VOLTS (Virtual OnlineCompany), which began operation last May, launched its first virtual show recently-an online version of Medtrade, the largest healthcare products trade show in North America.
The site, at www.medtrade.com, allows attendees to access product information (including pictures) and place orders year-round. Visitors also can register for next year's show, and get information on travel and hotel reservations. During its first quarter, Medtrade received 8,500 hits, says Tom Mitchell, managing partner of the Atlanta-based VOLTS.
Following its success with Medtrade, VOLTS is promoting its services to other show producers. "We want to create official online versions of shows," Mitchell clarifies. "We do not want to start online events that are competitive to on-site events. That dilutes the marketplace and confuses the typical attendee."
Show producers can choose from various cost structures. They can pass on all the costs to exhibitors, who pay less than $2,000 for the first year, and $1,000 per year thereafter, or they can absorb a portion of the up-front costs and then receive a commission back from VOLTS. It takes about 60 days for VOLTS to produce a virtual show. Show organizers and exhibitors do not need any specific technological equipment, although e-mail capability speeds the process of receiving inquiries and orders from attendees, Mitchell explains. Otherwise, VOLTS will forward the information via fax.
Coming Up * Greater Washington Society of Association Executives Springtime in the Park, May 29, Sheraton Washington, DC; (202) 429-9370
* American Society of Association Executives Annual Legislative Summit and Associations Advance America Day, June 3 to 4, Hyatt Regency Washington, DC; (202) 371-0940
* International Association for Exposition Management Summer Meeting, June 10 to 13, Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers, John B. Hynes Convention Center, (972) 458-8002
* American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting, July 26 to July 29, McCormick Place, Chicago; (202) 371-0940
* Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress, August 3 to 5, Baltimore Convention Center and Hyatt Regency; (972) 702-3051
Corrections Noted * The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan has 325 guest rooms, not 361, as stated in the February issue of Association Meetings. It has eight locales for dining. The main dining room is available to those guests on the Modified American Plan.
* The area code for Greensboro, NC, is 910, not 919, as reported in the Georgia and the Carolinas site file in the February issue.