Following announcements that two major trade shows were pulling out of the Windy City in 2012, Chicago's trade show and government leaders announced the formation of a task force to review the city's convention business practices.
Task force members include officials from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, labor leaders, show contractors and hospitality industry leaders, along with representatives from the offices of Illinois' Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Taking their exhibitions elsewhere are the Society of the Plastics Industry, which is moving its NPE-The International Plastics Showcase to Orlando's Orange County Convention Center beginning in 2012, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual convention, which will meet at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas in 2012.
Both organizations cited Chicago's high costs for exhibitors as the primary justification for their actions. Their announcements were backed by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association, which released a statement praising them "for finally taking a stand on behalf of exhibitors. There is long way to go until they are afforded the respect they deserve."
In reaction to the pullouts, Juan Ochoa, CEO of the MPEA, said, "We will look to revise our business model to determine how Chicago can be more competitive against other convention cities that have an advantage over us because their financial structure allows them to lower their cost and undercut Chicago pricing."
When contacted by M&C, a spokesperson for the MPEA said, "The task force was formed to address several matters but did, at least in part, grow out of a response to the loss of the two recent shows."