By now, you have likely heard the news: ConExpo-Con/Agg 2014 was big. REAL big.
The show’s total registration of 129,364 soared past the last edition of the show achieving the second-highest attendance in history. The show also set new records for exhibit space, number of exhibitors and education tickets sold.
Holding one of the largest trade shows in Las Vegas is a feather in the industry’s cap, and something to beat our chest about. But I hear the question asked by people over and over.
Has the show become too big?
That question is asked by attendees who walk the aisles of hall after hall and crisscross the outdoor lots looking for often-hidden booth numbers. It is asked by manufacturers who hope upon hope that after spending all that money to exhibit, somehow people will find them among the tons and tons of equipment. I can tell you it is asked by the trade press, especially when an appointment in the Gold Lot is followed by an appointment in the back of the Central Hall and you only have 10 minutes to get there.
So has the show grown too big? Has it reached the point where navigating it has become overwhelming? Has it become insane waiting a half-hour to grab a slice of pizza for lunch? Has it reached the place where that gigantic taxi line in front of the Las Vegas Hotel is simply ridiculous? Is there just too much to see and not enough time to see it because you have to spend so much time en route and in lines?
Unfortunately the answer is yes. But there isn’t a way to fix that when the show is as good as this one. Show management has done a good job isolating industries to show areas. Aggregates is Central Hall. Concrete is South Hall. Big Iron is largely North Hall and Gold Lot. Construction is, well, in the Silver Lot and everywhere else. This time, mobile equipment was isolated to the new Platinum Lot. Isolated is a good word, based on comments from some of the exhibitors there.
Yes, the show is big and walking it is tiring. But once every three years, we can do this. Look on the bright side. It is still not as big as bauma.
Mark S. Kuhar, Editor
Member: Construction Writers Association