The Last Days of Trade Shows
Also announced this month was a new business partnership between ASI, PSI from Germany and Sourcing City from the U.K. The new venture, PromoAlliance, will "identify and introduce best practices and market development concepts benefiting the U.S., U.K. and European markets," according to Tim Andrews, president and CEO of ASI. What that means is anyone's guess, as all the information currently available is vague, but it comes hot on the heels of PSI's announcement that it will turn the final day of next year's PSI Trade Show in Dusseldorf into "Promotional Products Day," inviting end-buyers into Europe's largest promotional products expo. Whether there is some connection or just coincidence involved is beyond me, but the timing is interesting.
I am not saying that any of the U.S. promotional products trade show organizers are definitely allowing end-buyers into their shows. Both ASI and PPAI have stated that their respective shows are end-buyer free, and we have no reason to doubt them. Rather than make a statement, I am asking a question: What is the future of promotional products trade shows? Will things stay the same? Will bylaws governing who can come change? Dwindling final-day attendance has led some organizations to try desperate measures, but will changes to the last day of a trade shows lead to the last days of trade shows?
I don't know, but I don't think this is the end of the conversation.