He lists five areas of dealing with vendors and prospects where he's reached his wit's end:
- wireless internet
- "pay for play" (prospect's refusal to exhibit w/o a speaking opportunity)
- lack of control over how subcontractors treat customers
On first read, I think part of Tim's challenge on the cost issues is that his exhibitors are new school thinkers, possibly undercapitalized, and armed with deep and wide metrics from their online marketing activities - metrics difficult to duplicate with inexact media like tradeshows.
The experienced among us know that booth space is often only 20-25% of total exhibitor expense. But as show managers, we have to justify the other 75% too. Despite advances in data capture, our industry's metrics remain too inexact for many customers and prospects. For the show manager, there's simply no one spreadsheet factoid we can point at for a specific show and say, "This was your expense. This was your return. How can you say exhibiting at our show didn't work?"
That, plus, particularly with drayage, many of Tim's exhibitors may not be "used to" this type of extortion (or the soda example, which truly sucks), whereas in traditional and mainstream industries the person responsible for managing the logistics just plugs that number into a spreadsheet because they know it's coming. So it maybe the unanticipated surprise and shock as the actual figure.
I wanted to give Tim a wider audience for this post as it's a necessary discussion for our industry.
I'd write more about it, but I'm on my wife's Dell which has a broken space bar and uses XP, which I've all but forgotten how to deal with ;-)