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Meetings & Convention Industry Faces Numerous Challenges
Puerto Rico Convention Bureau unveils new booth at 2003 Motivation Show in Chicago
By EVELYN GUADALUPE-FAJARDO
September 25, 2003
CHICAGOThe space at convention centers is increasing while attendance at meetings & conventions is decreasing. Demand from the corporate world has been severely reduced over the past two years, but industry experts are cautiously optimistic about a recovery, though perhaps a modest one, in 2004.
That is why it is of utmost importance for convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) to take every opportunity for promotion. The Puerto Rico Convention Bureau (PRCB) recently unveiled a new 2,500-square-foot booth at the 2003 Motivation Show, formerly the Incentive Travel & Meeting Executives tradeshow, at McCormick Place in Chicago.
The Motivation Show started as a premium (giveaway incentives) show in the 1970s. It is no longer about companies giving away prizes, but about how companies can get results. CVBs attend the show to further relationships with existing clients and to seek new business.
The roof of the new PRCB booth resembles the waveform design of the forthcoming convention center, and the carpeting simulates the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan.
"The tradeshow seems a bit slower than last year, but our booth is closer to the main aisles this time around," said PRCB Executive Director Jorge Pesquera. "We are pleased with the main booth and with the tremendous support of our members booths. Its a marketing tool that sends the message that Puerto Rico is a serious player in the marketplace."
The PRCB came away with 75 leads and 126 good prospects from last years tradeshow. This year those numbers dropped to 47 leads and 123 prospects.
"There is less traffic at the tradeshow, but the buyers are more qualified," said Dan Melesurgo, vice president of global sales for the PRCB in New York. "This year we have spent more time working with our members to qualify the leads."
Experts say its expensive to staff a tradeshow booth, particularly for companies that haul in equipment or merchandise for displays. Among the PRCB members participating in the 2003 Motivation Show were Bacardi, Wyndham Resorts, the Intercontinental San Juan Resort, The Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort & Golf Club, the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort, the Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel & Spa, and newcomer Paradisus Puerto Rico.
Two of Puerto Ricos strongest competitors were also highly visible at the show. Hawaii sent hula dancers and gave out leis; the Bahamas had a massive booth centered along the main aisle, where the Caribbean destinations were featured.
"Every year we have expanded our booth," said Rick Hud, sales director for the PRCB in Chicago. "The Motivation Show is the only international meeting place in the U.S., and destinations cant afford not to be here."
This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.