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With the kickoff of 2014, many organizations involved in the exhibition industry reflected on the previous year.

Lewis Shomer, president and CEO of SISO, gave his thoughts of 2013:

Full association name: Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO)
Date of establishment: 1990
Role in the tradeshow, exhibition and convention industry: We are the voice of the for-profit organizer. Our impact is immense. We have a small membership, but members are represented by CEOs. It represents a third of all tradeshows in the country, and 66-67 percent of associations are represented by non-profit associations.

Q: What significant things happened to the tradeshow industry in 2013?

We survived. Both sales of space and attendance were better than the previous year. The government limited the amount of travel to exhibitions. The Visa Waiver Program sped up visas in India and China, allowing international visitors to the U.S.

Q: What was the most important thing this year that directly affected your membership?

The industry came back. There were increases in attendance and exhibitors. Attendance drives sales.

Q: What was the most noteworthy accomplishment for your association or the industry this year?

Conferences had the most attendees ever. The board approved a $100,000 partnership with Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

Q: What is the biggest challenge the industry will face in 2014?

We’re still trying to harness digital platforms to make them financially rewarding. Another challenge is if the government is going to be in business because that will affect everyone.

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