Recession Death Watch: Trade Shows

Industry trade shows have been approaching dinosaur status for some time, but the current recession could sound the death knell for many events. Attendance at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was down more than 20%, according to preliminary reports. And consider what the Direct Marketing Association is offering prospective attendees in a gasping attempt to boost the numbers at next month’s Email Evolution Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.:

Financial Aid is now available for this event: Tell us your story. We want to teach you and you want to learn, so let us be your Monty Hall. Email Rachael Mark Feigenbaum your story and what you can afford and we’ll see if we can make a deal.

Hotel Credit: When you reserve your room at the Westin Kierland, the hotel will give you a $20 per night hotel credit to be applied to purchases at the resort. The details are below, but basically, it’s some extra money your company doesn’t have to spend to feed you during your travel.

Roommates: Real World Scottsdale anyone? If it’s the travel fees that have you plagued, consider sharing with a fellow attendee. Make new friends or convince a co-worker to come along by bunking up in a room. There’s plenty of space, so why not?! Shoot Debra Venedam an email and she’ll connect you with other people looking for rooms.

Next up: Free hookers!

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7 thoughts on “Recession Death Watch: Trade Shows”

  1. I think seeing a big trade show now is like seeing Elvis. I thought they were already dead. If the show is tightly focused and especially regional, I still like to go. There is something about seeing people you don’t know that I like.

  2. I wonder if this will be cyclical though. Smaller, focused, local events are doing well as they obviously fit the bill expense-wise for attendees. After a few years’ rubbing elbows with fellow recessionists, I wonder if this bigger model will revive in the next economic expansion. (Assuming there is one.)

  3. Dunno, Derek, I tend to agree with Bruce, the mega trade show is a relic, with a few exceptions. Expect more companies to hold more of their own “customer events” instead of sponsoring someone else’s show – better control over the agenda and generally better ROI.

  4. I went to CES. Spent one hour on the exhibit hall floor — the rest in an offsite space (we took over a restaurant). I wouldn’t ask the company to spend to fly me and sign me up for a conference these days under any circumstances. Event marketing has got to have a world of hurt and stink on it right now.

  5. I think you guys are right on it – I used to exhibit in shows in the 80’s and 90’s and “relic” is a great term. I remember lines at pay phones and checking my voice mail from my hotel room phone. Trade Shows were great places to get information and collaborate – now we have cyberspace and cell phones and you dont have to GO anywhere at ANY given time, you can do it all the time – although I will miss eating those “plastic” nachos standing over the trash can!

  6. Sorry to disappoint guys, a year and a half later and trade show are still alive and well. While I will agree a lot of the mega trade shows are gone, there are still plenty of major trade shows and conventions around.

  7. Haha, free hookers for everyone! seriously tho, these things are so obsolete it hurts. I used to do sales for SME (society of manufacturing engineers) in Canada. They acquired a bunch of Reed exposition’s dieing shows, and that’s when I joined as a sales rep. they always bitched at me cuz I wasn’t increasing their booth sales, and I was like “dood, your sales have been trending on a downward spiral for years, why would you increase my quota from last year, that doesn’t make any sense”. Anyway, they fired me, but I’m fairly certain that lineup of shows will be completely dead in about 10 years, but they were mostly dinosaurs anyway, so I guess they’ll just retire.

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