Photo credit: International Association of Exhibitions and Events

Suppliers are lured to IAEE Expo! Expo! by the opportunities to do business with existing clients and to establish new partnerships. Much of the action takes place on the trade show floor and during social gatherings.

“Getting just one good introduction or contract accomplishes my goal if I can book something because of it,” says Greg DeSandy, director of sales and event services at Cobo Center Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority.

Lo and behold, he accomplished the goal during his first appointment: It resulted in a signed contract and deposit check.

Tim Litterland, CMP, director of sports and specialty markets for Visit Denver, looks forward to the personal aspect of the show.

“I like having the face-to-face time with customers,” he says. “This is an important show to us.”

A closer look reveals that suppliers also see Expo! Expo! as a chance to accomplish many other things, such as learning about current trends and other ways to do business.

Anna Lillemoen, sales manager at Myrtle Beach Convention Center, views the show as an opportunity to pick up ideas for sound environmental practices.

“We want to see what trends are out there,” she says.

Second- and third-tier destinations see the show as a chance to emphasize their offerings and thereby become a more visible option for planners.

“Sacramento is reinventing itself,” says Matthew Voreyer, general manager of the City of Sacramento. “We’ve been expanding our exhibition staff, have a new arena and will be upgrading our convention center. We want to tell people about them.”

Many up-and-coming destinations are in the same situation Nashville was in just a short time ago.

“We had a lot of collaboration throughout the city,” says Proscovia Mattas, CGMP, CEM. “We have a great location and culture, including bars, restaurants and music. And the hospitality community is amazing. Everybody worked together.

“We promise, and then we deliver.”