Sunday, April 22, 2018
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Archive >  October 2007 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

Twin Shows a Success, But at What Cost?
Walter Salm, Editor
When the wheels of the Embraer Brasilia touched down at Chico Municipal Airport, I heaved a big sigh of relief; I was finally home and Manufacturing Week/IPC Midwest were history. We were already making plans for next year's double-show coverage. Along the way, I managed to forget my raincoat in a store at San Francisco International Airport, which I was able to retrieve on the return trip (I am definitely not getting forgetful in my old age).

One of the things I found I personally will need is a better map or just a better understanding of the shortest and easiest way between our hotel and the Schaumburg Renaissance. I made a career out of getting lost, and my rental car did not have a GPS Navigation system. We also discovered that the mere eight miles of separation between Schaumburg and Rosemont might as well have been 80 miles; extremely heavy traffic made commuting between the two venues totally impractical. Idea for some entrepreneur: a helicopter shuttle service between the two might be a good money-maker, if you can find some place to set the bird down in Rosemont.

How successful was this new venture? Some electronics exhibitors had booths at both shows — an extremely costly operation — because they (1)couldn't get a refund for money already paid to Canon Communications for the Rosemont show, and (2)couldn't afford to miss customers attending IPC Midwest. Others had a booth at ATE only, again because they couldn't get a refund. The result was that no one was really ecstatic about the split venue, but kind of went along with the flow as best they could, muttering the old Brooklyn Dodgers' lament: "Wait 'til next year."

Exhibitors at the Renaissance were largely understanding about the relatively small turnout; the show was brand new; a number of exhibitors were missing because they were still stuck in Rosemont. But the general opinion that I heard repeated time and again was: "It's far better to have 10 people stop at the booth who know what they're looking at, than to have to explain what it is that we do to 1,000 visitors from other industries. Those 1,000 people are not my customers."

Aisles at the Renaissance were extra-wide, which made the show look even less crowded — a condition that will not prevail next year, according to IPC show management. They feel that they will have enough room to accommodate more exhibitors by using a layout with narrower aisles and the left-over space behind the curtains. The venue itself is very pleasant, but I shudder at the thought of it becoming too crowded with too much success. The hotel does have a ballroom which might be pressed into service for overflow exhibitors if needed.

One other thing: cell phones simply stopped working when you walked through the doors at the Renaissance. Complaints were made to the hotel, and hopefully that situation will be corrected by a few well-placed repeaters before next September. The hotel is beautiful and has lots of free parking with quick and easy access. Now if they can just fix that cell phone problem.  

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