Houston, TX – They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that was certainly the case for the 2013 International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) Annual Meeting & Expo! Expo! More than 2,040 industry professionals pre-registered for the event, which was held Dec. 10-12 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
“Meeting attendance was up about 3% over last year, but audited attendance numbers won’t be available until January,” said IAEE President David DuBois. “Exhibitor revenue was up 16%, and sponsorship revenue increased 26%.”
The meeting kicked off on Tuesday with a variety of educational sessions. More than 100 industry professionals gathered at the session, “Is the U.S. Convention Center Model Broken?,” to hear a panel discussion on whether the traditional model of operating convention centers at a loss with the premise of bringing outside dollars into the community is sustainable.
“The correlation between the economic impact and what show managers are willing to pay is reversed,” said James Rooney, executive director for Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), who spoke on the panel with David Audrain, president and CEO, Clarion Events North America Inc.; Tony Calanca, executive vice president, Advanstar Communications; Mark Zimmerman, general manager, Georgia World Congress Center, and moderated by Danica Tormohlen, editor-at-large, Trade Show Executive.
The meeting featured more than 80 sessions over the course of the three-day event. “We tested some new formats, meeting sets and edgy general sessions speakers,” said DuBois. For example, the VUCA Leadership Lounge offered sessions to address the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations.
The event offered no shortage of networking opportunities. Tuesday’s opening reception featured a fireworks display at Discovery Green Park, followed by food, décor and entertainment offering attendees a taste of Texas. On Wednesday evening, Humanity Rocks, an annual concert and charity function hosted by Global Experience Specialists (GES), drew a record attendance of 460 attendees to the House of Blues Houston. The event raised $20,000 for the Child Advocates of Houston.
At Wednesday’s opening general session, Jason McGraw, 2013 IAEE chairman and senior vice president of expositions for InfoComm International, welcomed attendees to the 85th annual meeting. “The most important overall initiative, in my opinion, has been achieved,” said McGraw. “That is transitioning our strategic plan into its next phase to concentrate on two distinct pillars: Advocacy and Education.”
The show floor featured 264 exhibitors spanning more than 36,000 net square feet. This year’s show expanded from one day to two days. “Most exhibitors who I talked to on site said they were pleased with the two-day format,” said DuBois. “Attendee and exhibitor surveys will go out next week, so we will evaluate the feedback.” The tentative plan is to go forward with the two-day format in 2014, he said.
Several vendors unveiled new products during the show, and a roundup of new technology products and services will be featured in the January issue of Trade Show Executive.
At the IAEE Annual Networking Luncheon and Awards Presentation on Thursday, McGraw officially passed the gavel to 2014 Chairman Skip Cox, president and CEO, Exhibit Surveys Inc., who also serves on Trade Show Executive’s Trending & Spending Forecasting Board.
“I view my role as a steward of the vision and mission of IAEE,” said Cox. “After all the heavy lifting done by the many volunteers and staff who created IAEE’s new long-range strategic plan, my job is to ensure that we stay on target in executing the plan and meeting our stated goals. I’m confident we can benefit every active, participating member who utilizes our many offerings.”
The 2014 meeting will be held Dec. 9-11 in Los Angeles.
Reach David DuBois at (972) 687-9204 or email@example.com