June 09, 2007
Eating on Floors, Overflowing Garbage... Just Another Javits Event
No, not the "exhibit" floor. The actual floor. Because there weren't enough tables.
There were so many people eating lunch next to the very lame cafe at the Javits Center that we were forced to eat on the floor.
There's a lot of floor. In fact, there's enough floor for at least 1,000 more chairs and tables.
You can't see the overflowing garbage can next to us, or the ketchup smeared on the floor.
Yeah, why is that again?
Having done some speaking at local not-for-profit events, it seems there's always too much food and too many seats. Then again, the hallmark of most large show producers has been to concentrate on exhibitors at the expense of attendees since that's where the real money is... seems that still hasn't changed.
Speaking of which, seeing as how Seth is an author and Reed is listening and caring about what authors say... obviously Reed can change this. Right?
May 16, 2006
Nat'l Restaurant Show Mulling Las Vegas, Forces Changes in McCormick Riggers' Work Rules
As we were saying... Las Vegas can't have everything. But apparently they won't stop trying to get everything. At the minimum they seem to be happy to play the foil for shows looking to use Vegas as leverage to get out of existing agreements.
Which is exactly what the National Restaurant Association appears to be doing. The NRA has threatened to leave Chicago - the show's home for the past 56 years - to go to Las Vegas, a wannabe restaurant town where numerous celebrity chefs have sattelite locations in the city's many casinos (but virtually no standalone restaurants merit a whiff of attention).
The NRA folks wanted new labor rules concerning the number of workers needed to perform certain tasks. It appears they got those breaks with the new contract negotiated with between McCormick Place and the Riggers union.
The contract only affects the riggers union, not the other four unions with convention center workers. It does not address jurisdiction among them.
But Ms. Davis said she hoped it will set a precedent when the decorators union contract expires June 30 and the Teamsters and carpenters unions’ contracts expire in 2008.
The contract follows an agreement announced a year ago that created a Labor Management Council to mediate disputes among exhibitors, McCormick Place officials and unions.
Elements of the contract that could cut costs include:
- Lowering the wage scale on Saturdays from double time to time and a half. Work on Sunday will still be counted at double time.
- Straight time for crews that start work at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. on weekdays. The status quo was shifts beginning only early in the morning.
- Formalizing two-person work crews for most jobs, a standard first established unofficially a year ago, said Eric Dean, administrator of Local 136. Equipment with capacities heavier than 15,000 pounds will still require three-person crews, Ms. Davis said.
- A “call by name” provision that allows contractors or exhibitors to ask for specific workers instead of being forced to take whoever the union sends them.
They are also looking for breaks from hotels and marketing support, which they have not yet received, so leaving remains a possibility.
The article also suggests Chicago lags behind other cities in providing marketing support. We have yet to see any city truly assist in delivering measureable attendee marketing. Have you? If so, let us know some examples.
October 31, 2005
The power of brand + the power of will + the power of being Sheldon Adelson = one of the more successful pre-launch event schedules of any hotel we're aware of.
Paul Woodward of Asia Business Media reports that the Venetian Macau, which isn't scheduled to open until 2007, has already pre-booked 20 events. These 20 events are across almost as many different industries and produced by almost as many different show organizers.
Paul says Sheldon Adelson, the $800 million man, was personally involved in sales calls to acquire this business. Granted selling the Venetian brand should be relatively easy, but selling Macau as a venue over Hong Kong or Mainland China or even Singapore had to be a bit tricky.
Sure, Macau is "Asia's Las Vegas", but it's still unfamiliar territory for most organizers, not to mention potentially iffy as to its ability to attract Mainland China buyers for, er, business purposes.
August 03, 2005
Pretty nifty content on there. Like did you know there's a hotel in Balzano, Italy that not only provides guests with free internet access but also a free laptop to use?
We all do a lot of traveling in this industry. Seems Hotel Chatter would be a great place to add to the usual travel sites you're using.
I'm really surprised I hadn't see this one before (or its sister site Jaunted). So in case you work for a hotel and this is the first time you've seen it, better check to see if you're mentioned!
July 20, 2005
Las Vegas Furniture Mart Set to Open
Now it's finally ready to go. 70,000 are expected for the debut of the new World Market Center. Which, not so coincidentally, is opening at the same time that Association of Woodworking and Furniture Suppliers Expo is in town.
It's a boost for Vegas during a "dead" time, if there is one. Officials report that June, July and December are the only months they don't book 300,000 rooms. The World Market Center opening should eliminate July from that list.
Still, some hoteliers are skeptical of the overall positive revenue impact. My favorite quote from the article:
"The wild card is, `Will this turn into another Comdex in terms of gaming revenue? Will these folks be so busy doing their business that they'll disappear from the casinos for 12 to 15 hours a day?' " (Golden Nugget VP Marketing Dan) Shumny said, citing attendees of the long-running technology show's reputed lack of interest in anything but computers and topless dancers.
In related news, it was 117 degrees in Las Vegas yesterday. It cooled to 113 today.
