Oceanside, CA – Medical conferences lost some steam in the second half of 2011 with a sharp drop in attendance and a lesser sag in the amount of exhibit space sold, according to Trade Show Executive’s Semi-Annual Medical Show Report published in the March issue.
The attendance at 21 shows surveyed for the research report were (9.6)% smaller than they were during the same six months of 2010. The amount of exhibit space sold slipped (1.4)% even though there was a 1.9% increase in the number of exhibitors.
The mixed results were a setback from the first half of 2011 when the three key metrics reflected gains of more than 1% for both exhibit space and attendance while the exhibitor count grew 2.8%.
Bolstered by the heavyweight RSNA Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting, the adjusted total exhibit space for the 21 events taking place in the second half was 1,679,729 net square feet. The number of exhibitors reached 5,837 and attendance totaled 241,113.
The adjusted per-show averages for the period boiled down to 83,986 nsf, 292 exhibitors and 12,056 attendees.
Of the 21 events listed in the Medical Show Report, five included exhibit areas larger than 100,000 nsf, and three were large enough to be ranked on the latest TSE Gold 100 roster of largest U.S. trade shows.
The largest medical conference in the second half was also the largest of the year in terms of exhibit space. The RSNA Scientific Assembly & Annual Meeting grew 2.2% in 2011 to 462,650 nsf, edging the HIMMS Annual Conference and Exhibition held in the Spring by 2,150 square feet, and drawing a crowd of 58,232, which was (0.3)% smaller than the previous year.
Quality Attendees at RSNA
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) noted some increases in specific demographics, which it credited with creating a better meeting for its exhibitors. There were double-digit increases in the percentages of residents and medical physicists that made up the total crowd.
“We were extremely encouraged,” said RSNA Executive Director Mark Watson. “We know from communicating with our attendees that they come to RSNA because they can get so much of what they need, including reports on the latest scientific advances in medical imaging, fulfillment of their continuing medical education requirements, and refreshers on key topics in radiology.”