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This Just In

International Sign Expo Drives Growth with Attendee-Centric Strategy in 2024

ANDREW WARRICK, DIGITIAL ASSOCIATE EDITOR
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ORLANDO — The International Sign Association’s (ISA) International Sign Expo returned to the Orange County Convention Center from April 10-12, and grew in attendance by 11% (to 19,500) this year, surpassing its 2018 level in Orlando.

ISA’s annual expo also increased its exhibitor-count by 10% (to 570) and net square footage by 12% (to nearly 200,000 net square feet) in 2024.

“From talking to exhibitors, there seemed to be an increase in buyers, both in terms of final decision makers and the influencers of those decisions. For the most part, the exhibitors were very happy with the turnout and the buying power,” Lori Anderson, FASAE, CAE, ISA President and CEO said.

Anderson explained that the current popularity of rebrands, mergers and acquisitions creates a demand for signage that fuels the show’s growth. “The sign, graphics and visual communications industry is very, very busy… they need to know what new products are out there to help their customers, and that’s what this event does.”

Anderson also shared that the show’s COVID-19 hiatus gave its management team time to explore new ideas, inspiring a more attendee-centric strategy. Since 2020, new experiences, strategies and more have been introduced to enhance the show’s attendee experience, contributing to its popularity.

A virtual B2B matchmaking program, added during the pandemic, was a particular hit with attendees. Due to extreme demand, the show’s team incorporated it into its 2021 in-person return. The feature sold out in approximately one day.

Anderson added that this “very, very popular” program is expanded and updated each year, evidencing the show’s attendee-based approach. “Our ultimate mission is to become an indispensable event for the industry to attend. We hope this combination of looking at learning, networking, B2B events and fun experiences will continue to evolve.”

New and Expanded Features

Contestants at the Sign Shop Spectacular Installation Showcase competed for a $500 cash prize.

At a new Sign Shop Spectacular Installation Showcase, held April 10, teams of professionals raced to install signs on the show floor for a $500 cash prize.

According to Anderson, the event saw huge crowds, and will be expanded in future shows as part of its dedication to the attendee experience. “It took a couple of hours, and people wouldn’t leave their seats, because it’s just so fascinating to watch.”

ISA also announced a new strategic partnership with The Wrap Institute (TWI), an educational organization. Anderson calls this “a tremendous opportunity for growth in the industry.”

Related. Trade Show Executive’s Fastest 50 Awards & Summit Celebrates High Growth and Highlights Important Industry Trends to Watch

ISA plans to continue optimizing the attendee experience at the 2025 ISA International Sign Expo, which is scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas. A new Vice President of Trade Shows and Meetings, Ryan Strowger, CEM, will join ISA on June 10 and bring fresh ideas for the upcoming event.

ISA International Sign Expo is part of the Fastest 50 Class of 2023, ranked by Number of Exhibiting Companies and Total Attendance, and was honored this month at Resorts World Las Vegas. Learn more here.

Reach Lori Anderson at lori.anderson@signs.org.

Photo Credit: International Sign Association.

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