Exhibitors up the ante in Vegas

Friday, April 30, 2004

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - For many at Medtrade Spring in March it was déjà vu. The towering displays and swelling crowds at the Las Vegas Convention Center felt more like the bigger fall version of the show than ever before.
Drive Medical had the largest booth at Medtrade Spring with 1,500 square feet

Impressions were mixed about whether the “intimate” atmosphere of Medtrade Spring was withering, but the numbers, which showed a 13% increase in attendance over last year, don’t lie.

Providers and health care professionals meandering through the exhibition hall totaled 4,200, according to a Medtrade spokesperson. Throw in the manufactures and conference speakers and the figure jumps to 7,000.

“We don’t have a strategy in mind for what the size of the show should be,” said Zuzette Estevez, Medtrade’s show director. “We don’t have the goal in mind that it is supposed to look like the fall show.”

Exhibitors may be feeling the pressure to up the ante, however. Early booth sales for next year show another increase in floor space. This year the overall space grew more than 10,000 square feet, from 71,700 square feet to 82,260 square feet, Estevez said.

“We have exhibitors saying that the quality of their leads were very, very high and that justifies their reasons for doubling their space,” said Estevez.

“We see that West Coast show becoming more and more important,” said Doug Francis, Drive’s executive vice president. “While it is not as big as the east, it is growing and it is important for us to have a similar kind of presence out there.”

Drive Medical/Dr. K had the largest booth at Medtrade Spring with 1,500-sq. ft.; but that is easily trumped by the Drive’s 5,200-square-foot piece of real estate at last year’s Medtrade in Atlanta.

“We try to display as much product as possible in the booth while at the same time trying to have a space where people can come in, sit down, relax and get to know us,” said Francis. “With the west show we couldn’t take enough space to get that all into one booth. We were really jammed, so we look to expand next year by taking an even bigger space.

Despite the booming growth, Medtrade officials said they still believe the show’s smaller image and more intimate atmosphere is a welcome contrast to the bustle of the fall show. .