JD Events, the company behind Customer Engagement Technology World, has announced it will not be going ahead with a show this coming spring in Las Vegas, opting instead to be entirely focused on a single show each fall in New York.
The decision, said CETW show general manager Lawrence Dvorchik, was made prior to the fall show a couple of weeks ago. That show got beat up in a big way by Hurricane Sandy.
Dvorchik says the show was tracking at about 2,500 attendees (not including exhibitors or staff) just days before the start. But after Sandy swamped the city, actual attendance was more like 1,200. Some exhibitors pulled out, worried about logistics. Attendees bailed on it for a variety of reasons, from worries about getting flights or dry hotels to more regional logistical and transport challenges like flooded subways and tunnels.
The convention center itself took some water, but was dry by the time the show opened. Dvorchik said it was all very disheartening because of the way things were shaping up in both numbers and the quality of the speaker program.
He said they repackaged the floor to fill in any gaps and still – because New York has SO many brand, retail and agency people – moved a lot of people through. “To a person, the exhibitors who were there said they were busy for most of those two days.”
The on-floor lecture theaters, he added, had overflow crowds even on Day 2 in the afternoon, when most trade show floors start to empty out and vendors start surreptitiously packing up.
The decision to focus just on New York came simply because it was showing a lot of growth – 30%-plus annually in attendee/buyers – and it made the most business sense to spend the time investing in and really growing one that didn’t fight for attention and dollars with other tech-focused trade shows out west in late winter and spring.
“As we continue to focus on providing the most valuable face-to-face experience that we can for our attendees, it is critical that we concentrate on and understand how they prefer to engage with customers, service providers and other industry professionals,” said Dvorchik in a press release. “With continued year-over-year growth in registrants, our attendees have demonstrated a clear preference for CETW to be held annually in the fall. We believe that we owe it to the thousands of brand marketers, agencies, digital-out-of-home networks, integrators and resellers that have made CETW their preferred destination to take action based on their needs.”
“Logically, it made the most sense to build up the New York show and spend a soliud 12 months on it,” added Dvorchik in a phone chat. He was torn because he started and ran a Vegas show for some 15 years, when it was known as Kioskcom.
The next show is November 6-7, 2013 in New York.
This is smart and maybe inevitable. There’s a lot of shows in the spring and no matter the perspective you may have on whether CETW was a digital signage or in-store digital show – or aiming much more at the whole omni-channel thing that’s rapidly emerging – it’s hard to get travel budgets and marketing dollars for multiple events that are close in timing.
The fall show, on the other hand, stands nicely on its own. While there are several things happening in the same week in October in New York, that’s mostly about the sputtering digital place-based business – which CETW really isn’t about.
I would have gone this year were it not for a client commitment, and hopefully the decks will be clear next November and hurricanes really are a one in 100 year thing in that region.