This Just In
  • The AHLA says the Dept. of Homeland Security will expand the number of H-2B seasonal guest worker visas available for this fiscal year.
  • The increase in H2-B visas will help small and seasonal businesses to meet workforce demands critical in peak tourist periods.
  • SMG signed a 3-year agreement to continue managing Cobo Center in Detroit. SMG has been the management firm for Cobo since 2010.
  • Highlights of SMG’s tenure include oversight of a major renovation, reduced operating deficit and creation of a technology department.
  • Ground was broken June 20 on the expansion of the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The 250,000-sf project will wrap up next year.
  • The $130 million expansion includes two new ballrooms, 11 breakout rooms and additional space for the center’s Stay Well Meetings feature.
  • The Louisville Downtown Marriott Hotel is undergoing a $30 million renovation slated for completion in August 2018. The hotel remains open.
  • The Marriott is attached to the Kentucky International Convention Center and offers 50,000 sf of meeting space and 616 guest rooms.
  • AEG plans to acquire four acres in downtown Nashville to be developed as a mixed-use entertainment district at SWVP’s Nashville Yards.
  • The mixed-use district will be anchored by a 4,000-capacity music hall, luxury theatre, live entertainment club, boutique hotel & more.

April Shows: New Life after Spring Thaw

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
June 2, 2014

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Oceanside, CA – Another strong showing by two Gold 100 shows helped boost the overall April growth rate for the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics. 

The NAB Show passed the 900,000 net square feet (nsf) mark with a 4.1% increase in space. Coverings jumped 9.4% in exhibit space. Those shows and others contributed to an overall 4.3% increase in exhibit space for the 17 shows featured in the Dashboard.

The number of exhibitors in April rose 4.5% compared to April 2013, and attendance increased 3.3%. Moreover, April contrasted nicely with a much-slower March where growth in exhibit space and attendance was less than 1% and exhibitor growth was a modest 2.2%. One year ago, in April, the exhibitor count actually drifted slightly into negative territory.

The 17 shows analyzed in this month’s Dashboard occupied 3,270,462 nsf of exhibit space. Exhibitors numbered 9,488 and 276,803 people registered to attend. Eight of the 17 shows spanned more than 100,000 nsf each. Three were on the TSE Fastest 50 list of the fastest-growing shows and six were large enough to be listed on the most recent TSE Gold 100 roster of the largest U.S. trade shows. All six Gold 100 shows reported solid gains across the board. Only one April show in this report declined in all three metrics. On the other hand, 10 of the 17 shows surveyed grew in all three metrics.

Gold Shows Hold Value

The NAB Show was among a number of Gold 100 shows that had a banner month in April. The NAB Show, which was ranked 11th on the most recent Gold 100, was the largest exhibition of the month and showed that it could build some robust upward momentum. Exhibit space jumped up 4.1% to 914,115 nsf.

The largest NAB Show on record topped 1 million nsf in 2001, and it is slowly but steadily working to reach up and above that milestone. Meanwhile, attendance at the 2014 show increased 4.0% and the number of exhibitors grew 10.6% to 1,726. More than 200 exhibitors were first-timers at the NAB Show, including a number of companies that create semiconductors rather than broadcast content.

“The number of first-time exhibitors this year is a reflection of the show’s ability to adapt and deliver fresh perspectives on the industry’s cutting-edge technologies,” said Chris Brown, NAB executive vice president of conventions and business operations.

Another Gold 100 organizer, National Trade Productions, enjoyed a 9.4% boost in exhibit space as Coverings rotated through Las Vegas. This year’s show, ranked No. 47 on the Gold 100 in the past, was the largest since 2008 and stretched 372,435 nsf. Exhibiting companies increased 1.0% and attendance was up 3.0%.

“New home sales continue to rise, and U.S. tile and stone consumption was up for the fourth consecutive year,” said Show Director Karin Fendrich. “That made attending Coverings more important than ever for the industry.” ISC West, ranked 60th on the Gold 100, notched record attendance and the second-largest exhibit floor in show history. The exhibit floor was up 3.3% at 307,400 nsf.

“Exhibitors and attendees told us that this was the best show in years,” said Ed Several, senior vice president of ISC Events, part of Reed Exhibitions. “Our exhibitors expressed their appreciation with higher renewals for next year.”

Growth Leaders – Possible Fastest 50 Contenders

  • Artexpo New York made the most of moving into larger quarters at Manhattan’s Pier 94. Exhibit space grew 36.2% to 37,421 nsf. Exhibitors climbed 32.5% to 318 and trade show attendance skyrocketed 71% to 4,780. The increases were a masterpiece, but were considered an outlier, well beyond the limit of 25% for inclusion in the adjusted totals.
  • The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Annual Convention & Exhibition returned to Houston for the first time in three years. The home-field advantage led to an 80.2% jump in attendance. The crowd of 9,385 at the George R. Brown Convention Center was 5% higher than it was in 2011, the last time the show was in Houston. Exhibit space grew an impressive 16.6% to 78,361 nsf.
  • ApEx – Atlantic Canada’s Foodservice & Hospitality Trade Show had the niche city of Halifax rocking. The show floor was a modest 22,100 nsf, but that was 53.5% larger than last year’s. MediaEdge Communications, Inc. set the stage for the growth spurt by co-locating the Halifax Regional Food Show with ApEx.
  • Another Canadian show, the biennial Truck World held in Toronto, also turned in some healthy numbers. Exhibit space grew 12.6% compared to 138,125 net square feet in 2012.

Top Cities

Las Vegas hosted a trio of Gold 100 shows — NAB Show, ISC West, and Coverings. The big three totaled 1,593,950 nsf. Indianapolis was second on the venue leader board with FDIC International, which totaled a show record 456,200 net square feet. The Gold 100 firefighting conference, organized by Pennwell Corp., was up 5% over last year. Chicago was ranked third among the April venues with IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference & Exposition. The Gold 100 show checked in at 234,480 net square feet.

Next Month

July will see many members of the trade show industry on the road in Miami Beach for the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association Summer Educational Conference. Others will be overseeing Gold 100 and Fastest 50 shows around the country.

SuperZoo at Mandalay Bay is looking to expand past the 191,400 net square feet that earned the World Pet Association event a spot on the Fastest 50. Cosmoprof North America made the most-recent Gold 100, and this year will launch a feature on its Las Vegas exhibit floor for interactive technology that can be applied to attendees’ own websites and social media platforms. Nashville hosts a pair of Fastest 50 shows in July. Summer NAMM hits town July 11-13 and will be followed a week later by HydroVision International.

The market centers will also be busy. Americas Mart will host the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which ranked 62nd on the most-recent Gold 100. Las Vegas Market closes out the month with its annual Summer Market event.