Caught and can’t get out


Caught and can’t get out

I chatted with a number of senior executives of major European Parking Equipment Manufacturers at the European Parking Association meet in Vienna last week. They told me some very surprising things.

It was about the IPI show in Denver. I mentioned that I thought that the IPI had done a good job with difficult economic times. They said they were very disappointed with the show. They didn’t like the attendance and felt the quality was weak.

These are companies that invest tens of thousands of dollars in the show. I know one of them had a budget of upwards of $200,000. When you invest like that, you have to have an expectation that things will go well.

Now remember, the IPI doesn’t get the $200,000. In fact only a relatively small part of it. The big money goes for creating expensive booths, shipping heavy equipment, paying for airfare and rooms for 20 people. It can be expensive. For instance…When I was selling this type of equipment years ago, we paid $10,000 just to get the equipment from our loading dock to the show and back. And remember, we didn’t have a huge 40×40 booth. The numbers can be staggering.

If I were a small company and had a one hole booth with a stand that I could carry as baggage and came by myself, I would probably not have the same expectations as the “big boys.”

I asked if they had considered lowering their profile and got a real earful. “We can’t do that. We have a reputation to uphold. We can’t have a smaller booth, people will think we are in trouble.”

So they aren’t happy, but they will be there with bells on.

The show next year in Vegas should be a good one. Vegas itself is a big draw, and in addition, the IPI has begin its marketing program now. That’s a good idea, since people need to get the money in their budgets for the show. I wish them all the best


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. Maybe they should stop having parking trade shows in union cities so it wouldn’t cost $300 to have a box carried from the trade show entrance 50 feet across the exhibit floor.

  2. The vendors are the main reason I attend the IPI shows. It seems that every year the sessions are nothing but rehashed and thinly veiled infomercials from the same people and companies over and over and over again. With the exception of the round table discussions, while it may seem fresh and rewarding for newbies to the industry, those of us who have been around for a while find it quite tedious. Is it too late to recommend a cage match between Duncan and ACS? How about a competition themed after one of those Japanese game shows? Manufacturers performing timed industry related tasks on their own equipment (like cashiering 10 cars or writing 10 parking tickets) and the slowest contestant dropped into a vat of mud? While we’re at it, why leave the end-users out of the fun? I know that a parking related Jeopardy style quiz show involving pies to the face for wrong answers would keep me glued to my seat. One thing’s for certain, I really should try and avoid posting comments on a hangover induced Saturday morning.

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