February Cover Story Hits Home

The cover story of the February issue (“Exhibitors Cry Ouch!,” page 18) was of great interest to me, so much so that I faxed a copy to my decorator to read. I asked her to call so that we could compare notes. We have been doing some of the ideas mentioned in the article, and will be implementing some of the other ideas at our November show.
Carol Crossland, CMP
Vice President, Membership, Meetings, Exhibitions
National Arborist Association
Manchester, N.H.

Scapegoat: Cost-Shifting

Regarding your February cover story, contractors are working hard to partner with show managers and exhibitors to keep costs down. We're very aware of the need to keep costs in line while helping to bring buyers and sellers together at exhibitions. But cost-shifting has become the scapegoat. The real issue is how do we do cost analysis and reduction in all areas, from facilities, to general service contractors, to service contractors, associations, and for-profit show management companies?

Trade shows represent profit centers for all the stakeholders, and each is entitled to a fair profit. The challenge is maintaining equality in all areas while satisfying the needs of the exhibitor.
Susan L. Schwartz, CEM
Executive Director
Exhibition Services & Contractors Association
Henderson, Nev.

Groundhog Day

When I read the article, “Exhibitors Cry OUCH!” in the February issue, my first thought was how little things have changed in the last 25 years. Sure, exhibit costs have risen (what hasn't?) over the years. And, yes, there were fewer “exclusive” services back then, but the concerns expressed are largely unchanged from those in years past. And unless we make a fundamental change in the way we view our relationships with our exhibitors, we are destined (doomed?) to remain locked in our own version of the movie Groundhog Day.

So, how do we break the cycle? Let me answer that with another question: If our success and our exhibitors' success are so inexorably linked (which they are), aren't we really partners? And aren't the attendees our common audience/market? Until we come to understand and fully appreciate this reality, we might as well get used to waking to “I Got You Babe” each morning, because nothing's going to change.
Richard L. Dobson
Senior Vice President, Exhibitions
PGI, Arlington, Va.