Industry Research

LCT East Shows How We Work For You

Sara Eastwood-McLean
Posted on December 3, 2013

I’ve been hearing some members of the industry comparing our new trade show held in Atlantic City, N.J., in October with our international show coming up in Las Vegas in February, as well as with a competing show. I would like to add some facts to set the record straight.

LCT Show East was a first-class event. Attendance soared to 1,100, about 300 more people than we expected. Anyone can audit our list online at www.lcteast.com. We brand LCT Show East as an East Coast event, a large regional trade show that ranks second in attendance behind the International LCT Show. These are two different events with two different target markets.

This recent show drew on invitations sent to our 4,000 East Coast readers, singling out those who do not come to Las Vegas. It was our opportunity to get to know them better and to collect information about their business problems in the spirit of finding solutions. It even drew operators from around the nation and the world. The event was a mega success, reaching three times the size of the cohort who attended the first year of our former LCT Eastern Conference held at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut (2005-2009).
 
That is our benchmark, not any other event branded as an “international” show. To make accurate comparisons, our East show floor exhibit space was sold at around $9 per square foot based on the fact that it was branded as a regional show with 800 estimated attendees. Our Las Vegas show floor is sold at $18 per square foot due to its international branding and projected attendance of 3,000.

By the way, we unveiled LCT Show East early in November 2012, the first trade show franchise to do so following the announcement that Limo Digest was moving its established show out of Atlantic City. We filled a vacuum. The notion that we somehow intruded on Atlantic City is absurd; the limousine industry is a competitive free market, not a cartel. LCT Magazine and Shows are international brands and businesses with roots and offices on both U.S. coasts, and we launched the first-ever limo industry trade show in Atlantic City in 1984.

One of the biggest benefits of LCT Show East is its partnership with the National Limousine Association, which provides the superior education sessions and programs.
 
In our partnership, we assume 100% of all trade show risk, yet the NLA uses our events as its largest and most productive fundraising venue. The NLA generated $75,000 from LCT Show East. About 85% of the badge registration fees collected are passed through directly to the NLA. The NLA raised $35,000 in charitable donations for the Harold Berkman Memorial Fund. It also drew contributions to its Political Action Committee, now with more money in the bank than comparable PACs of the Taxi Limousine Paratransit Association and the American Bus Association. The free booth we gave to the NLA at our Show also helped them recruit new members.

Why does any of this fundraising matter to NLA members and the industry overall? Well, for one, it keeps dues from going up; membership fees have been at the same level for 10 years. That money enables the NLA to boost its lobbying program through a professional firm, Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C., and political contacts.

Last year, Cornerstone lobbyists and a committee of NLA board directors and industry association leaders were responsible for getting the Department of Labor to back off requiring overtime pay on chauffeur gratuities. Had they not worked with the DOL toward this outcome, the results for limo operators, both NLA members and non-members alike, would have been devastating. The NLA raised $250,000 from the ILCT Show this year as well, bringing overall NLA fundraising from LCT/NLA trade shows to about $400,000. Thanks to our show revenue-sharing programs, we as an industry all can work together to expand business opportunities for limousine operators while fighting bad government rules.

LCT Show East proved beyond any doubt that it is LCT and the NLA that have the resources and the leadership to advocate on behalf of operators and improve the industry’s business climate. LCT and the NLA make the sacrifices and put in the sweat equity for the industry while giving back to you. It has been a privilege for me to be a part of this effort and help build a big industry tent during the last 22 years. I look forward to all of us pulling together even more to bring about our best years ahead.

Related Topics: Eastern U.S. Operators, ILCT, ILCT 2014, industry events, LCT Publisher, LCT-NLA Show East, limo tradeshows, lobbying, National Limousine Association, Sara Eastwood

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