Chicago — More than 10,000 buyers registered to attend the Motivation Show Sept. 26-28, including exhibitors and other non-buyer registrants, and show attendance inched just over the 12,000 mark, according to show organizer Hall-Erickson.
"The attendee numbers we've generated held steady compared to last year," said show spokesperson Wayne Dunham. "We're most excited about the travel side. Of the attendees, more than 5,000 registered for IT&ME, the show's travel arm. I think the strong showing on the travel side indicates that companies are open to traveling again."
An estimated one-third of attendees were new this year. Many were drawn to the educational opportunities offered by 15 sponsors representing the meetings, incentive, marketing, and human resources industries. The Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) sponsored 10 seminars this year — in 2005, the association sponsored just two. Meeting Professionals International (MPI) offered six seminars, in a track entitled "Meeting & Training Tactics."
MPI also sponsored the Meetings Industry Luncheon in the Grand Ballroom of McCormick Place South that featured Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com, as keynote speaker. The event drew several hundred MPI members. "The participation of MPI through events like the luncheon and SITE's increased sponsorship of seminars was extremely helpful in drawing those segments of our audience to the show," said Dunham.
Another partnership that exhibited growth was the Association Lounge Program. Launched in 2004 in an effort to attract high-level incentive buyers, the program has grown to more than 1,500 participants at this year's show representing companies such as Maritz Travel, HelmsBriscoe, Carlson Marketing, and Marketing Innovators.
The program helps attendees from qualifying companies be more productive by providing business services, a private lounge, as well as specialty seminars. "Everyone who participated was a very sophisticated buyer, so it was a great group to have," said Dunham. "Any one of these people could be buying for a half-dozen or more companies."
Reflecting an increasing movement toward integrated marketing, the Motivation Show added a number of new alliances with the marketing industry this year. Most noteworthy is its partnership with the 200-exhibitor In-Store Marketing Institute. The institute co-located its two-day event, "In-Store Marketing Expo," with the Motivation Show. Combined, the two shows operated under the umbrella name "Marketing Days."
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