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Trade Shows Travel to Attend or the Virtual Trade Show? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Edward F. Nesta   

Luxury Experience is traveling to attend International Travel Berlin (ITB), which is being held in Berlin Germany this month [March], but what is going on with the new concept of a Virtual Trade Show?

It seems that every year there is a new Trade Show to attend, and as some of the new shows gain prominence, they draw key components (sponsors and vendors) away from one show to another, which makes the choice of which show to attend more difficult. Besides the choices, you tend to lose a participant’s allegiance to a show, and it distills down the opportunity to meet with key decision makers at a show. Add in the cost component to sponsor, display or attend the show and you have quite a dilemma. 

I understand that some of the larger Trade Shows tend to be like speed dating, where you meet, greet, exchange pleasantries, Bluetooth (beam) your contact information, attempt to put a face to a name, and then move on to the next contestant and start it all over again. With this said, attending a Trade Show is still a critical networking and business element for many people. 

Which leads me to the next important Trade Show for Luxury Experience, and that is International Travel Berlin (ITB) in Berlin, Germany from March 8th – 12th. If you are planning to attend ITB, please send me an email, I would love to meet with you in Berlin (send email correspondence to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

It is understood that the competitive difference in the hospitality sector, and especially the luxury segment, is the human touch. ITB is one show that has the key decision makers in attendance, which allows for direct conversation regarding products and offerings. I look forward to meeting with people from all over the world, and feeling the positive vibe, which emanates from travel industry trade shows. It is always a great time in Berlin during ITB, selecting from the many after-hours networking events, or just mingling among the locals; Luxury Experience looks forward to ITB every year.

However, this being a key show for Luxury Experience, the list of “key” shows seems to be growing, and the decision process becomes a bit harder every year as we set our budgets and expectations.  I thought I might provide a look into some new ideas creeping into the trade show market that are attempting to address the time, cost and selection process.

A new wave of trade shows that are popping up are the Virtual Trade Shows. From the comfort of your home/office or work office, you can “attend” the show, while multitasking such things as email, voice messages, attend an office meeting, take a spontaneous meeting in the hallway, take the dog for a walk, or decide when you want to change out of your pajamas, and still “attend” the Virtual Trade Show. If you miss a live virtual lecture, you can download or click the dynamic MP3 link and listen to it at your leisure. You can set up a meeting so that a chat session is open at the time you requested, or you can wait in the electronic queue. Browsing products and information is just a click away as you “walk” the exhibition floor to see what new offerings are being displayed, but you cannot pick up the shiny trinkets to bring home as presents for the significant other or the kids. Regarding those awkward lunches and networking sessions, which they hold in the middle of the exhibition floor, they become obsolete, and the speed dating interaction takes on a completely new meaning.

There is a value proposition for certain industries to hold a Virtual Trade Show, especially for an industry where mingling and socializing is equivalent to getting your teeth pulled without anesthesia. Yes, I have had a few memorable or unmemorable occurrences at a Trade Show where I felt I was virtually attending, and counting the number of people standing by themselves was the high point, but alas, I digress.  History tells us that technology will fill the gaps between the virtual and live trade show, though this is at best a few years in the future. I personally like the web-based presentations where if I miss the live presentation, I can still hear it in its entirety when I want to; thus, components of the Virtual Trade Show have shown some success.

The fact remains that in the luxury segment, nothing says it better than a face-to-face meeting where clients are sizing you up to see if you can represent their product in the same manner that they do, and in the manner they intended it to be presented. Luxury Experience is invited to many Trade Shows, and I do look at how they are structured and who is attending, and even with the need to be in two places at once, I still have a tough time accepting the Virtual Trade Show at this time in its life-cycle. As with many technologies, I believe Virtual Trade Shows will advance, and coupled with the ability to video interface, they may evolve into an alternative for participants to manage the costs associated with attending and/or setting up a booth, but at this time I am still a face-to-face speed dating type of person. See you in Berlin! 

I thank you for your continued support of Luxury Experience magazine, and as always, your comments are welcome, so please send comments to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

© March 2006. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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