DON'T BE SURPRISED if TS2 wants you. TS2, “the trade show about trade shows,” was sold this fall, and the new owners are planning to retool the show to better address the needs of corporate event organizers.

Long the property of the Chicago-based Trade Show Exhibitors Association, the TS2 show was sold in October to National Trade Productions, Alexandria, Va. NTP's president Bob Harar says that NTP is going to double the amount of money that TSEA was able to spend on marketing the show, and plans to “go after” corporate event organizers as a new market segment. It also expects to cut the TS2 show from three days to two.

With corporate events and trade shows increasingly merging into one budget under the control of one person, says Harar, it only makes sense to position the show to capture both streams of marketing dollars. However, “We are not looking to rock the boat. We need to be true to TSEA and to the show's identity,” he says. So as a start, for the next show — July 11 to 15, 2005 in Washington, D.C. — NTP will have an educational track for corporate event planners. NTP plans to get feedback on further development for this market from TSEA's Exhibit Advisory Council and from the TSEA membership Exhibit Advisory Council on this issue and with the TSEA membership. Very likely, says Harar, both have an interest in this overlapping market. “Heck,” he says, eventually “it could be a major segment within the conference.”

“I view corporate events as a hybrid of the trade show experience, which is the essence of face-to-face marketing. I don't view corporate events as a threat to trade shows. I think the [trade show] industry should be embracing this form of marketing under the umbrella of what we do,” says Harar, “and, more strategically, working with corporations to find what is the best way to get their message out.”

Michael Bandy, TSEA president, says that selling TS2 allows the association to “get out from underneath the considerable resources” needed to put on the show, and to focus on educating and advocating for exhibitors. Less than a year ago, TSEA took TS2's show management away from NTP in order to do the job in-house, except for marketing, which NTP was to handle. TSEA will continue to provide educational content for the TS2, Bandy says.