To Charge or Not to Charge – Part 2

This past week I attended another tradeshow/expo. (I know, I spend a lot of time going to shows). This is the show I told you about a while back where we decided not to charge to attend. I really believe the same thing happened as in the past. We had over 1200 registrations, and they tell me approximately 700 people actually showed up. I truly believe that our numbers would have been closer to the truth had we charged a nominal amount as we have in the past 4 years.


There were many comments about the show and its new venue and the new show managers. Some were good, some were bad. More communication could have been done on the part of not only our association’s expo committee, but also with the shows management. More signage was the common complaint from vendors as well as attendees. In the past, there were signs from every entry way possible and additional signage all along the way to guide the attendee to the show. Instead, there were barely any signs to guide you and the convention security was no help in directing attendees to the expo. – Second, in the past, we had provided box lunches to the exhibitors. Many exhibitors came with more than one representative. In the past, we provided more than one box lunch. I heard many complaints from vendors that they only received one ticket for lunch, even when there were 3 people in the booth. This wouldn’t have been so bad if it had been publicized ahead of time with their vendor packets to make everyone aware that this was the case this year. 


I believe this will be a live and learn experience. I am just sad that we had this all figured out over the past few years, and then when we switch management companies, it was like starting over again. I just read a recent article in our industry magazine that said that one of the other regional Expo’s who had hired a new management company was giving them notice two years in to a three year contract.  The grass is not always greener.


 Please think twice about making a change to an event that was working well – AND consult those “who were there when it was working” –especially if you are new or weren’t a part of the event when it was working well.  Reinventing the wheel can be painful in the end. We may have saved a few dollars, but we may have also alienated exhibitors as well as attendees with such poor organization and lack of communication.