The Motivation Show, held annually at McCormick Place in Chicago, has suffered declining exhibitor and visitor numbers, especially on the Incentive Travel & Meeting Executives side. But organizers are making changes, responding to opinions of meeting planners and exhibitors who were surveyed after the 2009 event, and promise an updated experience when the doors open October 12–14, 2010.

“We asked. We listened. Now, we are going to do something about it so that both exhibitors and attendees will be given the data necessary for them to defend existing programs, justify future spending, and fuel continuous improvement of incentive, meeting, event, reward, recognition, and loyalty programs,” said Peter Erickson, managing director of The Motivation Show, in a press release.

One of the biggest changes is the show’s move to McCormick Place West from McCormick Place South. The new, state-of-the-art location offers more than 60 meeting rooms with Wi-Fi capability. In addition, McCormick Place West has attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Build Council.

A dedicated Education Day is planned for Tuesday, October 12, with the exhibit halls open on October 13 and 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This way, Erickson noted, fewer educational sessions will conflict with exhibit hours. The new schedule also lops off a day of exhibit hours, thereby reducing costs for exhibitors.

Among the other changes implemented or in the works: 1. Create a Conference Advisory Board made up of end-users and resellers to provide guidance on educational content. Among the 30 board members for 2010 are Ira Almeas, CITE, Impact Incentives & Meetings; Debra Andersen, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics; Beth Cooper-Zobott, Equity Residential; Kurt Paben, Carlson Marketing; Brad Langley, Creative Group; and Bob Dawson, The Business Group.

2. Conduct a pre-show survey to ask potential conference participants about their educational expectations and desired topics.

3. Highlight opportunities to network and develop contacts, as these represent the most highly valued benefits of show attendance.

4. Refine the show to allow participants to more easily organize their schedule based on whether their priority is networking, education, or exhibit-floor appointments.

5. Enhance the hosted-buyer program through a collaborative effort with exhibitors, associations, and third parties to identify and register qualified buyers.

6. Create a committee to develop ways to boost show-floor interactivity, such as speed-networking sessions, Tweetups, and other ideas.

To see the entire survey results that prompted the changes under consideration, visit The Motivation Show Web site.

Focus on Sustainability
Also new for 2010 is The Motivation Show’s increased focus on sustainability. In conjunction with McCormick Place, Global Experience Specialists, and CompuSystems, the Mo Show has put many new environmentally friendly initiatives in place.

First up is online distribution for 100 percent of its exhibitor materials, and the use of electronic forms for most exhibitor data collection.

The badge process also has changed. The show will use the CompuSystems Express RFID Badge Pickup system for registrants, rather than mailing badges to attendees. All tickets will be printed on demand at the show, greatly reducing waste and the need for thousands of envelopes and inserts previously used to mail badges to participants.

Meanwhile, the show’s general services contractor, GES, is working with vendors to encourage the use of more eco-friendly and cost-effective exposition products and services.

Find education and registration information at the revamped Mo Show Web site, which now includes a microsite with information on the hosted-buyer program—including how to apply—plus a new Online Exhibit Planner for attendees to create a personal exhibitor list and request appointments.