Power Hitters Get 2011 Off on the Right Foot

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Orlando, FL – While it has literally been cut in half by the recession, the International Builders’ Show (IBS 2011) has its sights set on being a big event for the housing industry.

IBS is one of the major trade shows taking place in January that are looking for both a rebound in their metrics and some indication that the respective industries they serve are bouncing back as well.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will bring IBS to Orlando January 12-15 for the start of a two-year run at the Orange County Convention Center. The last two shows were held in Las Vegas at a time when the U.S. economy dealt homebuilders a terrible hand that cut the event’s exhibit space from just over 1 million net square feet (nsf) in 2007 to 498,026 nsf in 2010.

But even that seemingly dramatic drop didn’t deter IBS 2009 from claiming sixth place on the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 ranking of the biggest trade shows in the U.S. And despite continued stress on the housing industry, IBS 2011 is expected to hold steady, according Mark Pursell, NAHB senior vice president of exhibitions, marketing and sales. Pursell projected the show will hover around 500,000 nsf and draw somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 attendees.

“It will still be a big event by any measure,” Pursell told TSE. “We have gotten smarter in how we put the show together, market it and get people (attendees) together with one another when they get here.”

Networking will be a major attraction at IBS 2011. Pursell said that, despite the housing industry mired in a down period, the attendees walking the aisles in Orlando will likely be higher-quality decision makers. “The big number that our exhibitors are looking for is the number of qualified leads they collect,” he said. “It’s about who the attendees are.”

“We’ve been getting good aisle traffic,” said Pursell. “The people the exhibitors are talking to are the more-senior people. And, they have more time to talk to them. The crowd isn’t shoulder-to-shoulder.”

Not long ago, IBS was a shoulder-to-shoulder sight to behold. But rubbing elbows with the right crowd should pay off just as well.

The Big Hitters

January is a huge month for trade shows. A total of 20 Gold 100 events are on the schedule. Some of the major shows are:

·         International Consumer Electronics Show (CESJanuary 6-9, Las Vegas Convention Center. Arguably the highest-profile trade show in the U.S. and definitely one of the largest. International CES topped 1.4 million nsf in 2010, which was down from 1.7 million nsf in 2009. The 2009 edition topped the Gold 100 rankings. This year, CES will feature a new Tech Zone dedicated to mobile content. Hollywood will also be welcomed with a new program called Entertainment Matter, which is centered on meetings and networking among entertainment content companies.

·         Florida RV SuperShow: January 11-16, Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. The Florida RV Trade Association had sold nearly 741,000 nsf heading into the holidays, a nice rebound from 706,794 nsf in 2010. More than 1,100 vehicles will be on display and a package for four nights of camping at the fairgrounds and unlimited access to the show is being offered to enthusiasts.

·         World of Concrete: January 18-21, Las Vegas Convention Center. Hanley Wood is projecting 550,000 nsf of exhibits. The annual bus trip to the concrete Mecca at Hoover Dam is expected to be a sell-out.

·         SHOT Show 2011: January 18-21, Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas. Reed Exhibitions reported a 23% increase in attendance in 2010 when the sporting firearms show moved from Orlando to Las Vegas.
“We’ll fill the Sands again and our exhibit space will be sold out,” said Show Manager Dennis MacDonald. “The law enforcement category of products remains popular and has expanded to include exhibits in many of the meeting rooms located on the Sands and Venetian property.”

·         PGA Merchandise Show:January 27-29, Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.Reed Exhibitions is expecting more than 40,000 attendees from 75 nations and an exhibit floor of approximately 400,000 nsf. That would be an improvement over the 2009 show of 380,000 nsf, which placed the PGA Merchandise Show 41st on the Gold 100. Reed last month unveiled a cost-savings program for attendees called Superpass, which packages transportation, lodging and three square meals for $200 per day or less.

·         The NAMM Show: January 13-16, Anaheim Convention Center. New pavilions dedicated to mobile applications, Native American instruments and the luthier’s craft — someone who makes and repairs stringed instruments — beckon attendees. The event is projecting 548,333 nsf and nearly 86,000 attendees, the same totals that placed the 2009 show 25th on the Gold 100.

Reach Mark Pursell, NAHB senior vice president of exhibitions, marketing and sales, at (202) 266-8477 or mpursell@nahb.orgKaren Chupka, senior vice president events and conferences, Consumer Electronics Association, at (703) 907-7639 or kchupka@ce.org; Lesa Colvin, show director, Florida RV Trade Association, at (800) 330-7882 or lesacolvin@frvta.org; Jackie James, director, World of Concrete, at (972) 536-6379 or jjames@hanleywood.com; Dennis MacDonald, show manager, SHOT Show,  at (203) 840-5469 or dmacdonald@reedexpo.com; Ed Several, group vice president, Reed Exhibitions, PGA Merchandise Show, at (203) 840-5932 or eseveral@reedexpo.com; Kevin Johnstone, NAMM director of trade shows, at (760) 438-8007 x105, or kevinj@namm.org