From November 30- December 2, 2011, EDPA conducted its annual ACCESS conference and meeting of exhibit suppliers in Las Vegas, Nev. The focus of the meeting was doing tradeshow business in China. The conference was attended by over 300 exhibit suppliers, 71 from 34 different countries.
I have attended this conference for the past 20 years, and this one was one of the best.
What made it particularly valuable was the number of international companies that traveled to attend the networking opportunities created by EDPA.
Tradeshow suppliers from around the world sure make it easier for American suppliers to meet partners they can grow to trust. One of the many seminars held at the meeting was How to pick a trusted international partner. This session was particularly interesting because eight exhibit managers from eight different countries shared the panel with their unique points of view. The top three requirements from each country were similar, but not in the same order of importance. From the world suppliers, unknown billing costs were the biggest concern when selecting a partner. Service excellence, including timely replies, site contacts and labor with a positive attitude was a strong second, followed by a good price for value. For all, creating peace of mind with a trusted partner was most important.
Establishing a trusted relationship comes quickest when suppliers meet in person. Locating a partner to assist you abroad can be done through a web search or by joining an international chapter created by associations like EDPA, FAMAB, ASAL or IFES. This method of locating a partner is better than looking at lists or the Yellow Pages where throwing darts at names is how you can select a partner. The best way to find a trusted partner is to meet potential people in person at industry meetings like EDPA and IFES. Making the investment to attend is the first step. Each of our international guests at ACCESS made a big investment to be here to meet U.S. representatives.
This year’s event offered a tour of three large exhibit suppliers in Las Vegas. International companies were given an opportunity to see firsthand how a U.S. supplier organizes and manages their business.
“The American way of managing a tradeshow event is much different than in the rest of the world,” said Peter Theodorides , president and CEO of Vision, a display services provider from Athens, Greece. “Installation work rules, freight handling, and carpeting are different than anywhere else in the world.”
The EDPA ACCESS event is orchestrated like a professional stage show with a sideshow of exhibit suppliers and educational seminars. Most international attendees are also impressed with the U.S. level of showmanship. Top speakers were selected to be both informative and entertaining.
The final evening would not be complete without seeing a show and spending a night on the famous Las Vegas Strip. More than 25 international guests were treated to see Matt Goss at Caesars Palace.
“Coming to Las Vegas without seeing a show would be like going to Orlando and not visiting Disneyland,” said Jeff Provost, executive director of the EDPA. “After three days of intensive meetings, all international guests were invited to expand their experiences as experts and see a Las Vegas stage show in the city that never sleeps.”
Sometimes the best networking situations are not created by the organizer, they just happen in between. Spending time together on the bus ride, making a stop at the Golden Steer for a drink and to listen to one of our guests, Axel vonHagen, FAMAB president, play the piano, all provided networking at its best.
The positive impressions we get from an event are often the result of a personal encounter where emotion kicks in. This year’s ACCESS was designed to create situations where networking went into high gear. It can only work for you if you attend.
See you next year in Palm Springs, Calif., for ACCESS2012.