Within a Week of the announcement that VNU Business Media's Incentive Show was closing its doors, competitor Selling Communications had launched a new show to fill the void: The New York Incentive, Rewards & Recognition Expo & Conference. The new event is scheduled to take place May 30-31, 2007, at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers in Manhattan.

The decades-old Incentive Show had experienced declining attendance and exhibitor interest in recent years (the number of exhibitors had dropped to just 200 in 2006), and New York — based VNU Business Media USA had been grappling with ways to reposition it. Over the years, the trade show has attracted some of the largest and most prestigious purveyors of incentive merchandise to New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center each May, from Tumi to Movado to Harry & David.

Selling Communications and Motivation Media, based in Irvington, N.Y., also expects to draw the leading brands in merchandise, travel, and retail as exhibitors to the new show; Movado, Sony, Marriott, and Canon have already committed. Plans include holding roundtable sessions and seminars on incentive and recognition program design, and creating a hosted buyer program for attendees.

Selling Communications brings years of experience to the venture as the company that has managed the marketing and content development for the Motivation Show, held each fall in Chicago. Bruce Bolger, Selling's founder and president, started his company in 1996 after spending 25 years in publishing and marketing companies, including Bill Communications Inc. and Miller Freeman (which are both now part of VNU Business Media).

Meanwhile, VNU Business Media announced the same week that it closed the Incentive Show that it is exploring the idea of producing a virtual trade show as a replacement, as well as two other, smaller face-to-face projects: a Luxury Brands Event and a Regional Boutique, both of which will launch in 2007 to complement its Luxury Brands supplement.

As of press time in late November, no dates or locations had been set for either of the nonvirtual events.