The PPAI Expo Opens For Business

The PPAI Expo pre-show activities got under way this past weekend marking the unofficial start of the promotional products industry’s largest, longest-running and best-attended show. Designated as one of the top-60 largest trade shows in the U.S. by Trade Show News Network, the PPAI Expo returned to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas again this year where it has been located since moving from Dallas in 2003, after a 26-year run in that city.

Often referred to as the industry’s ‘big tent’ where anyone and everyone who is serious about doing business in the promotional products industry is assembled, the show is the proclaimed first-of-the-year gathering place for meetings of PPAI leadership and volunteers, supplier and distributor company sales meetings, meet-and-greets between vendors and their customers and the perennial showcase for new product introductions and best-sellers across a vast array of categories.

On Saturday, the PPAI Board of Directors held its January meeting, followed on Sunday by the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon where PPAI’s many volunteer leaders were recognized before heading into their committee meetings in the afternoon. The first of more than 100 education sessions started on Sunday along with PPAI’s new Learning Labs with hands-on instruction on topics such as heat transfers and YouTube channel marketing. Education programs run daily through Thursday.

Also, on Saturday, the first of more than 1,200 exhibiting companies began moving into the expansive convention center to occupy some 3,200 booths. When the trade show opened its doors this morning for the three-day run, the first doors opened at 8 am with a sneak peek in the Product Pavilions (New Products, Made In USA, Express Ship, Green Products and 1st Time Exhibitors) followed by a 9 am viewing of premium products in the brand. pavilion before the full floor opened at 9:30 am amid a rush of eager distributors.

“Some might say that the PPAI Expo is the ‘Amazon’ of the industry where the customer experience is great, and you can see every product from every vendor,” says PPAI board chair Dale Denham, MAS+, senior vice president/CIO, Geiger. “Unlike Amazon, however, the Expo is a critical component of building and sustaining business relationships that are vital to the success of the industry and individual organizations.”

Denham says the hardest part about Expo is managing one’s time because there are so many opportunities for growth. “From the education which continues every day this week, including the new sales training from SMEI on Thursday, to the ultimate trade show floor with every vendor and product you need to see, the Expo has everything.” He also advises show attendees to take time for fun and networking every day by choosing from the many opportunities including the Pyramid Awards program tonight and the Power of Two party Wednesday night at the House Of Blues. “In the meantime,” he says, “don’t forget to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, water refill stations and the SAGE Mobile app to navigate as well as document your tradeshow meetings.”

For the full schedule and a comprehensive list of education programming, click here.

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