An hour and a half before the exhibit hall closed at the MGM Grand on the last day of the International LCT Show in Las Vegas a woman stopped me by the registration area and asked what time the exhibit closes. “My husband just rushed to register to go into the exhibit hall but he didn’t think he would have much time because he knew it was closing today … what time does it close?” she asked.
After three days of all-day conference sessions, keynotes, and racking up miles strolling the exhibit floor, coupled with evening events and late-night parties and more, the exhibit hall was still crowded at the 2 pm closing time. I’m sure the woman’s husband was glad he attended, even for a brief lap or two around the show floor.
I’ve attended all sorts of trade shows over the years, and 99 percent of the time the last exhibit day of any event is sparsely crowded, with unhappy sales and marketing exhibitors standing around, packing up early, and hoping that they can catch an earlier flight home.
That was not the case at 2 pm on Tuesday, The exhibit hall was still buzzing and late afternoon conference sessions were well attended. I was impressed — seriously impressed — not because it was my first LCT show and it surpassed expectations in attendance and exhibitors. No, I was impressed because operators from across the U.S. and abroad gathered in Las Vegas to increase their education about their industry, share information and network with one another, and spent a lot of time kicking the tires of the latest vehicles, and listened to presentations from an array of companies offering products and services to improve their business.
We’re talking Vegas here, and the lure of all of The Strip’s many neon and glitter distractions competing with nightly LCT show events, NLA fundraisers, and parties, and yet, attendees packed 8:30 am sessions and networked with speakers after the last 5pm sessions ended.
To say attendees were engaged is an understatement. Passion for their business, their industry, and their fellow operators was the message that resonated with me as I headed to the airport to catch a red-eye back East.
— Tom Halligan, East Coast Editor
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