Going beyond ‘survival’

Medtrade 2019 strives to inspire hope and optimism for the HME industry
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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

While the unspoken theme for Medtrade has been “survival” over the past few years, show organizers want to inspire attendees and exhibitors to think in terms of business success at this year’s gathering, says Kevin Gaffney, vice president and group show director.

As people make their way to the Oct. 21-23 show at the Georgia World Congress Center, Gaffney said he wants them to be filled with optimism and hope about the industry’s future.

“Fear can be a motivator, but in the final analysis people are not going to spend time and money to come to Atlanta if they are scared,” he said. “Attendees will undoubtedly espouse a common theme centered around the idea that things can change and improve.”

The industry is still facing daunting challenges and Gaffney says show organizers aren’t discounting that. Still, session leaders are offering solutions to overcoming hardships and finding glimmers of positivity amid the headwinds, he said.

One of the largest product categories of interest for Medtrade attendees continues to be retail, and to highlight this trend, the show floor will feature a Retail Product Pavilion, a showcase of products attendees can sell for cash. The pavilion, sponsored by VGM Retail, will be set up similarly to the New Product Pavilion and attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite products.

One of the product lines expected to draw attention is cannabidiol, or CBD-based merchandise, which debuted at Medtrade Spring and earned a Providers’ Choice Gold Award for an Illinois company. Several CBD-related companies will be exhibiting at Medtrade.

Exhibitor registration is currently running 10% shy of budgeted floor space, but Gaffney says he expects to “comfortably meet our numbers by the time the show rolls around.” Attendee registration is tracking slightly ahead of last year, he said, which at this point is a positive sign.

“We may not put it on a banner, but the theme of hope is demonstrated by all who come to the show,” Gaffney said. “It’s an amazing vibe, and it’s one of many reasons that people keep coming back. This year we had an 11% year-over-year attendance jump at Medtrade Spring. If we intend to keep that momentum going at Medtrade, we all need to keep offering real value for attendees. We also need to keep up our own optimism and hope if we want attendees to feel that positive vibe.”