Industry trade shows serve a good purpose. Anyone who attends typically comes away feeling like they've been bettered by the personal interaction and camaraderie that shows engender. This week's AOAP show is a good example. By all accounts it was a great sophomore effort. To put it simply: Everyone loves a good show.
But what happens when there's not just one show, but four, or eight or 12 or 24? That's the reality for a professional attempting to work across both industries, and it seems the number of them grows annually. Call it showflation.
It's burning us out. At every one of the many shows I've attended at least one person has commented to me how worn out they are from shows. How they wish there were fewer of them. Part of the problem is the segmentation in the industry — both between residential and commercial and within those industries — and frankly the reality that trade shows are big business. (Full disclosure: Hanley Wood, which publishes Aquatics International and Pool & Spa News owns one of the industry's largest trade shows, the Pool Spa Patio Expo.)
I can't fault the associations that want in on the action. But I would like to see some effort made to offer a more consolidated show for commercial and residential markets. Anyone who's been to the major European shows, such as Piscine, knows what I'm talking about. These shows dwarf most of our largest shows because they bring in all elements from commercial and residential under one giant roof. It's one stop shopping for industry pros.
Could something like that work in U.S.? I'd like to think so, but many roadblocks exist. What's your thought on the industry's show situation? What would you like to see? Perhaps this can be the beginning of the end of showflation.