Dallas, TX – In response to the controversy surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to give preferred dates to the New York Boat Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Patrick Buchen, president and CEO, Adjuvant Enterprises Inc., sides with the governor’s decision. With the goal of “simply starting a dialogue to correct a broken system,” Buchen sent a letter to Trade Show Executive asking industry professionals to challenge the criteria used by convention centers and CVBs across the U.S. when giving preferred dates. Buchen, who has produced consumer shows for 33 years, said the direct economic impact of consumer shows should be evaluated more accurately, such as service contracts generated, financial transactions, and other tangential revenues resulting from those transactions. This should be compared with the value of “heads in beds” for trade shows, he asserted.
Below is his letter.
Consumer Shows are Generators of Huge Revenues and Economic Impact Too
“After reading your most recent breaking news about Gov. Cuomo’s decision regarding the public boat show in New York, I felt this might be a great time to challenge the criteria used when giving preferred dates. I believe some consumer shows, if evaluated correctly for true economic value to the region, city and convention center, will far exceed the value of heads in beds at the average trade show. I also believe that most CVBs are stacked with hotel and motel board members so naturally they want heads in beds. However, demands are changing everywhere throughout our industry.
“You and your media empire would be excellent in exploring the current CVB model of giving preferred dates to B-to-B vs. B-to-C. I believe there are flaws in how CVBs give preferred dates via the heads in beds criteria vs. true economic impact for the center and the area. For example: I believe you will find many CVBs do not give credit for economic impact for public events. I have heard some who represent CVBs say it is simply local dollars trading hands. I contend that when an attendee makes a purchase at a public event and money/taxes change hands, there is economic impact. Most likely that exhibitor lives in a surrounding county or state and crosses state, county, city, town or municipal tax lines when exhibiting. When an exhibitor in a flower show at the convention center in Dallas, who happens to live in Collin County (suburbs of Dallas), sells a lawnmower to an attendee who lives in Denton County (suburbs of Dallas), most CVBs would not count that as economic impact. They miss the boat entirely as most likely that lawnmower was produced in one of the three counties and sold and serviced in one of the three counties. CVBs need to calculate true economic value of an event, including the parking and concessions gained at most convention centers as a result of public events.
“In conversations with a center manager in the Midwest, I learned that some public events make a great deal more revenue for the center than many trade shows. This manager would book more public events, but the CVB wants heads in beds regardless of the center’s uptick in concessions, parking and other center- related retail produced by public events. Here is another flaw: Some public events do not post a headquarter hotel. A typical public event may have 300 exhibitors and half would be from out of the area. Those 150, according to our stats, have an average group of three. They are staying somewhere in the city and eating food, buying products and services, but never get counted toward heads in beds and the residual spending from heads in beds. Shame on public show producers for not being more pro-active, but it’s hard to fight city hall/convention centers/CVBs.
“I believe about 20 years ago, an organization [I believe it was the International Association of Auditorium Managers] did an economic impact study on The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. As I recall, those figures indicated a much higher impact than most of the trade events hosted by the convention center. “Further, some trade events [are not held in the same venue] year after year where a public event will most likely stay forever. Congrats to Gov. Cuomo and the Javits Center for recognizing the contributions of a 108-year-old local event.
“This is subject that I thought would be healthy for our industry to explore.”
Adjuvant Enterprises, Inc.
Care to weigh in with your viewpoint? Email Hil Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org