We just returned from KBIS and found the discussions of shows and show costs interesting. Several cabinet companies have decided that the overall cost of exhibiting at the show was excessive for the return on their dollar. Instead of exhibiting, the companies used the KBIS Show to set up meetings with their dealers, vendors and prospects.
One quote I heard was that the KBIS show was great for "doing business" but too expensive to exhibit in.
OnPoint Sales had a similar experience. We did not have any vendors exhibiting, but we had several on the show floor. It was so busy with scheduled meetings that the OnPoint team just found a quiet corner and met with everyone in stages at the same spot throughout the day. We ended up standing in that spot for 3 hours.
What does this mean for companies that want to sell to the KBIS attendees and yet can't or won't afford a booth? My eyes viewed a lot of packed booths on Wednesday afternoon, so the attendees were there.
The key to future shows will be lowering costs and finding new ways to make it more financially feasible for exhibitors to attend. New thinking is needed to draw more exhibitors in. My out -of -the -box thinking says that the shows could set up "meeting booths" at a lower cost. These booths would be open for exhibitors to rent part time during the show, so that the attendees and the exhibitors could have their meetings in comfortable surroundings instead of the hallway and aisles. Put the booths on the end aisles, and if the shows plan it right, they may be able to make a little extra money moving small exhibitor display goods in the meeting booths for short times during the show. The goal would be to keep the attendees in the center of the action on the show floor.
KBIS, GlobalShop, IWF, and others all face this dilemma. The amount of money, personnel, time and travel cost prohibits a lot of potential exhibitors from setting up booths, yet they all attend. Newer, lower cost ideas need to be created to draw them in and to keep them on the show floor instead of in the upstairs meeting rooms or surrounding hotels.
I will go back in my box now.