Publisher's Page: Attending a Tradeshow Is Your Best Investment

Posted on January 1, 2004 by Sara Eastwood - Also by this author

This year we are celebrating our LCT Show’s 20th anniversary. Ironically it has shaped up to be the biggest event we have ever had, with more than 160,000 square feet of exhibit space sold out to date. We’re pretty excited that the LCT Show is still growing after all these years, especially when many mature conventions are downsizing.

We do our best to keep the show fresh by moving the venue each year, creating show themes, adding new excitement like our grand 20th anniversary celebration at the most popular Las Vegas hot spot, Rumjungle, and updating our educational curriculum.

For example, the National Limousine Association has rolled out a new seminar format. Rather than two days of concurrent workshops (where you can only attend one of four sessions), we’re now offering “Super Sessions” on the hour over three days. This means you’ll be able to attend more seminars than ever before.

We don’t think there has ever been a show packed with this much punch. Now, our challenge is simply to get every one of our 10,000 readers to come take advantage of it.

As I look back over the years, even in the height of the boom economy, only 3,500 operators attended this event in any one year. That’s just over 30% of our readers, which means too many of you are not getting the message about the benefits of attending!

To fully understand whom we’ve been missing and why, we picked up the phone and asked. Here’s what we were told by readers who haven’t been attending the show:

1. Virtually all said they were running too small of a company to come. Attending the LCT Show meant closing down their businesses for those days because they had no employees to hold down the fort.

2. They couldn’t afford the cost of attending the show. They viewed it as a luxury they couldn’t afford, rather than a business investment they couldn’t pass up.

3. They were intimidated. They said they didn’t feel a part of the industry and were uncomfortable with going to the show alone and not knowing anyone.

Let me just say that where there’s a will there’s a way. All entrepreneurs in this business, regardless of size, began with one car. So how’d they get to our show?

I asked Gary Bauer, a 32-year-old owner of Bauer’s Transportation. Gary now operates 45 vehicles in San Francisco but started at age 18 with one car. He said that when he was that one-man band he asked his family to fill in because, “there was this big limousine convention that was a must-attend.”

Today Gary credits much of his success to the information gleaned from continuing to attend the LCT Show.

It’s a big misconception that the show is a luxury for only the wealthy. The LCT Show displays the world’s largest selection of products specific to this industry. Think about how much you will learn and how much time and energy you can save by visiting more than 100 vendors in three days – see what new stuff is being unveiled for the first time at the LCT Show beginning on Page 34).

To shop any other way is a luxury. Evaluating what’s on the market in one fell swoop is just smart business. Not only that, the education and the people you meet at your first event will immediately change your operations for the better – I guarantee it!

No doubt it is a scary prospect to get on a plane and travel to this big convention by yourself; it’s no doubt easy to psyche yourself out of coming. Here’s what I suggest: First, call your state limousine association and buddy up with others from your community who are attending.

Second, come to our free First-Timers Breakfast on opening day and you’ll be surrounded by 500 other first timers and a host of mentors from the NLA board of directors. The LCT Staff will all be there, too. You’ll find right away we’re all one big happy family.

Those of you who work from home may not realize that you are part of this vital industry. But when you take the plunge and attend the LCT Show you’ll forever what you’ve been missing.

I hope I can count on 100% of our readers to be in Las Vegas in next month. We need you … and you need us.


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