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Unique shows stick to strategic multi-year schedules

ecn 20th badge_flatWhen the closing bell rings at a tradeshow or convention, a satisfactory sigh of relief can be heard from exhibitors, attendees, guests, show organizers and eventually the labor crews.

Handshakes are given and well done’s are said as check outs are completed and flights boarded. Another 365 days until we meet again – in many cases, but not all.

Unique situations have molded some of the biggest tradeshows in the world into a schedule that only recurs every two, three or even four years. That doesn’t mean, however, that show organizers and planners get to kick back and enjoy an extended time off.

In fact, planning for these types of shows is often a continuous cycle. Industry trends, shipping costs and international show schedules are all factors in why shows are timed when they are.

EuroShop takes place in Dusseldorf, Germany, every 3 years.
EuroShop takes place in Dusseldorf, Germany, every three years.

“There is no beginning and no end – the planning and preparation is a continuous process,” said Elke Moebius, director, EuroShop, Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. “It is precisely the three-year cycle of EuroShop that allows the exhibitors to present true innovations. Only thanks to this fact, exhibitors can realize stands of such high quality and extraordinary design.

“Part of the fascination of EuroShop is in that companies work toward this event for three years to then turn it into the absolute highlight of the retail sector.”

Surveys and analyses are often incorporated while a show is running in order to grasp what needs to happen to keep people satisfied the next time – and the time after that. Although years of work are put into the big moment, it seems like the process can move like a well-oiled machine.

“During EuroShop 2014, we already executed a detailed exhibitor and visitor survey, the results of which are now at our disposal and providing important guidelines for the 2017 event,” Moebius said. “Moreover, we shall engage in rigorous personal dialogue with our exhibitors in the coming months and years leading up to EuroShop 2017, in order to determine and better service their wants and needs.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG requires 40 days from move-in to move-out.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG requires 40 days from move-in to move-out.

Exhibitors from shows such as CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the largest tradeshow in North America, bring some of the biggest and heaviest equipment – a process that totals 40 days between set up, show time and tear down. A time frame that simultaneously feeds four other shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Move in and move out is no walk in the park for these crews.

“For the manufacturers to have a show of that size when they’re shipping hundreds of thousands of tons, it’s just very cost prohibitive,” said Megan Tanel, show director, CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

For a show that takes place every three years, Tanel explained that it is also a way for exhibitors and attendees to not only see tangible changes in technology and equipment, but also to collaborate with similar shows in Europe that take place during off years.

“It was very calculated scheduling with consideration of the global market,” Tanel explained. “It was done on purpose to be put on rotation with the two other largest shows in the same industry with the next one in Paris and then in Germany.”

With the show of this magnitude, it means essentially setting up and tearing down an entire city within several blocks of the convention center. Tanel said the show has considered making use of other facilities to accommodate the ever-growing number of exhibitors and attendees, but in the end, the main goal is still quality, not quantity.

“The show has always been big, and there has been many discussions on asking ourselves, ‘When is it too big?’” Tanel said. “But it’s not necessarily about square footage, it’s about satisfaction level and using creativity and innovation to think outside of the exhibit space and consider some other options and opportunities.”

Technology and navigation tools have certainly played a role in the latest edition of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, as show organizers are trying to make the show as a whole more accessible for attendees.

“We’ve done everything we can to not go beyond the footprint of the convention center,” Tanel said, adding that even with that goal in mind, the show continues to grow. “We’re trying to take something that is so massive and make it manageable.”

Las Vegas welcomes back MINExpo every four years.
Las Vegas welcomes back MINExpo every four years.

Similar heavy equipment is seen at the MINExpo, the largest and most comprehensive exposition for the mining industry, held every four years in Las Vegas. Featuring 1,800 exhibitors, the most advanced equipment, products, parts and services are showcased from the global mining community.

Hosted by the National Mining Association, the group represents U.S. mining before Congress, the administration, federal agencies, the judiciary and the media.


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