For exhibit and event professionals  

2012 in Review

January 7, 2013 By Editor

18 headlines the Mayans couldn’t predict
by Jim Wurm, Executive Director, Exhibit & Event Marketers Association

January is when we traditionally look back at the events of the past year to gain perspective on all that was — and all that may follow as a result. If you believed the prophecy of the Mayan calendar, you might be surprised to be reading this right now.

But it might just be that the Mayans, with great wisdom, weren’t predicting an end of the world in 2012 but an end to conventional thinking and conventional time keeping. Based on the changes I witnessed in the world of exhibits and events in 2012, I believe this may be true.

As the executive director of E2MA, I see hundreds of news articles cross my desk every year. Here are some of last year’s top industry stories, as well as a few news events specific to E2MA in 2012. I think paying particular attention to these will help event and exhibit industry professionals gain a perspective on the year ahead.

Microsoft Pulls out of CES (Expo Web News). After almost 20 years with the show, Microsoft announced it will no longer keynote or take a booth at International CES.

67 Percent of Show Organizers Expect Bigger Profits in 2012 (Expo Web News). According to UFI’s Global Exhibitor Barometer, conference executives’ year-over-year expectations declined 12 percentage points, from 79 percent who expected profits to rise in 2011.

Majority of New Yorkers Oppose New Convention Center (M&C Midweek News). More than half (57 percent) of New York state residents who participated in a poll conducted by Siena College were against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to build the country’s largest convention center in Queens, NY.

Obama Unveils Strategy to Boost Travel to and within the US (Trade Show Executive). President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to ease the way for international visitors to obtain visas and travel to the U.S. as part of a comprehensive effort to spur job creation.

EACs Receive Teamster Contracts (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association website). The EAC community in Las Vegas reached an agreement with Teamsters Local 631 on their access to qualified I&D labor. The current EAC community in Las Vegas employs an aggregate total of 50 percent of the Teamster workforce during each trade show.

PreCheck Expanding (M&C Midweek News). The Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck initiative, which is currently available to certain passengers at eight U.S. airports, was scheduled to be expanded to 27 additional airports over the course of 2012.

Exhibition Industry Summit Convened in Atlanta on February 24. The second “All Industry Summit” took place in Atlanta at the GWCC. The All Industry Summit brought together all stakeholders in the trade show industry to search for common solutions to the issues that impede our industry’s growth. The four top initiatives that were identified at the meeting included:

  1. Defining the structure of the organization moving forward including its makeup and governance.
  2. Developing a communications plan to clearly outline the industry’s common goals.
  3. Aligning the advocacy initiatives of the respective member organizations.
  4. Developing a Customer Satisfaction Index for the industry.

Exhibit City News Format Change (Exhibit City News). The 19-year-old newspaper covering the meeting, convention and trade show industries announced it would be changing its format starting with the May 2012 issue.

Philadelphia Drops Convention Center Labor-Management Fee (Trade Show Executive). The Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia announced it would eliminate an 8 percent labor-management fee charged to trade show organizers effective July 1.

Show Producers Fight Javits Teardown (Meeting News). A powerful group of businesses in the trade show industry coalesced to fight Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to ensure they have a voice in the final decision.

Chicago Mayor Emanuel Announces New Union Agreement between McCormick Place, Navy Pier, IBEW and IATSE (Trade Show Executive). Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) reached an agreement to make McCormick Place and Navy Pier more competitive in the market for corporate events and trade shows.

Cvent Releases List of Top Meeting Destinations in US (Meetings and Conventions). Cvent announced the top 50 cities for meetings and events in the United States, based on bookings made through the Cvent Supplier Network.

Hiring Picks Up Speed across Trade Show Industry (Trade Show News Network). Overall employment in the U.S. may still be down, but hiring in the trade show industry continued to pick up speed through the summer and fall.

Exhibition Industry Grows for Eighth Straight Quarter (Exhibit City News). The overall exhibition industry gained 2.3 percent during the first half of 2012, matching U.S. gross domestic product growth, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research.

CEIR Study Examines Exhibitor Sales Lead Capture and Follow-up Practices (Exhibit City News). CEIR released a new study, Exhibitor Sales Lead Capture and Follow-up Practice Trends, which indicates most organizations (74 percent) use lead-retrieval systems provided by event organizers to capture sales leads.

Hurricane Sandy Causes Havoc on East Coast Events Schedule; ISC East Postponed at Javits (Trade Show News Network). Due to Hurricane Sandy, shows were postponed or canceled altogether at several venues.

CEIR: Exhibitions Industry Growth Expected the Next Two Years (Exhibit City News). The next two years should see growth in the global exhibitions industry, according to a new report by CEIR.

One of the most compelling changes last year was the formation of the new industry association — the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association. The E2MA was formed by combining the strengths of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association, which had been in existence for nearly 50 years, and the Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Association. The mission of the E2MA is to enhance the expertise of exhibit and event planner professionals in exhibit and event marketing, and to raise the level of service excellence on the show floor. Values of the association are education, professional development, advocating for industry best practices and informing all levels in the corporate marketing hierarchy about the value of exhibits and events.

Specific initiatives undertaken by the E2MA include:

  • A revitalization and renewal of the Certified Manager of Exhibits program, which had been a cornerstone of the TSEA professional development educational programs.
  • A joint venture with the CMO Council (a 6,000-member global organization of senior marketers) to conduct a global study of the event marketing space.
  • The completion of a three-year study by the Advocacy Committee and development of an industry presentation titled Enhancing Exhibitor Value Enables Show Growth. The study analyzed rising exhibitor costs over a 10- to 15-year period and recommendations for better cost containment and management.

Based on the above news items, the events and exhibits industry — despite a few glitches here and there — appears to be healthy, growing and becoming better organized. After a tumultuous 2012, here’s to 2013! May everyone have a great show year!

Jim Wurm is the executive director of the Exhibit & Event Marketers Association (www.e2ma.org). The mission of the E2MA is to enhance the expertise of professionals in exhibit and event marketing, and to raise the level of service excellence on the show floor.


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