Should Tour Operators Pay To Attend Trade Shows?

After attending a fairly successful IPW (International Pow Wow) in Las Vegas, there is a subject that should be addressed.  When I mentioned fairly successful, there was one small glitch in an otherwise great show…NO SHOWS!  Out of 30 appointments with international buyers, 7 did not show for their appointments.  Shocked that I am complaining about 7 small no shows with 23 great appointments?  First, these 7 no shows cost our company $2,450 dollars in time and attendance cost at $350 per appointment.  Second, these companies are located in Brazil, the one market I truly wanted to speak with especially since they generally travel over our normally slow time.  I would guess that the draw of the Vegas life was more appealing than taking appointments.  What makes this even worse is the fact that I as a supplier actually paid for them to be at this show!  How do you make people accountable?  You ask them to pay to attend the shows! As a supplier, there were many times that I would walk up to a booth for an appointment only to find the operator gone.  Sometimes there would be a note on the table and explaining that there was an emergency and they had to leave but more times than not, there would be no explanation why the booth was empty.  Sometime later when I walked by that same booth, the operator would be sitting there as if they were never gone.  Grr!!!  Other times I would sit down for the appointment and the operator would act as if they didn’t care one iota that I was there for an appointment or worse yet mention that they didn’t come to my area even though THEY asked for the appointment.  My guess would be if the operators had to pay a fee to be sitting at that booth, they would be a bit more receptive to their appointments and they would be sure that they were available for all appointments as it would cost them in time and money as well. I would be fine with paying to be at anyone of the shows that I attend for no fee. It goes back to the fact that we all need to work together to keep our businesses going and growing!  Hopefully, I can dodge the rotten tomatoes that may come my way when my fellow tour operators read this blog…  I’ll keep a towel handy!

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