Promotional products distributors and exhibitors traveled to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week for The PPAI Expo 2013, the industry’s largest and longest-running tradeshow.
If The Expo was any indication, 2013 will be a robust year for the promotional products industry, as the show drew strong audiences for the quality and value for which it has become known.
Darel Cook, PPAI director of Expositions and Meetings, shared his assessment on The Expo: “By all indications, the 2013 PPAI Expo was a huge success. Attendance numbers greatly improved over 2012. The general consensus from exhibitors was not only were there more distributors, the distributors also came to do business. Distributors came armed with programs to find products [for], and exhibitors reported an uptick in activity. The Expo continues to showcase the biggest, the most, and by far the best the industry has to offer. The Expo is indeed the show of the industry.”
The Expo brought together the industry’s largest collection of exhibitors with nearly 3,300 companies representing every facet of the promotional products field. And attendees from across the U.S. and abroad visited the tradeshow floor, took part in professional development sessions, attended special events and connected with friends and colleagues.
“This one is the show. Actually, if we had to choose one show, it would be this show. The quality of the customer is amazing. So many people come—Canada comes, the U.S. comes. It’s just an all-around great, great show,” says Shurli Allinott, president of Langley, British Columbia-based supplier Brandwear (UPIC: brndwear).
The product pavilions have always proven popular with Expo show-goers and exhibitors. This year there were four to choose from. The New Product Pavilion—featuring the latest and greatest the industry has to offer; the Green Products Pavilion—bringing together eco-conscious opportunities; the Made In The USA Pavilion—domestically manufactured products; and joining them this year, the Express Ship Pavilion, with products that can be shipped in 72 hours or less.
Orem, Utah, supplier Rustico (UPIC: Rustico) found considerable value in its participation in The Expo’s pavilions. Patrick White, the company’s vice president of marketing, says: “We probably had 500 people come to the booth who said they’d seen our products at the New Product Pavilion, so it was a great return for us. They saw our booth number at the pavilion and came over to see our products up close, so it has been very positive for us. We actually closed orders this week because of [our products] appearing there.”
Expo attendees were able to take advantage of the more than 100 paid and free learning opportunities available to develop their skills and further their careers in the industry. Covering 10 tracks—business management, product responsibility, industry essentials, marketing and advertising, decorating, sales and service, strategies and solutions, technology, supplier and SAGE—education sessions and panel discussions were scheduled throughout The Expo, offering valuable insights on a range of subjects important to industry businesses and professional education.
“Although I earned my MAS years ago, I continue to prioritize PPAI’s education classes. After attending six technology classes at Expo this year, I feel armed with many powerful apps and techniques to maximize my efficiency both in and outside of the office,” says Diane Sakowicz, MAS, president of Naperville, Illinois-based distributor Service With A Smile, Inc. (UPIC: SERVICE).
Look for a full recap of The PPAI Expo 2013 in the March issue of PPB magazine.