The PPAI Expo 2018 Delivers On All Fronts—And Then Some

The PPAI Expo 2018 concludes today, marking the finale of another strong and successful show. In its 16th year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Expo delivered an exceptional show experience yet again, with more than 1,200 exhibiting companies at 3,120 booths, an extensive lineup of education sessions and world-class speakers, and exciting events to connect with colleagues.

Much came out of Expo this year, including new show floor amenities and networking opportunities, and innovative and insightful education programming. PPAI also announced a new alliance with the American Marketing Association (AMA). With this partnership, PPAI members now have exclusive access to individual and corporate group AMA memberships and benefits at special rates. Russ Klein, AMA president and CEO, joined PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, on stage during the announcement on Wednesday. Asked his take on the Expo, he said, “I think the Expo is stunning in an epic way. It's everything that marketers want in a customer experience.”

With preregistered distributor attendees from 4,500 companies, Expo’s show floor saw vigorous traffic, with participants from across the U.S. and around the world walking its 311,000 square feet of exhibit space. Andre Rainey, sales manager for PFR Corporate Gifts/Perfect Feast, said traffic has been great and his team also may exhibit at Expo East 2018 in June at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

As the industry’s largest and longest-running trade show, Expo is the place for long-time attendees to connect with friends and contacts, and for first-timers to get an up-close look at the breadth and scope of the promotional products field. Rizwan and Zehra Sayani, owners of Sayani’s Business Services in Surrey, British Columbia, attended Expo for the first time this week and were thrilled to get to meet some of their suppliers face to face.

“We got to meet a lot of vendors that we’ve only been able to talk to on the phone,” says Zehra. “I really loved connecting with them; being able to see each other was one of the biggest things for me.” She also was amazed at the size of the show, how well organized it is and the quality of the booths themselves. “It’s incredible the time and energy it must take to set up these booths.”

Tom Leahy, vice president of exhibitor Ball Pro Promotional Group, was equally excited about the positive energy he was seeing on the show floor. “Everybody is positive about what’s going on in their business and they are looking for programs and projects that are new and different,” he says, adding that distributors are looking not so much at price this year. “They are looking for nicer products, which is a good change.”

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