My feet hurt. My legs ache. I feel fatter than last week. I’m mentally maxed out, dried out, and talked out.
Add up all those symptoms and I know for sure LCT and the NLA put on a spectacular, successful International LCT Show in Las Vegas this week. It’s what you call the good kind of tired.
The first few days back from a Show require some recovery time, but that’s all good when offset by a successful event that connected operators, boosted friendships, brought together buyers and sellers, and generated lots of worthwhile content for LCT Magazine.
Each year before the Show I ask, “How am I going to get through all of this?” Then, afterward, I always say, “I’m so glad I went.”
This year had the best overall mood and vibe since I attended my first Show in March 2008 at Mandalay Bay, which drew at least as many attendees as this year, but was slowed by an undercurrent of fear and dread at what everyone sensed would be a long, hard recession.
Attendance this year looked better, wherever you went. Just two years ago, I was about the only attendee in the MGM Grand food court at 8 a.m. grabbing breakfast before the first session on the second day. This year, I saw plenty of badged, suited attendees getting breakfast in the same food court, ready to hit the first session — early, on a Monday morning holiday, after a night club party, in Las Vegas.
While hosting the first bus session a few minutes later, we ran out of chairs and handouts. This happened despite four other sessions going on at the same time.
In the most telling sign of all, visitors to the Show floor on the last day outnumbered any from the at least the past six years. Last days of a trade shows can be what I call hangover-it’s-over dead zones as most attendees recover from a third night in Las Vegas and reach exhaustion as they head home. Looking at the floor activity at 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, I thought we could easily stay open another few hours.
What’s most encouraging is the fact that attendance is up about 10% (final numbers pending) compared to last year’s Show at the MGM Grand, less than four months after our first Show in Atlantic City, N.J., in 15 years. LCT Show East, of course, drew 27% more attendees than expected. Throw in the fact we have an aggressive competitor, and the numbers look even better. We thank the industry for its vote of confidence.
The only drawback to larger Shows is it’s all the more difficult to get to everyone and everywhere. My regrets to anyone who tried to connect with me or the editors and we kept missing each other. Overall, that’s a better problem to have than a slow Show. We can always catch up at the LCT Leadership Summit, May 18-20, in Miami Beach, or at LCT/NLA Show East at Caesars Atlantic City, Oct. 19-21. Yes, all those symptoms will recede, and make returning to a coastal climate, normal sleep patterns, and the next issue of the magazine feel all the better.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
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