Big Troubles For the New York Hotel Show

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The organizers of the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show need to consider major changes to this once but no longer relevant event. If they don't, the Show is doomed for extinction, perhaps soon. The recently concluded edition of the Show, which is held each November at the Javits Center, New York City's poor excuse for a convention venue, was considerably smaller than in recent years, was poorly attended and generally failed to generate much enthusiasm. Perhaps you can blame the state of the economy, but truth is the Show has been on a downward spiral for a number of years.

I spoke to scores of exhibitors and attendees and nearly everyone complained about the lack of traffic in the aisles. The educational sessions delivered good content, but were mostly poorly attended. The only highlights of the week came during the meetings of the AH&LA, and even that group has its own, but unrelated problems.

Show management needs to get creative in its approaches to building exhibitor interest and industry attendance, especially by hotel owners and operators. Here's one idea: Create a hotel franchise and management company pavilion, similar to the existing Technology Innovation Center, to allow brands and managers to meet with owners and developers to discuss new projects and deals. The exhibit space in the pavilion needs to be inexpensive enough to attract all the major, and many of the smaller, brand and management companies.

Whether it's this idea or something else, the key to reviving the show is to get more attendees in the door. Do that, and everything else falls into place.

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