The Oscars of Trade Shows

 · Carolyn Crabb

We’re heading off to Atlanta for SECO International. Last year, more than 7,000 optometrists, opticians, certified ophthalmic technicians and para-optometric professionals attended the show.

Since awards are on everyone’s lips today, I thought I’d spotlight some winners in the trade show world, excerpted from the 2011 Gold 100 Awards sponsored by Trade Show Executive magazine:

Largest Annual Trade Show: International Consumer Electronics Show
The International CES held on to the distinction as the largest trade show in the Gold 100 rankings for the fourth year in a row. The annual Las Vegas gadgetry extravaganza covered 1,442,000 net square feet in 2010, a particularly impressive performance considering the depths of the recession at that time. The venerable show also attracted a high level of media attention for its exhibitors.

Most Dramatic Growth: Specialty Graphic Imaging Show
The SGIA not only moved into the ranks of the Gold 100 for the first time at #93 but increased attendance by 54% to nearly 22,000.

Highest Economic Impact: Int’l Consumer Electronics Show
Las Vegas hosted 25 Gold 100 shows last year but CES and its 126,000 attendees generated the biggest jackpot of them all. Crunch the numbers and you get $119 million for the Las Vegas economy… and that doesn’t include what is dropped at the tables.

Best Use of Technology: NRA Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show
The NRA made great use of technology to connect everyone in the business. The show’s YouTube channel had 51,000 uploads and a real-time message board which kept attendees up to speed on what was being tweeted on Twitter. The show’s “Event Social” tool tied attendees to both the show and their social-media of choice.

Leader in Green Initiatives: Natural Products Expo/Supply Expo
In 2007, the Natural Products Expo East and West went all out with a top-to-bottom effort that made them the Leader in Green Initiatives — and they did it again in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Their tactics included everything from limiting the idle times of trucks at the loading docks to factoring in the distances that their suppliers had to travel. And just about everything that wasn’t nailed down was recycled.

Best Use of Social Media: MAGIC Marketplace
Retail fashion is a natural for social media with its worldwide audience, artistic flair and appeal to the youth market. Advanstar covered all the bases with 50 on-the-scene bloggers firing off dispatches to fashionistas around the world. There was also a micro-Web site connecting exhibitors and buyers; apps galore; and even a new take on the old-fashioned photo booth with pictures of attendees appearing on Facebook in real time.


If you’re attending SECO, please stop by Booth 939 and demo our Smart System 20/20!

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