With a renewed focus on the regional market, Labelexpo Americas saw a 25-percent jump in Latin American attendance this year over its last show in 2010.
Twelve Central and South American countries each sent at least 20 percent more representatives to the biennial show Sept. 11-13 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., while total attendance from the region was near 1,200, or 8 percent of overall attendance.
Those numbers are significant for a show based in suburban Chicago—not Miami, Dallas or Los Angeles, cities with large Spanish-speaking populations and strong connections to Latin America.
“I think it had to do with the economy,” says Event Manager Tasha Ventimiglia, pointing to the circumstances surrounding the last Labelexpo Americas show in 2010, a low point for the exhibition industry.
In line with the rest of the exhibitions industry, the show saw attendance rebound in 2012. It attracted 14,335 total attendees for a 12-percent increase, while boosting floor space by 8.5 percent.
“Overall, this year, it just seemed healthier. People were in a better position,” she says. “But Latin America was definitely the highest percentage of increase in attendees that we had.”
Labelexpo’s efforts to boost attendance in the region began last year with a smaller version of the show in Mexico. After moving the annual Label Summit from Mexico City to Guadalajara for the first time, Ventimiglia saw gains in attendance and a much higher percentage of first-time attendees.
To capitalize on the new prospects, she had the entire marketing campaign translated into Spanish, hired a Spanish-speaking staff member to communicate directly with prospective attendees and exhibitors, and emphasized the Latin American content on the website.
“We have significantly increased our presence in the region,” says James Quirk, Latin American editor of Labelsandlabeling.com, who claims label-industry growth in Latin America is “comparable to China and higher than India, which are often cited as the two fastest-growing label markets.”
Ventimiglia adds, “We’re the only show of our kind, [so] they’re willing to travel. The fact that we’re close to O’Hare [International Airport] makes it easy to get in and out.”