This Just In
  • Messe Frankfurt acquired the Thailand Lighting Fair and Thailand Building Fair. Messe has been with the shows since they launched in 2015.
  • JW Marriott will open the 4,000-room Drew Las Vegas in 2020 at the site of the stalled Fontainebleau hotel project on Las Vegas Blvd.
  • Denver OK’d contracts for a $233-million expansion featuring an 80,000-sf rooftop ballroom and terrace at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • The latest numbers rank NAMM’s 2018 show the largest in its 117-year history with more than 115,000 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.
  • The deadline for nominations for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers Awards has been extended to March 16. Got to TSE Events for info.
  • International Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions President and CEO Paul Noland has resigned. CFO Hal McEvoy steps in temporarily.
  • The Aria Resort & Casino $170-million expansion in Las Vegas adds 200,000 sf of flex meeting space, raising total space to 500,000 sf.
  • Gary Musich announced his retirement as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC effective March 2 after 25 years representing Atlantic City.
  • The San Diego Convention Center named ON Site, a GES company, its exclusive sound and rigging vendor and preferred audio visual provider.
  • Board members of UK-based UBM have accepted an offer from Informa for a reported 3.8 billion pounds ($5.3 billion).

Cleveland’s I-X Center Loosens Grip on Trade Show Contractors

Sandi Cain
, News Editor
January 29, 2018
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Cleveland — The International Exposition (I-X) Center near Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is among the Top 10 convention centers in the U.S. in terms of space with 1,050,000 square feet of prime exhibit space, 51,900 square feet of meeting space and 26 breakout rooms along with an onsite full-serve decorating department. Yet it has sometimes struggled to land trade shows due to its exclusive work rules that prevented shows from using their own contractors. 

Starting in 2018, that restriction has been removed and the I-X Center will allow show organizers to use their own general contractors to set up a show. 

“We’ve talked about this for years,” said Travis Poppell, Director of Sales, “and have come to the conclusion that restrictions about contractors limited our business opportunities.” 

Now the former exclusive, onsite decorating department will become an adjunct of sorts to support whatever general contractor a show brings along. 

“The business model has changed with trade shows,” Poppell said. “Some shows have long-term contracts with certain contractors in different cities,” he said. Up until now, the I-X Center often lost potential business when organizers learned they couldn’t use their usual contractor, he added. 

What’s more, because the I-X Center had a full-service department of its own, those supplies and services now will be available to rent onsite for organizers who prefer to do that instead of trucking all their supplies in. Poppell said the I-X Center also has a fully equipped sign shop and graphics department that will remain onsite to assist incoming shows as needed. “We still have the amenities of the service and equipment on property,” he said. 

Though using those services and supplies will now be a choice, not a mandate, some show producers have called it a “safety net” for last-minute changes or additional supplies. 

Claire Anter, Director of Marketing for the IX Center, said they will promote this new policy through digital means via a press release and ad drops targeting planners and trade shows. The I-X Center also is working with the Cleveland Visitors & Convention Bureau to get the word out about the major shift at the center.

Poppell said the I-X Center will heavily target the Midwest initially — particularly focusing on shows that need or want a change and those that are outgrowing their current facilities. “There’s a definite market out there,” he said.

Reach Travis Poppell at (216) 265-2673 or; Claire Anter at 

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