It is Worth the Cost to Exhibit at these Shows

I don’t know if you understand what it costs to exhibit at shows like the IPI, NPA, and PIE but its a lot. Let me give you some scale:

For our booth, the real  estate, what we pay the IPI, is about $3000. I don’t begrudge them a penny. I know what putting on these events cost.  But that’s only the beginning.  Then we have $2000 for inbound shipping (from the loading dock to our booth) and two chairs, a table, and the carpet.  Then you can add about $1500 for the display. But we aren’t finished yet.  We bring 3 people at a cost of $1000 each for air fare, hotels, and perdiem. That’s $11,000 for about 11 hours of show time. Yes, $1000 and hour. And we are small potatoes.

Consider one of the big revenue control companies with the two story booths covering 1200 square feet. They bring 20 to 30 personnel, and the cost to get their booth from the loading dock exceeds the budget of some small countries. I’ve seen show budgets that exceed $200,000.

These numbers boggle the mind.  My question is whether or not they actually get value received.  If we believe my friend in the last blog post, they miss sales that simply walk by.

I”m told that the investment is often in current customers. The huge booth and after parties give companies a chance to meet existing customers and thank them for their custom. Fair enough. As long as you know that’s what you are doing. I sometimes wonder, however, if a visit, every couple of years, by a CEO accompanied by the local salesman, with a nice dinner where issues could be discussed, might do more. But then what do I know.

These are successful companies, investing their profits where they feel it will do the most good. More power to them. It does mean that the parking industry is beginning to mature. It can mount a trade event that rivals the big shows in Vegas and Europe. That means something. I guess.

It seems to me that their must be a happy medium between doing nothing, and spending upwards of a quarter of a million on a trade show. I guess I don’t know what that is.


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One Response to It is Worth the Cost to Exhibit at these Shows

  1. Greg says:

    I have been active in the parking industry for over 36 years. During my tenure I have asked the same question. Why can’t all three organizations (IPI, NPA & PIE) “combine” their resources and have one “big” convention in Las Vegas, NV every year? Almost like the computer expo convention held in the same city once a year. The City can support the parking convention visitors, has ample convention space, easy airplane reservations, and is a very popular place to visit, etc. The vendors who pay premium dollars to exhibit their systems three (3) times a year can spend all their convention dollars on just one (1) annual event. Education classes can be combined, the professional interaction would be fantastic. But, it always comes down to how do we split the financial pie? Let’s give our vendors a break. Let’s re-open having one (1) convention a year, in Las Vegas and figure out a way for all parties to share in the financial pie.

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