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The Health of the Convention Industry
The Health of the Convention Industry

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AIR DATE: January 11, 2011

The convention industry is a key driver of Nevada's economy. Many are saying, that the industry is on its way back from the huge drop off the industry experienced in 2008. Attendance at CES, the first big convention of the year was up from the year before according to most preliminary figures. We take a look at the year to come in the convention business in Las Vegas and whether or not the industry is as healthy as some are saying.

GUEST
Rachel Wimberly, Ed in Chief, Trade Show News Network
Chuck Schwartz, CEM and Chair, Convexx
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    COMMENTS:
    I work for a small, exclusively eco-friendly trade show company in Portland, OR called Boothster. When the recession hit we had to cut back a lot of hours and had a few cancellations. Some clients even got laid off from their jobs. However it forced us to be very innovative and efficient. We used the down time to come up with a new line of green products that have now been selling. Overall, we ended up growing from 2007-2009 and stayed steady in 2010. Interestingly, we've even had one project in 2011 from a client who was being over-charged by one of the bigger trade show companies.
    BoothsterJan 12, 2011 16:48:40 PM
    I've worked as Director of Trade Show Services for a major video production company since 2004. In 2009 was our best year sales wise and in 2010, we met those same numbers. In recapping 2010, my team attended 500+ trade shows nationally and 192 in Las Vegas. By far, the biggest concerns on the exhibitor side is the exorbitant fees charged by the unions, especially at the Sands. While the hotels, transportation & Food/beverage industry has made changes, until the unions give concessions and cut the cost to empty a waste basket from 50.00/day to even 40.00/day there won't be a full recovery. The Chicago CVB met with their unions and worked out an agreement so they are more competitive. Until the LVCVB does the same, then we are going to continue to lose conventions such as NATPE, SIA etc.
    PK DollarJan 12, 2011 07:44:10 AM
    Many exhibitors had to cut down their exhibits due to smaller budgets, but many of us learned that we didn't need to spend massive amounts of money on a booth or sponsorships to make a large impact. By trimming a lot of the "fat" in our show presence we learned that there are cheaper ways to impress buyers than a big flashy booth. Personally even as our company grows back to where it was before 2008, we will not be increasing our booth presence.
    ExhibitorJan 10, 2011 10:14:15 AM
    I am a Spanish and German interpreter who frequently interprets for international delegations at tradeshows, and while bookings were down in 2009, they are now back to pre-crisis levels. I get phone calls from tradeshow attendees from all over the world, which is a solid sign that international business visitors are back. My colleagues at the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association (NITA) have also reported an increase in sales. We tend to forget that language services are an essential part in facilitating outstanding conference experiences. I am happy to see that tradeshow organizers are increasingly recognizing the need for interpretation services.
    Judy JennerJan 10, 2011 10:11:28 AM
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