Well I suppose that is the optimistic view. 🙂 Let’s face it, Day Three usually is a travel day for many attendees, so it does not always present itself as the best day for prospecting. I will say this though, when comparing quality to quantity, I had my best leads on Wednesday. Weird right!?

According to Show Management, there were 20-25% more attendees than last year. And the new floor layout really helped you forget that the number of exhibitors was down by about 40 booths. All in all a fantastic show.

One interesting point  . . . I was asked a lot about Social Media on the show floor. Does it work? Is it effective? Is it worth the time and effort? The answer is YES YES YES! And this is coming from the least professional Social Media dude out there. Having said that, I was approached no less than 50 times on the show by people that I am either “LinkedIn” with or that follow my “Tweets.” Here’s what they told me . . . they really like the articles and discussions  on the Classic Blog or the Classic Exhibits Group page on LinkedIn. When I link to those articles, they read them and appreciate the information. All I can say is it really works! And to be honest, it is fun!

Now onto the follow-up. Some of which already began last Thursday while I was delayed for 8 hours at McCarran (ugh!). All the rest starts on Monday.

Great seeing you once again. Nice meeting the new faces. What were your impressions of EXHIBITOR?

Click on the comment link and share your thoughts about the show.

–Kevin Carty

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2 Responses to “Word on the Street — March 15th thru March 19th”

  1. Show Management did a terrific job of positioning the booth spaces to make the entire show look really big. Wider aisles and lots of vertical booths made it feel enormous. And how clever they were to telescope the ends to give perspective from the middle of the floor. Exhibitor is always a “classy” show. One I look forward to every year.

  2. Enjoyed the video and your report from Exhibitor 2010. Looking forward to the photos! 🙂

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