“We are thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve received from our community, buyers and suppliers alike, and look forward to seeing a wealth of new business partnerships and industry innovation resulting from this week’s event.” ~ Jackie James, Group Director, World of Concrete.

Last June, World of Concrete returned to Las Vegas with much hoopla and fanfare. And why not? After the onset of the pandemic and the complete shutdown of the trade show industry, World of Concrete was the largest show of its kind to return – complete with outdoor exhibits, the highly-anticipated and beautiful addition of the West Hall, the Tesla underground tunnel (which shuttles people around the campus), and the return of the popular Spec Mix Bricklayer 500. Holding the show in June of 2021 was challenging because summer months are typically busy times in the construction industry, and the heat was tough on the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 contestants. The show did go on, with much success and praise.

Seven months later WOC returned to its usual time in January. This year’s event boasted 1,100 suppliers, 150 of which were new exhibitors! After a couple of challenging years, the productive and well-attended event points to the ongoing revival of the trade show industry, and the continued growth of the construction sector in general.

Once again, TPG was on the scene, assisting our clients and taking it all in. In case you are experiencing FOMO, here’s our take the iconic World of Concrete 2022.

The enthusiasm to meet in person was palpable.

The excitement of being there is a continuing trend. Nearly 37,000 construction and masonry professionals converged to meet and greet and take advantage of the myriad of networking opportunities. Not to mention all the brand presence and array of products to touch and feel and talk about. Attendees at construction-related trade shows are a tactile bunch. People love to experience products up close and personal.

Christina Piedlow, TPG’s President and CEO, explains it this way:

Masks were required.

Last year, even though safety protocols were in place, such as temperature checks at all entrances – the wearing of masks was only a recommendation. Well, you guessed it – very few people wore one. This year masks were required, and compliance was nearly 100 percent. We saw very few people in the exhibit halls ignoring the mandate. Reminding people to wear their masks were – let’s call them mask compliance ambassadors. The show organizers, Informa Markets, also provided onsite COVID testing and plenty of hand sanitizers along the way.

Physical badges were back!

Back in June, going touchless, the standard badge was replaced by a digital QR code that attendees could download and save on their phones. Although everyone understood the noble reasoning, the digital badge was not appreciated by most exhibitors. Not being able to greet the visitor by name, not knowing if you were talking to a competitor, and making it harder to take a lead as people struggled to get out their phones and find the QR code were the main reasons for the triumphant return of the tried-and-true badge.

The Central Hall is still where it’s at…

…however, the West Hall is gaining traction.  Featuring 600,000 square feet of exhibition space, including 328,000 square feet of column-free space, it’s no wonder exhibitors want to have their booths located there. From our perspective the more familiar Central Hall was much busier, perhaps due to sheer habit, or lower attendance.

If attendees did want to bounce around between halls, the Vegas Loop, an underground tunnel that links the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West, North/Central and South halls made it a snap. Oh, via chauffeur-driven Teslas, by the way.

Credit: World of Concrete

Exhibitors were creative in reaching attendees beyond the booth.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we realized the importance of developing a digital strategy quickly. Now that trade shows are back, savvy exhibitors are incorporating digital elements in their booths to keep the interest and conversation going beyond the show. Here’s Jean Howard, TPG’s Director of Business Development:

Last Thoughts

There is no substitution for being able to experience a demo with the product at an attendee’s fingertips, especially in a hands-on industry like concrete construction. World of Concrete is just one example of how trade show organizers are striving to create a safe, welcoming environment so that in-person events can resume, and we can all feel a sense of normalcy again. At least a reasonable facsimile of normalcy.  And exhibitors are striving to connect with prospects and customers in new and inventive ways in the booth and beyond. Consistent foot traffic, 37,000 registered professionals, and the vibrance exuded from participants underscores the industry’s need for in-person connection. The 150 first-time exhibitors at World of Concrete 2022 surely agree.

C.C. Carr, TPG Social Media Manager and Contributing Author

Need help thinking through your strategy? Whether you are planning for an in-person, hybrid or virtual event, let’s work together to define the plan and create something wonderful!

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