Some high-profile players in a variety
of industries have scaled back participation in major trade shows
this year, sending a signal to show organizers that in tough
economic times, they no longer can take for granted the continuing
support of longtime exhibitors who are searching for more
cost-effective ways to reach customers.
The National Restaurant Association’s
Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show, held in May in Chicago, attracted a
record number of exhibitors, but two key former participants,
McCain Foods Ltd. and Perdue Farms Co., were not among them.
Others, including Tyson Foods Inc., opted to cut back on displays
to save money.
“We decided to eliminate the event this
year to help reduce our overall costs and minimize the price
increases we have to pass on to customers,” said a Perdue
The Entertainment Software Association
also has struggled to keep some industry heavyweights. Last year,
neither Sony nor Microsoft officially participated in the E3 Media
and Business Summit, held in Southern California. This year,
interactive entertainment giant Activision said it would not only
pull out of E3, but it would drop its ESA membership altogether
“for business reasons.”
Losing a key exhibitor is a “wake-up
call,” said Chris Brown, executive vice president, convention and
business operations for the National Association of Broadcasters,
which held its annual meeting in Las Vegas in April without
displays from major software firms Apple and Avid Technology Inc.
Brown noted that Apple still reserved meeting space in the
convention center and Avid held off-site functions, indicating that
the event remains an important forum for buyers and sellers. Brown
is hopeful that Avid, at least, will be back in the fold next