Weekly Insights: Off to a Great Start

Graphic: © Digital Juice

The trade show world wastes no time in kicking off each new year, with several high-profile shows held in January. Probably the most visible of all is CES ®. This year’s show marked the 50th anniversary. As part of the celebration, 37 companies were recognized for exhibiting for more than 40 years – 10 of them were at the first show in 1967. Panasonic is the only company who has exhibited at every single CES show. (For more on the history of CES, check out the profile I wrote last year.)

The show experienced yet another record-breaking year, with a preliminary attendance count of more than 175,000 (final numbers will be released following an independent audit), over 6,500 members of the media (which explains the omnipresent news coverage), and 3,800 exhibitors covering 2.6 million net square feet.

Just in time for CES, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority unveiled the Las Vegas Convention Center’s (LVCC) new Diamond Lot, a 26-acre outdoor parking and exhibit/event space on the spot where the former Riviera Hotel & Casino once stood. This completes the first phase of the LVCC $1.4 billion expansion and renovation. Phase Two will include an expansion of the LVCC with additional exhibit space, meeting rooms, and more. This will help to keep mega-shows like CES, NAB, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and SEMA in Vegas and allow them room to grow.

But there’s more industry excitement this month besides what’s happening in Vegas. PCMA’s Convening Leaders was held in Austin, TX with meetings and events industry professionals gathering both in person and online. (Note: While many are praising the online component, my personal experience was a major fail: I was unable to access the live broadcasts on either my desktop or my iPad.) Lots of intriguing ideas have already emerged from the event, and if you’d like to check out part of what you missed, you’ll find videos on their PCMA-TV channel along with more event notes on the Convening Leaders website.

And finally, one other legendary January show is also making news. The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) drew more than an estimated 800,000 attendees to Detroit to see the latest and greatest from the automotive industry. But in recent years, the show has faced competition because so many car makers are focused on debuting new technology at CES. So next year, the NAIAS will move a week later, and there’s talk that perhaps it should be moved to an entirely different time of year altogether. This could serve as a lesson for all shows: don’t get too comfortable, no matter how popular or legendary your show is, and always be aware of where your competition is coming from. It might just sneak up on you!

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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