I mark Communications cancelled three tech shows planned for the days after September 11. Within a few weeks, the events had new dates in October and expected about 90 percent participation from the original exhibitors. How did Imark keep its show floor intact? Innovative thinking and a bunch of cash.
According to Executive Vice President and COO Brad Jersey, Imark is spending $200,000 to $250,000 to pay the facility and decorator bills for exhibitors who stay with The Massachusetts Technology Showcase, a first-time event that had been planned for September 12-13 at the Boston World Trade Center and was rescheduled for October 11-12, as well as the Illinois Technology Showcase and ProjectWorld Chicago, co-located at McCormick Place. Those shows moved from September 12-13 to October 18-19.
Imark has offered to pay its exhibitors' costs for setup, carpeting, labor, electrical lines, and other facility expenses during the rescheduled shows. Exhibitors will still need to cover decorator bills related to the original show dates, as well as shipping their booths, canceled flights and hotel rooms, and other costs.
Nevertheless, the company's gesture seems to have had the intended effect: Jersey says colleagues told him to expect, at best, only 75 percent of his exhibitors to rebook. Ninety percent feels like a home run.