TSEA Looks at Future Options After TS2 2011 Called Off

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Alexandria, VA – The 2011 edition of the annual TS2 trade show has been called off to give its owners additional time to overhaul the event in time for a possible re-launch in 2012.

National Trade Productions, Inc. (NTP), said the decision to defer TS2 into 2012 was made after an in-depth review of the show found growing sentiment for more-targeted events. In addition, another year of tight exhibiting budgets was cutting into the exhibitor pool for 2011.

“Our research told us we were on the right path to a large extent, so we decided to carry on with the conference and exposition in 2011,” said Robert Harar, chairman of NTP. “But when we reached out to the supplier side, the reception was very tepid.”

TS2 2010, held in Boston in July, drew 1,557 qualified attendees and had 25,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Although the 2010 show saw an increase in attendance, exhibitor participation was down (30)% from 2009, and net square feet suffered a (11)% decline.

Harar called the show a success from an attendance standpoint and in terms of exhibitor satisfaction. But with the economy still cloudy, NTP decided the best course of action would be to shelve the 2011 event in Philadelphia and devote the company’s full attention and resources to 2012. “We didn’t want to continue along this path of trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip,” Harar said.

Harar told Trade Show Executive (TSE) a new strategy was being developed. He said research had indicated that attendees were leaning toward educational content that was more tightly focused on specific job titles and industry sectors. “TS2 tried to cover all bases, but there is only so much you can do for each skill level, whether it is for the rookies, or mid-level or C-level executives,” he said.

Harar’s outlook was shared by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA), which had created TS2 37 years ago, and remained the sponsor of the show after selling it to NTP in 2004.

We are affected six months to a year after the rest of the economy, and we recover six months later as well,” said Margit Weisgal, president and CEO of TSEA.  “Budgets were starting to loosen up last January, but I think exhibitors are still afraid to spend money.”

TSEA launched its Red Diamond Congress in Orlando this year, which drew about 50 attendees including exhibitors and trade show organizers. “We’ve been working on the schedule for the next one, potentially in August,” Weisgal told TSE. “There could be an opportunity for us to turn this event into our national meeting.”

“We are looking at our options, including very probably expanding the education that we offer at the Red Diamond Congress,” Wesigal said.

Meanwhile, Weisgal said, TSEA will still hold its scheduled educational conferences and its Face-to-Face Connections hosted buyer events.

Reach Bob Harar at (703) 683-8500 or bharar@ntpshow.com; Margit Weisgal at (312) 949-5781 or mbweisgal@tsea.org