Trade Show Managers Blast McCormick Place
As a printer, with your own business survival at stake in these tough times, perhaps you don't care how much it costs exhibitors to participate in our industry's most important annual event. But you should—and much more so than that outrageous price you might have paid for a lousy hot dog and a soda while taking a break from walking the show floor.
Higher trade show expenditures directly impact industry suppliers' bottom lines, which ultimately get passed along to consumers (you) in several ways: higher capital equipment and software prices and less money available for sales and service support staffing, let alone funding for R&D initiatives.
To boost PRINT 09, the GASC created a financial relief package totaling more than $3 million in credits for exhibitors. This covered heavy equipment material handling costs after the machinery arrived at the McCormick Place dock, and provided similar savings for those exhibitors that did not display equipment. A noble effort during unprecedented economic times, but perhaps still not enough for an exhibitor the size of Heidelberg USA when tallying the total cost of bringing heavy iron and support staff to man a large booth during a show. Let alone the costs for booth construction and design, and the T&E expenses for airplane tickets, hotel rooms and customer dinners.
Some may recall the heady days when the GASC held Graph Expo East in New York, then Philadelphia, as well as a West Coast edition in Los Angeles. Exhibitor demand resulted in the status quo of a single, annual event in a geographically central location. Unlike some other shows that could easily move from McCormick Place to another venue, Chicago really is the most logical city to host our primary printing industry show, especially given the large number of printing establishments based in the surrounding area. Move to another region to potentially lower costs for exhibitors, but then face the reality of reduced show floor traffic with less Midwestern printers coming to the show.