Déjà Vu at the Convention Center
We have a small industry with few players. And yet we have four dedicated shows every year, and several more ancillary ones.
There’s CEDIA EXPO in September. The new CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles EXPO in April. EH Expo in November and March.
Plus CES and InfoComm.
Do we really need so many shows?
The simple answer is, “As long as there are attendees, the shows make sense.”
But for whom do they make sense?
Here are all of the players: trade show organizers, educators, exhibitors and attendees. Let’s see how they all benefit.
Trade show organizers do these shows to make money. For CEDIA, the September EXPO is its single largest money-maker of the year. Income from exhibitors is over $5 million. Attendees contribute another $1.6 million. Compare this to CEDIA’s income from dues, which, at $1.9 million, doesn’t begin to cover the $3.5 million in administration expenses the organization incurs every year. Without EXPO, CEDIA could not afford to exist—which answers the question, “Why another show in April?”
Trade shows are big business. They help earn millions for their organizers. And it’s in each organizer’s best interest to promote these shows to exhibitors, because that’s where the money comes from. Here’s the best proof: EH Expo is a for-profit trade show, so it’s clear that its organizers feel two shows per year is good business.
Educators do these shows as a form of self-promotion. Most trade shows have an education component, and most of the educators are minimally compensated volunteers from the industry. They operate under a loose rein and have great leeway in their curricula. It’s fair to say that oversight is minimal, which is attractive to these educators, many of whom have a secondary business agenda. By no means am I disparaging educators (having been one myself); I’m just pointing out that educators freely volunteer their time precisely because they are given freedoms in the classroom that allow self-promotion.