Pack Expo Las Vegas
Producer/Owner: Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute
What: Trade show held in Las Vegas every other year to connect buyers and sellers in the packaging and processing supply chain
Where: Las Vegas Convention Center
Date 2013: Sept. 23-25
Date 2011: Sept. 26-28
2011 floor space: 627,853 sq. ft.
2009 floor space: 521,147 sq. ft.
No. of attendees, 2011: 26,084
No. of attendees, 2009: 22,721
No. of exhibitors, 2011: 1,559
No. of exhibitors, 2009: 1,140
Producer comment: “We spent a lot of money this year,” said Jim Pittas, VP-trade shows at PMMI. “We're in a competitive industry, and we tried a ton of new things to see what would work.”
Exhibitor comment: “The show is a relationship activity for us,” said Bill Crist, chairman-CEO of Kliklok-Woodman. “It's about high-quality attendance and the ability to network. We are able to connect with executives from our [existing customer base] that can otherwise be difficult to get in touch with.”
Breakdown: Pack Expo broke records this year, reporting double-digit attendee, exhibitor and floor space increases. The growth strategy centers on the understanding that the vast bustle of the trade show floor can be both the best and worst feature of the event, Pittas said. The association has focused on cultivating a comprehensive environment and then carving out a categorical definition that makes it easier for attendees and exhibitors to connect on a crowded floor. An expansion to include the processing industry attributed about 20% of the growth seen this year, he said. PMMI increased attendee promotions through traditional channels and also increased global outreach, a move that helped international attendance jump more than 30%.
The association invested $1 million in experimental strategies that included the engagement of former Secretary of State Colin Powell as the event's inaugural marquee speaker, as well as the development of three vertically focused face-to-face and online lounges. Attendees could visit niche lounges on the show floor to network, attend category-specific lectures and register for access to vertically focused digital communities. Those communities, launched at the event, will provide a year-round online extension. Pittas reported success on all three fronts and said PMMI will expand the number of verticals served next year. —C.W.