This Just In
  • Tom Cindric joins Winsight as President, Exhibitions to oversee National Restaurant Show. Mary Pat Heftman now Vice Chairman of Winsight.
  • Emerald Expositions Events Inc. tapped former UBM exec, Sally Shankland, to serve as its President and CEO. Phil Evans continues as CFO.
  • The division of Informa PLC created by the combination of UBM and Informa has been renamed and rebranded as Informa Markets.
  • Trade Show Executive won three prestigious ASBPE “Azbee” Awards in Chicago. TSE is also a national finalist for Magazine of the Year Award.
  • Informa PLC launched Informa Ventures offering capital, access to markets, mentorship, and expertise to knowledge and information start-ups.
  • Freeman Vice Chair Carrie Freeman Parsons promoted to Chair replacing Don Freeman, who will become Chairman Emeritus in July.
  • Marketplace Events (MPE), producer of 66 consumer shows in North America, acquired the Arizona Bridal Shows from Townsquare Live Events LLC.
  • Nominations for 2019 Trailblazers Opens for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers program which recognizes the industry’s up-and-comers.
  • Informa Exhibitions reported a 6.7% jump in underlying revenues for 2018 even as it absorbed the blockbuster acquisition of UBM.

7 Key Takeaways from Fastest 50 Sessions

Danica Tormohlen
, Editor-at-Large
June 28, 2019
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The one-day program at the Fastest 50 Summit featured six sessions with an unbeatable line-up of speakers. Here are some of our favorite session quotes, as well as seven key takeaways. 

  1. The art of the brief and debrief. Anthony Bourke, an experienced F-16 fighter pilot, talked about his experience as one of the first pilots to fly over New York City in the homeland defense efforts on September 11th  and how it might apply to trade show management. “There’s a simple system for peak performance,” said Bourke, CEO & Founder of Mach 2 Consulting. “There are two tools that you can use as event organizers. The pre-mission briefing — where preparation stops and the execution starts — and the post-mission debriefing — where continuous improvement drives better results.” Briefings include six key elements: scenario, mission objectives, logistics, threats/intelligence, timing and tactics, and contingency planning.

  2. Selling B2B sponsorships in a B2C world. When it comes to sponsorship strategy and activation, Larry Settembrini, Vice President, Activations, Reed Exhibitions, said: “Provide a level of interactivity, allow for discovery and create an emotional connection.” For New York ComicCon, Settembrini and his team worked with Progressive Insurance to develop a unique sponsorship that included line protector-corns (think unicorns). “Waiting in line is part of the culture at New York ComicCon,” Settembrini explained. When attendees needed a break to get food or go to the bathroom, they could summon a Protector-Corn by tweeting #LineInsurance. Progressive sent a brand ambassador to save their spot. “It’s a myth that experiences need to cater to specific generations,” he said. “Data shows that event preferences largely align across generations. An enhanced model has appeal for multiple generations.”

  3. Leading with emotional intelligence. “Average IQ outperforms high IQ 70% of the time,” according to Executive Coach and former UBM Senior Vice President of Organizational Development Angela Scalpello. Why? Because they are using emotional intelligence, she said. “Good leaders today need to focus on emotional self-awareness and emotional self-control,” Scalpello said. “We see the world through our own lens. We need feedback from others.” Contextualize, don’t personalize, she advised. “Talk to someone who is not emotionally invested, and plan to learn from everyone you encounter.” The six ways to build your emotional self awareness: Stop judging your feelings and feel them; pay attention to your body and how it reacts; questions are your friends; learn who and what triggers you; look for feedback; and ask yourself: What can I do differently?”

  4. Using AI to improve the attendee experience. “I think AI is here to stay, and I would encourage everyone to think about what’s an appropriate way to put their toe in the water and start somewhere,” said Bill Reed, Chief Event Strategy Officer for the American Society of Hematology. “We implemented Alexa in 2017. We expanded it in 2018 to include a foreign language, given our international audience, and integrated a chatbot.” His goal: To improve the experience for customers by offering help throughout the convention center. “It would infeasible to have an array of people to do that, so we looked at how technology could help us. Could someone in a session with a question use the chatbot to get the answer so they don’t have to leave the session? We will expand our use this year by including the video component of Alexa so there will be a live body on the screen to help them.” Related: Power Lunch Bill Reed in the June issue of TSE.  

  5. Personalizing the attendee experience. How did JIS Exchange grow attendance by nearly 80% — from 3,800 attendees in 2017 to nearly 7,000 attendees in 2018? “We have program for top buyers where we provide personalized recommendations and content,” said Yancy Weinrich, Senior Vice President, Reed Exhibitions, “That has increased our top-line growth and our retention.” Reed’s attendee marketing team contacts key buyers in person or on the phone to determine what and whom they want to see at the show. “We offer bespoke and matchmaking tools to help them maximize their time at the show.” 

  6. Diverse programming to attract changing demographics. The Baseball Trade Show posted a significant growth rate in terms of attendance – from 2,400 in 2017 to more than 3,800 attendees in 2018. TSE Editor-At-Large Danica Tormohlen asked Eileen Sahin-Murphy, Manager, Event Partners & Trade Show Services, Minor League Baseball (MLB): “How were you able to grow attendance by 61.8% year over year?” The Baseball Trade Show added programming for women in baseball, as well as offered grants/scholarships for women in the industry, she said. “Previously, baseball management was predominantly made up of white males, but that’s changing, especially among the ranks,” Sahin-Murphy said. MLB hired a staff person to develop diversity and inclusion programming for management in various departments, such as tickets, promotions, food and beverage and retail, within each club.  “Las Vegas was a good draw for our attendees,” Sahin-Murphy said. “We typically rotate to five or six cities, and we hadn’t been to Las Vegas since 2008. The destination offers lots of hotel options at different price points, which positively impacted our numbers.”

  7. Sales data and tools for attendees. After producing a mega-show in Louisville, Ky, for more than 50 years, RV Industry Association (RVIA) re-launched its show as RVX in March in Salt Lake City. Liz Crawford, RVIA’s Senior Vice President, presented a case study about the association’s revamp. After extensive research by a brand and marketing agency, RVIA developed the RVX Sales Navigator, a sales tool that the show offered free to attendees. RVIA generated data for dealers to sell more RVs to new customers and to engage with the community in their local markets. Dealers could input their zip codes to get demographic data on local buyers and regional stats in nine different buyer categories. Related: Show Manager’s Playbook: The Big Reveal. TSE Exclusive: The scoop on why RVIA shuttered its Gold 100 show to launch a reimagined show.

 Reach Gabrielle Weiss at (312) 493-7753 or

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