Following our successful ballroom transformation for Qualcomm at CES 2020 we were struck by the number of show floor exhibitors telling us that they were contemplating a shift for next year. Here’s a summary of considerations that might focus that debate:
Why are you at the show, and who are you trying to influence?
It’s an obvious question but when you understand the needs and preferences of the people you’re trying to inform the most appropriate venue(s) will reveal itself. If it’s Consumers or End Users then competing side by side with competitors makes sense but for corporate customers or Executive meetings, there’s no shortage of appeal (and calm) away from clamour of the show floor.
Signs of success: PR or Productivity
Over the past 7 years we’ve been creating meeting rooms in booths at CES. But whether it’s front of house, back of house, on a deck or out in the Plaza, there is a limit to the amount of noise that you cancel. So, The Qualcomm venue at The Wynn was a comparative sanctuary, even when at capacity. And any fears ‘that they might not come’ were quickly replaced with ‘what if they don’t leave’. Couple the calm with a chaos-free path to the venue it’s not entirely surprising that the feedback was that the meetings were more productive
I need PR AND Productivity
Who doesn’t want it all? And there are a variety of possibilities to explore that include multiple locations both on and off the trade show floor either at the same or more than one location. There was a noticeable increase in the volume and scale of investment in the meeting rooms on the upper floors at the Convention Center as well as some of the satellite venues. Of course, next year the new West Hall will open at the LVCC and in turn more capacity and opportunity will be available.
Getting practical with design and production
The absence of a show manual created some challenges along the way. Much of the initial design challenge was to establish how to hide the façade of a fully functioning ballroom with its gawdy décor and carpet to translate it into a branded, tech forward environment. But there are practical challenges too like rules in respect of closed meeting room spaces, connecting closed meeting rooms into the hotel’s main fire alarm system (for a ‘small fee’) and not being allowed to create wood chippings within a 3 mile radius of a ballroom carpet are all useful notes.
You may save money
But equally, you may not, since contrary to perception, moving away from the show floor may not equate to investing less, particularly on a $/sq ft basis. So, a clear evaluation and articulation of what you’re trying to achieve is a critical building block for success to establish the relative value you’re hoping and expecting to achieve.
So much to think about. If you’d like some insights and ideas to assist your planning process then let’s get started.