Outlaw Housing Vendors: Stop It!

This is me venting, I’m going to tell you that up front. I’m three weeks away from leaving for CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, so I will concede I’m a little stressed out right now.

Adding to that is the four exhibitors I have personally spoken to in the last two days who have been scammed by so-called marketing and housing companies. And I know there are more that I have not talked to.

All I can say is: You bad vendors! Stop!

Stop calling and e-mailing my exhibitors. Stop pretending to be an official vendor. Stop overpromising and under-delivering. Stop stealing money through fake hotel reservations.

It isn’t just about hurting my tradeshows, it is damaging to the entire industry.

We all know that, since the recession, the tradeshow industry has taken a beating. Exhibitors—all of them, even our memb

ers, anchors and major supporters—have been evaluating their marketing budgets and the value of trade shows. And organizers have been working hard, showing measurable ROI, proving the benefits of face-to-face sales, marketing and networking platforms.

Then here comes some bogus housing company that makes a bunch of phony reservations for a company and steals its money. Immediately, that exhibitor has a sour taste toward the whole event. And what can the organizer do?

We do what we can. We have a list of official and unofficial vendors on our website. We warn exhibitors in our monthly alerts to only book through the official housing provider.

But the problem is pervasive. And it is giving trade shows a bad name.

Melissa Magestro is senior director, exhibitions, overseeing all exhibit sales activity for Association of Equipment Manufacturers trade shows, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG and ICUEE-The Demo Expo. She is also show director for the IFPE exposition, CONEXPO Russia at CTT (held in Moscow), and bC India. Reach Magestro at .

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