It's an'Up-selling' World, So Get Creative "With this seller's market [in convention center space], there's been a spate of up-selling," says Douglas L. Ducate, president and CEO of Chicago-based Center for Exhibition Industry Research. "To quote Dave Evans when he was at Westin Hotels: `The mark of a good salesman isn't what you book, it's what you move.'"
Ducate, whose organization is in the midst of a first-ever census of annual exhibitions held in the U.S. and Canada, has plenty of evidence of up-selling by facilities - the practice of displacing smaller, less profitable events with bigger pieces of business in order to maximize revenue.
The International Association for Exhibition Management's own surveys are finding that, even though new construction and facility expansion projects are in high gear, available space is tops on the list of show organizers' concerns, according to Steven Hacker, president of IAEM. "As we all know, there is a tremendous expansion under way in the U.S.," he says. In 2000, there will be about 56 million square feet of exhibition space in the U.S. By the end of 2004, it will be about 80 million square feet, an increase of nearly 30 percent.
Then why space trouble for small and midsize shows? "Virtually all shows, no matter what size, theoretically face this situation," says Hacker, "and that's one reason why the largest of shows are making multi-year deals. That's one way to secure the space that you need."
That tactic may be out of the realm of practicality for smaller shows, but one important piece of advice Hacker gives to small and midsize show organizers: Know your worth. "We have to remember that the demand for space at most venues comes in different forms, and each carries different priorities," he explains. "It may be that four or five different events are vying for the same space, or portions of it, so it's important that organizers have an accurate view of the value of their events. They have to ask themselves: What is the total economic impact of my event on the destination?"
As the problem grows, show organizers are getting more creative in their solutions. Hacker tells of one IAEM member who unexpectedly lost exhibition space, was able to relocate the event in a vacant supermarket, "and it worked out okay."
Alternative venues, such as armories, high schools, and airport hangars, will be part of the CEIR exhibition census, says Ducate. Before exhibition andorganizers dismiss the notion, Hacker adds that in other countries, exhibitions are often successfully held in public parking garages, vacant lots, and empty retail stores. "The same can take place here," he says.
Other creative space solutions: - If possible, co-locate with a complementary show or ask the show if they'll "marry" your event with another.
- Try to book in as the first show in a facility's expansion before the venue starts its sales efforts.
- Get the ear of higher-ups: Talk to a VP or the facility manager.
When www.meetingjobs.com - a Web site that specializes in employment offerings in the meeting and event business - launched nearly three years ago, we were pretty impressed with the site's simplicity. Employers could post jobs and look at resumes. Job candidates could post resumes and look at jobs. The site was redesigned recently, and we're happy to report that the ease-of-use remains, even with the addition of some nifty features.
Job candidates can develop an online resume in different ways. They can use a resume-building feature, or simply cut and paste from an existing resume into one of the meetingjobs.com online forms. Usefully, candidates have the option of masking their identities until such time as they wish to reveal them.
When employers post jobs, they now also get an in-box to check for resumes. They can also conduct searches by keyword criteria, selecting by title, geographic area, salary range, or just about anything else, and search the site's database of nearly 1,000 resumes. They can then send an e-mail message to the owners of the resumes that match the criteria. There is also a place for company or association profiles, so employers can sell the benefits of working for their organizations.
The site is getting about 9,000 hits a day, according to Dawn Penfold, CMP, president of the site's operator, The Meeting Candidate Network. The job listing service (but not the additional resource stuff) is also available in a slightly different format at www.mpoint.com.
One way to beat those huge and often hidden audio-visual equipment costs is to buy instead of rent. Two of the latest conference room LCD projectors on the market are Sharp's NotevisionC30 and Notevision-P10 - and both are portable.
The NotevisionC30 - at 9 by 4.75 by 12.2 inches and 11.7 pounds - can fit in an airplane overhead compartment, and is priced at $6,995.
The NotevisionP10 is designed for both fixed installation and portable use and is priced at $10,995.
Both projectors come with Sharp's "PresenterPAK" feature, an icon-based, color-coded user interface application and menu screen, making setup easy for both Macs and PCs. Other PresenterPAK functions include automatic and manual image adjustment features, association or group logo display during presentation start-up, and image enlargement and freeze capabilities.
For more information about these two LCD projectors, visit Sharp on the Web at www.SharpLCD.com.
Naughty or Nice, Planners Can Wish, Too If you're hoping Saint Nick will leave a Palm VII in your stocking this year, you're not alone. Since meeting planners are the ones usually doing the giving, we thought it would be enlightening - and fun - to get a peek at some industry folks' holiday wish lists. From small things like Peace on Earth to wishes even Santa can't indulge, like unlimited F&B budgets, these lists may have you checking yours twice:
Sarah Matthews, director of meetings and events for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, Bristol, Tenn., wishes for "a laptop that is two pounds, including the case; in a rubber coating so it won't break when I drop it; runs all day on the battery; and is compatible with all LCD projectors with no reconfiguration." Sarah would also like flights that are always on time and laundry that folds and puts itself away.
Megan Sinesiou, meeting planner for the American Society of Naval Engineers, Alexandria, Va., mixes work and personal needs on her list: a Palm VII; a weekly massage, manicure, and pedicure; and a new wardrobe. A postscript from Megan: "Are you asking because you're going to do this for me? If so, I would also like a new car. Red, please."
Rebecca Hassouna, of the Sheraton Universal Hotel, is not a meeting planner, but says suppliers have wishes, too. Tops on her list: "Signedbefore I go on holiday vacation." And all flights - especially hers - running on time on December 23 and 26.