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Each year, EDPA conducts their annual meeting of exhibit supplier members. Annual EDPA Access at the beachThe meeting is always held in December, when the tradeshow schedule is slow, and is always held in a warm climate to celebrate a good year of tradeshow marketing success. This year’s conference was held Dec. 3-6, in Marco Island, Fla.

The conference was attended by 300 EDPA members at the Marriott Hotel, where EDPA members took over the beachfront property for three days of networking and learning sessions. EDPA is one the few tradeshow supplier associations that attracts as many international exhibit companies to join and attend the conference. This event truly supports the IFES concept of global networking and sharing international knowledge.

Annual EDPA Access golf teamThis year’s theme was EVOLVE. The expo industry continues to evolve with new ways of exhibiting and new markets to expand expo services. The first day of the meeting always starts with a golf outing and a fishing tournament. Later that same day, the meeting quickly gets down to business with the first session dedicated to international marketing.

This year’s international topic was Doing Tradeshows in Asia, presented by Chris Dorn, owner of Idea International in Tokyo. Chris shared the country differences for tradeshows and the exhibit construction styles. Manpower to install and temporary building methods are somewhat different than in the US. Since most in the audience are experienced professionals, very little that is said is new, but there is always a bit of information shared that is new to many.

“This is why we attend these sessions – to learn and to share our common understandings,” remarked IFES member Bob DeFacci, Director of International- Czarnowski Exhibits.

Effective 2014, Cam Stevens, Stevens E3/past president of EDPA, will assume the role of Chairman for the EDPA International Chapter.

Through the next two days, well-known authors and speakers focused on adapting to a changing world (for yourself and for your business). Between keynote speakers, mini sessions were held that addressed many specific topics of interest directed to the entrepreneurial spirit of exhibit building companies. Also between sessions was a mini tradeshow called the Supplier Showcase – a place to show something new to the market.

One special exhibitor was IFES, where IFES member Rajnikant Kedic from Insta Exhibitions in India promoted the next IFES World Summit to be held in Delhi from May 30-Jun. 1, 2014. He also asked all to visit the IFES stand at EuroShop this February in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Two ACCESS session topics, that we all look forward to seeing each year, are the Results of EDPA Economic Survey and Exhibitor Trends – a survey to exhibitors conducted by Exhibitor Magazine. Results are available on the EDPA website for EDPA members.

One of the EDPA surveys presented revealed that the average age of our clients is going down and the average age of supplier partners is going up. At what point do we have a disconnect?

From Exhibitor Magazine survey:

  • 53 percent of American companies exhibit internationally (Average of six shows per year; Note that the number of U.S. exhibit supplier companies who assist them overseas is much less.);
  • The U.S. cost average for an exhibit supplier to prepare an RFP is $3,200;
  • 49 percent of exhibitors believe they own the design of ideas presented to them;
  • The size of the exhibit building segment of the tradeshow industry is $36.68 billion;
  • $13.6 billion of this is spent on the exhibit space;
  • 11,000 tradeshow events in the U.S. per year; and
  • 27 percent said they will increase their virtual events in 2014 (this is not good news).

The EDPA meeting was attended by 21 IFES members.

“Each year that I attend, I meet someone new and learn something new. This year was no different. Face to face marketing works,” said Axel von Hagen, von Hagen Design and past president of FAMAB.

Next year’s EDPA meeting will be held Dec. 3-5, 2014, in Innisbrook Resort, Fla.

Hope you can plan to join us then to end your successful year!

Larry Kulchawik is a past president of IFES and EDPA.

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