JUNE 22nd, LAS VEGAS, NV—Outside the strip is blazing in the dry heat. The brightness of the sun reflecting off the gold-tinted windows of Mandalay Bay sears into the eyes of attendees as they walk in. But inside the convention center, the A/C blasts its own stinging waves of cold air. The desert is as harsh as you can imagine, but the city is managing—even thriving.
The trade show and event industry is in a kind of desert. The unfortunate result of shutting everything down for more than a year has pushed many small event marketing companies to permanently close their doors. But now that the world is getting out again, the need for event marketers and display providers is growing, leaving the remaining companies to absorb more businesses to the point of capacity. The industry is thriving, but in an increasingly difficult environment.
Though ExhibitorLIVE is a bit smaller than in the past, the need for respectable exhibit houses, the interest in new tech and the desire to grow one’s knowledge of trade show marketing remains high. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)…
- 49% of attendees and exhibitors report their satisfaction is either the same or higher than in 2019
- 92% of exhibitors plan to continue exhibiting into 2023
- 87% of attendees plan to keep going to shows into 2023
By CEIR’s estimation, the trade show industry could see a near-full recovery by the end of 2023. As one walks the show floor at ExhibitorLIVE, the familiar buzz and energy of working a show pulsates throughout all five senses. There are new faces. First-time exhibitors. Old friends. Bold speakers. And innovative booths.
The one moment that said everything…
The hour before the show floor opening is a relatively quiet scene. Exhibitors are holding their breath as many attendees wrap up their morning sessions. Booth staffers are nervously glancing around the convention center.
Finally, the clock hits 3 P.M. A few attendees pass through the gate and begin trickling down the rows of displays. The first hour and a half plays out in this way. And then, almost magically, after a few handshakes, smiles and warm greetings, things pick up—and they pick up fast.
Every booth staffer is scanning the exhibit hall for orange badges. As one of the leading exhibit houses in the nation, The Trade Group’s staff are experts on qualifying leads on the show floor. The first part of the day was smooth sailing…
…And then Stanley arrived.
Stanley had only one thing in common with all the attendees: he couldn’t resist the aroma of smoked pork brisket sliders. But when Stanley wandered over to the booth for the warm sandwiches, he promptly sat on the floor and began staring at anyone who walked by.
No one was creeped out. No one was offended. Actually, he provided the perfect companion for weary attendees. People wanted to take pictures with him!
Stanley is a French Bulldog. He wandered over from Lazer’s booth. His owner tried to take him away, but each time Stanley found his way to the sliders. It was a validating moment to know that playing to our personality and roots with a Texas BBQ themed booth was a great move.
People’s feet were sore, their stomachs were teetering on the edge of growling and their eyes were glazed from all the LED lights. A pit-stop at the BBQ pit provided refreshment and easy conversation.
But this was the real moment that revealed how the industry was doing. When we lifted our eyes across the convention center, we noticed it wasn’t just our booth that was getting engagement. Everyone was staying busy.
The last day of the conference allowed us to confirm what we were seeing. Other exhibitors, competitors, and suppliers spoke about the show in a positive light. With over 6,640,000 people who make their living working live events, ExhibitorLIVE 2022 is a hopeful sign things are recovering.
The highlights of the show can be summarized in the following points.
- New people are joining the industry
- Sales is strong
- Experiential marketing is on the rise
- Companies are facing similar internal challenges
- Everyone is hopeful for the future
In other words, there may not be another opportunity to join the trade show industry like there is right now. If you’re interested in finding the best ideas for your next booth, or are wanting to try your hand at event marketing, think about contacting us below!
Increase your return on investment and bring in more leads at your next trade show by contacting us or calling The Trade Group at 972-734-8585. We’ll create a design proposal that will help you raise brand awareness and attract buyers.