June 27, 2005
Wake-Up Call: Bandwidth Will Be More Important than Venue
Here it is: Scalable, ubiquitous wireless bandwidth is a short-term opportunity for hotels and convention centers in second and third-tier cities to attract more events.
And it probably doesn't have to cost anything.
If you take a look at Gnomedex or Tim's upcoming Portable Media Expo , or hundreds of conferences-to-be on blogging, RSS, vertical wireless applications (medical, educational, etc.), social networks and whatnot - these are events that could easily be hosted in smaller cities (and hey, come to Pittsburgh while you're thinking of it!).
These types of events typically run from 300-2000 people. And ALL of them are online all the time during the event. So wireless needs to be everywhere, not just in some lobby or a couple of meeting rooms. Everywhere. And it needs to be fast. Lots and lots of available bandwidth ready on a moment's notice.
I would guess that given the choice between ensuring that every attendee and speaker would be able to get online (at DSL speeds or better) whenever and wherever they were in your facility vs. risking network breakdowns and unhappy customers, the organizers would certainly choose the former.
Even more, they'd likely be willing to hike their prices by $20/$25 a head to ensure connectivity. And attendees would gladly pay it. Attendees wouldn't even have to know about it.
Say you get six of these types of events, one every other month. Say they average 400 attendees. That's 2,400 attendees at $20 per, or $48,000. You can buy yourself a couple of T1s for that. Over three year's you're well into six figure territory... heck, why not splurge for a T3?
Caveat: By 2008, if things go as planned, devices compatible with the 802.16e WiMAX standard should be available and gain rapid acceptance (assuming IEEE, Intel and other standards bodies are correct). But as with everything else related to technological advances, this will likely hit major metro areas first, then trickle down.
So there's a three-to-five year window here to make some money in second and third-tier cities.
Tim... am I wrong about this?
Building on the idea: This morning, David Shaw of B or not 2B adds:
That also goes for cell repeaters. And power stations (why not charge a little money to allow people to power up their batteries in a secure environment--kind of like a coat check for cellphones, PDAs and laptops?) It was amazing to me how many dead spots McCormick Lakeside Center has. And how few places you could find a standard plug for a quick power up. Venue owners need to think like their customers' customers.
June 26, 2005
A Message to Convention Centers & Hotels: Pump Up the Bandwidth Please
I know a number of TSMR readers are folks from hotels and convention centers, so I'm passing this message along as a public service...
When a show organizer says they need A LOT OF BANDWIDTH, take them at their word.
Which is a problem when every single session depends on online access. And every single attendee is online every single waking minute of every day at the conference.
This happened despite giving the venue tons of warnings that they needed A LOT OF BANDWIDTH. The venue just didn't believe it, it seems.
Tim is legitimately concerned that his own Portable Media Expo will have the same issues with access. Issues that could be very harmful to a first-year event.
So please believe Tim - and other organizers of tech events where all attendees and speakers require online access - cough up the bandwidth. Get a supplier who can deliver.
And remember that in an increasing number of cases, the access to bandwidth is more important than the venue itself.
June 14, 2005
Just Curious - A China Q
When you're in China running an event, can you access your site, your back-end CMS (or other) apps and/or your email?
I've never been over there, but many of you have meetings in China regularly. With the new government clampdowns on internet usage, I was wondering how you cope/plan on coping.
April 01, 2005
San Jose Approves $6 Million Tent for eBay
San Jose officials have cleared the way for a $6 million tent to be built in time for eBay's convention in June.
The eBay event is expected to draw 10,000 people to San Jose.
I'm scratching my head on this one. The SJ Convention Center can hold a pretty good sized event. Before moving to LA, Internet World used to use the SJ convention center for several years and drew more than 30,000 people without employing a multi-million dollar tent. That's 3x more than what eBay is projecting.
One word of advice to eBay - bring lots of air conditioners and fans. June in San Jose can get nasty. The one year Internet World had outside exhibits the temperatures spiked to more than 100 degrees. One poor guy who was being paid to wear a gorilla suit througout the show gave up and quit from heat exhaustion.
March 24, 2005
Paging Dr. Fever
The Pittsburgh CVB just hired a new communications director on Monday. Wasn't me, although I was interested (just in case).
I mention that in the context that Pittsburgh's doing OK for bookings when compared to similar cities. Like Cincinnati, which just laid off 1/3 of their employees.
From EXPO Magazine:
Part of the savings, $125,000, will be set aside to form an incentives fund the bureau can use to lure events to Cincinnati. The city has never set aside funds to cover perks such as free convention center rent or complimentary shuttle buses.
The rest of the funds will be used to create a separate tourism entity in cooperation with Northern Kentucky. They'll pool resources to pay for advertising and marketing that promote the region as a whole.
Can you really do much with $125,000? That's like tip money in Chicago ;-)
But the idea of getting together with Northern Kentucky sounds pretty smart. Northern Kentucky has some great marketing and considering it's Northern Kentucky (go ahead, name a town there other than Covington off the top of your head) they do a remarkable job of bringing in events.
Before it became known as the "Queen City" or "River City", Cincinnati used to be known as Porkopolis. With the CVB cutting to the bone, looks like that name is out for good.