The State of the Trade Conference

By Deane Barker on May 18, 2009

The End of DocTrain Conferences: The Beginning of New Opportunities: Scott Abel discusses the apparent demise of trade conferences for the time being, in the context of a long-running series of conference he managed that has just folded.

The real way to understand the impact of the economy on trade show type events is to ask event service providers. One Los Angeles event services company manager summed it up this way: “2009 really sucks for us. Last year, our biggest event needed 340 booth pods for their expo hall; this year, the same event needed only 60 pods. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that we’re not going to be in business for long if this keeps up.”

[…] They are fun and provide cubicle-dwelling knowledge workers with something to look forward to—an escape, if you will, from the daily grind. The help us network with our peers in social settings. They help us grow as professionals—and, for those who seek the spotlight—as presenters. These benefits are difficult to duplicate outside of in-person conferences. Difficult, but not impossible.

I think conferences are a great tool for employee development and morale. It has value to get out and meet other people, see what they’re doing, etc. There are intangibles you get from a conference that you just don’t get otherwise.

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