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Nonexhibiting attendance at ASAE's 2012 Springtime show was up from last year, though exhibiting numbers dipped slightly.
The Springtime Expo attracted 1,845 participants, and 1,673 exhibitor personnel who represented 472 exhibiting companies, occupying 582 booths. Last year there were 1,779 nonexhibiting participants and 1,766 exhibitors, who represented 494 companies in 580 booths.
Record attendance at Springtime was set in 2008 at 4,518 total participation - 2,390 association professionals and 2,128 exhibitors. Nonexhibiting attendance had declined since until this year. Springtime traditionally has been considered the largest one-day meeting event in the association community.
Strong general session, strong floor
Keynote speaker Peter Sheahan (above) did his best to pound two key points into the heads of a standing room only audience:
1. For your next meeting, change one thing, and I don't think he meant the meeting's location.
2. Manage your data more effectively.
But...will association executives and meeting planners heed his advice? Probably not. Why the pessimism? Ask yourself if your C-level executives have a "same-old, same-old, we've always done it this way" mentality, or do they take risks?
Do your association's IT, marketing and publications teams understand "custom content"? Sending the same direct mail and email marketing piece to all of your members is old school. While Corporate America understands the strategies of custom content to drive meeting attendance, and membership recruitment and retention, associations fail to design custom messages to its various market segments.
Bottom line: One of ASAE's best Springtime speakers in recent years.
Exhibitors were happy with the expo traffic. Eavesdropping on conversations, those in attendance seemed to want to do business and appeared to ask specific questions of exhibitors, rather than window shopping.
Julie Dodds of Anchorage, Alaska, said the traffic was steady and continuous all afternoon with more qualified veteran association staff. "The" place to hold a meeting is the newest star on the East Coast, Revel Resorts, in Atlantic City, N.J. Revel with 47 stories, 100 percent smoke free, and a $2.4 billion price tag is the shot in the arm that Atlantic City sorely needed. It's a destination for a meeting to "wow" your members.
Elliott Jaffa, EdD, writes “The Tradeshow Floor” for Association TRENDS, as well as other columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-931-0040.