My Guide To A Meaty Trade Show

Martin Romjue
Posted on March 12, 2015

There are countless reasons to come to an International LCT Show, about as many as there are individuals, and then some, since we all have multiple purposes in being there.

As LCT editor, I tend to look at things from a wow factor, or news standpoint: Where’s the meat? (And which suite party is serving the free roast beef, anyway?)

The politically correct thing for me to say would be that all activities, sessions and exhibits are equally newsworthy. It’s all meaty! All children now get ribbons, but no, real life doesn’t work that way at a trade show. If everything were news, I would have no reason to write this and all TV channels would be like C-SPAN or a parking deck cam.

So, if I were planning a newscast, an e-newsletter, or a slide on a home page, here’s how I would look at top stories at THIS YEAR’S Show. And if I were a TV news director-producer, I would avoid the tired slogans of “Action News,” “On Your Side,” “Eyewitness News,” and opt for the more multi-media-ish: “Get Some Meat!”


NLA Board Meeting: The National Limousine Association is the closest thing to a government for the global chauffeured transportation industry, except it runs much more efficiently. The NLA board of directors always meets the day before the show to hold a quarterly face-to-face meeting, install new board directors, and elect officers. What makes these meetings spellbinding at times are the comments from top executives and industry leaders, who tend be the ones serving on the board. Their discussions and differences of opinion are always insightful and engaging, and guaranteed to be worth talking about it. Board members inevitably touch upon hot-button industry issues. NLA board meetings are open to all NLA members; you should probably notify the staff in advance if you would like to sit in the observation gallery. Trust me; spending a few hours here is better than sitting in your room watching C-SPAN.


NLA General Sessions: You’ll get the more packaged version of the above meeting, with the latest updates on regulatory and political matters affecting your business. As much as these tend to be scripted, there have been enough off-script moments to make these interesting. A proposed bylaw change on voting rules is the headliner this year and results from some recent controversy. The NLA general meetings are a wise use of your time to understand the wider industry world.

State Of The Industry: Always newsworthy, chock full of facts, stats and figures on the latest hard core business and economic trends. Don’t miss it.

Keynote Address No.1: Freakonomics economist Stephen Dubner is a bestselling author with insights beyond news headlines. If he can sell millions of books, he’s likely to have something worthwhile to say, and qualifies as newsworthy.

EXHIBIT HALL ALL THREE DAYS: If you can’t find anything newsworthy in 200,000 square feet of ground transportation related exhibits, then you are either dead from the neck up or horribly hungover. Look for new and unique vehicles and cutting edge technologies as sure bets for newsworthiness.


Maximizing Your Value To Affiliate Networks: This session on Tuesday covers a recurrent topic, but the news this year is the fact that three major industry executives and competitors are getting together on one panel: David Seelinger of Empire CLS, Gary Kessler of Carey International, and Scott Solombrino of BostonCoach. They all qualify as distinct professionals and personalities, and putting them in one room should be a combustible generator of comments.

LCT Fast 40: What’s Coming Next For the Limo Industry And How Millennials Will Play A Part: Regardless of what you think of Gen Y or how often they look at their gadgets, they’ll be running the industry someday. Younger generations cannot help but re-generate and generate news, at least since the 1960s when society started paying attention to this demographic. Even that young generation of the 1960s still creates a lot of news about how young they still act. Let’s face it: Most of us over the age of 35 cannot handle all those apps without help from Millennials.

Disruption In The Transportation Industry: “Big Bang Disruption” author Larry Downes talks about the big disrupter on everyone’s mind this year: Transportation Network Companies and app-based technologies. This affects everyone coming to this Show in one way or another. That’s like the weather. It’s news.

Advocates For Fairness in Transportation Meeting: 3 to 4 p.m., Ballroom C: Advocates For Fairness in Transportation is a new group dedicated to combatting the unfair practices of TNCs, the leading topic at this year’s Show. Led by three top-tier industry executives, including one from above, this group has a lot going on and much to say. It’s also their first meeting at a tradeshow, and firsts are always memorable and newsworthy, whether personal or public.


Keynote Address No. 2: Former Marriott International executive Edwin Fuller is very newsworthy. I know this because I interviewed him for the March issue and wrote up three pages. You better think it’s news. He’ll have a lot to say about leadership, global business travel, and how to adapt your business.

LinkedIn Sessions: There’s no excuse for leaving this year’s Show early. From a news standpoint, social media entices and nags all of us, constantly, mercilessly. So you might as well understand how to get the most out of it and keep your sanity. Speaker Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media will enchant and enlighten us in back-to-back sessions about the gold mine called LinkedIn.

There you have my pre-planned multi-media, meaty, hard newscast. Of course, the first rule of the news business is to expect the unexpected in the most unlikely of places, such as an opening reception on a pier, for example. So in a sense, the entire Show schedule is potentially newsworthy. And what’s news to you and your business is worth paying attention to.


One piece of advice: If something newsworthy happens in your hotel room or suite, it probably would not be a good thing for you. Avoid those kinds of headlines. And watch out for prying smartphones. They’re everywhere.

Related Topics: affiliate networks, David Seelinger, Gary Kessler, ILCT 2015, industry education, keynote speakers, LCT exhibitors, LCTFast40, limo tradeshows, National Limousine Association, networking, tradeshow preparation

Martin Romjue Editor
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