With 518,663 NSF of exhibit space in 2014, the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exposition is No. 33 on the TSNN Top 250 Trade Shows list. Beginning 2013, the event organizers have been using a2z’s Online Exhibit Contract Management Solution to facilitate the online booth selection process. In 2015, HIMSS’ total exhibit space has grown by 9% over the previous year. In this guest blog post, Mickey Martin, Program Manager, Exhibit Sales at HIMSS, sheds light on how the program is evolving with time.
During each HIMSS Annual Conference & Exposition, we place around 500-600 exhibitors on the floor for next year’s event. Since we have about 1,300 exhibiting companies, we have to schedule an appointment for each of them for the Online Booth Selection Program. Since everyone is in the same building, we find that many exhibitors take advantage of this process and we reward them by providing a lower price for booth space if they select theirs during this week versus after the show ends.
Each year we start by placing our anchor booths (any company with a 4,800 sq/ft booth or above) on the floor before any other company. Additionally, this year we also decided to place our top 100 exhibitors on the floor before we arrived at the expo. This was done by scheduling web conferences with them for the duration of a week. Each company was given a 10 minute window to call in; with a 10 minute buffer between each company.
Booth selection resumed onsite for the next 1,200 companies. Booth selection took place Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; all days spanning 8-9 hours of appointments, except for Monday which we only had 3 hours. Since we have figured out that our top 200-300 exhibitors tend to take a little longer to pick their booth space and we had about 5-6 staff members who were able to reserve booths, so for Sunday and Monday we scheduled 4 appointments every 10 minutes for the entire day. This process was repeated until Tuesday, when a2z staff came in to assist with our booth selection. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we scheduled 6 companies every 5 minutes (knowing that not every company would show up).
At this year’s expo, for the first time, we were utilizing a set, pre drawn floor plan which caused a little push back from our exhibitors, but overall it went pretty well. Throughout these two weeks of online booth selection, we never ran more then 3-5 minutes behind schedule and received many compliments from our exhibitors about the process of booth selection in general.
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