From Miami Beach – where Charlie McCurdy, CEO of Informa Markets, was presented the Key to the City – to Las Vegas – for the ribbon-cutting that opened the World of Concrete (WOC), the first large-scale trade show to be held in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees – it’s clear who is leading the industry’s comeback.
With more than 30 years of experience in events and business-to-business media, McCurdy has held many senior executive roles, leading the process of transforming, expanding and creating value at a range of companies.
Trade Show Executive had the opportunity to sit down, albeit virtually, with McCurdy to get his insights about his organization, the trade show industry and his predictions for the future.
Andrea: You have been part of the trade show industry for decades. Can you offer some insight into how you have watched it evolve during this unprecedented time?
Charlie: It certainly is unprecedented, and I hope it doesn’t set a precedent for the future. The exhibition business has enjoyed a simple and effective model of putting on a very compelling experience for buyers and suppliers. At the same time, the behavior of out customers has evolved to be more of B2B marketers using all kinds of ways to access the marketplace and fined good prospective buyers and leads through digital means, primarily.
The people on the buy-side are trolling the internet constantly for good suppliers. I think it’s time for us as an industry to really catch up to the behavior of what we think of as attendees and exhibitors, as far as procuring or finding distribution for their products.
We have accelerated that journey with complementary digital experiences and data solutions, and I think that’s what will ensure that our platforms continue to be valuable to our communities moving forward from this unprecedented time.
Andrea: How does it feel to be the force behind World of Concrete, the show that it is said will pave the way for the opening of other trade shows?
Charlie: It did pave the way, didn’t it? I think that it was great to celebrate the opening and delivery of World of Concrete alongside out industry peers.
It’s a very important show for Las Vegas – it brings over $100 million of economic impact to the city. We’re really proud of the team – it was a decision we had to collectively make between us as organizers, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and the Las Vegas Convention Center in the middle of March – and they pulled it off.
Trade shows require a minimum of three months to pull off, so we had to have a “go” of “no-go” by then, and with that short period of time we were able to put the show together – a great job by the team. There were a lot of people from the industry in Las Vegas for the show – to see how it was carrying on, to reconnect – and that was rewarding too.
Andrea: What have been some of the reactions you’ve received?
Charlie: Going into the show, we were getting positive expectations from both exhibitors and attendees. On the floor, it was a very buoyant mood.
The feedback we are getting is resoundingly positive, and somewhere between relief and joy for this industry to come back together.
To quote one of our exhibitors, the World of Concrete was “the World Series and the Super Bowl rolled into one.” The concrete industry was positively impacted, and the show will be back in January of next year, in the usual time slot, for the World of Concrete 2022. We have very good traction for that show with rebooking in progress, and things are looking positive for a healthy event getting back in 2022 on the regular cycle.
Reach Charlie McCurdy at +440 20 7017 5000 or Charlie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the full interview with Charlie McCurdy here in our digital July 2021 issue.