If crowded aisles, busy registration counters and overflowing meeting rooms are any indication, then it appears the golf course industry is ready to do more business in 2012 coming off the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas, conducted 29 February – 1 March.
“Going from a traditionally strong draw inOrlandoto a western location the next year generally results in a drop off in attendance, but that was not the case this year,” Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said. “I think that speaks to the value of the event and the belief the industry is gaining some strength. I sensed a much better mood from both attendees and exhibitors.”
The most important barometer of show success, qualified buyer attendance, came in at 7,068 – a 2.6 percent increase over last year fromOrlandoand the most since the event was inOrlandoin 2008.
“To exceed what we had inOrlandosays something,” NGCOA Chief Executive Officer Mike Hughes said. “But more than the numbers was the quality of the event. I had several attendees tell me this was the best Golf Industry Show they had attended.”
The 2012 Golf Industry Show attracted 540 exhibitors spread across 177,300 net square feet of exhibit space over the two-day event at theLas VegasConvention Center. That is slightly less than the 549 exhibitors (1.6 percent) and the 179,800 square feet (1.4 percent) than inOrlandolast year. Total attendance was 14,706, down less than one-half of one percent (14,772) from last year. The decrease came in non-buyer registrants (guests, exhibitors, media down 327 from 2011) that offset increases in paying attendees. Both the GCSAA and NGCOA conference attendance totals were up, however.
“The show this year was the best one in a decade,” said Steve Baumgartner, vice-president of sales for Wittek Golf Supply. “Traffic was strong almost all day long. The attendees who stopped by were qualified buyers, not just information gatherers.”
“The 2012 show far exceeded our expectations with another eight new distributors signed up,” said Jeff Scott, CGCS, vice-president of sales and marketing for SGM Industries. “The traffic in the booth was non-stop – superintendents are enthusiastic and are comparative shopping – eager to find the equipment that will most benefit their maintenance programs.”
The Golf Industry Show is an innovative trade show designed for the owners/operators of golf facilities and the professional members of the golf course industry. The event combines education, networking and solutions for golf course superintendents, owners, operators, architects, builders, equipment managers, appraisers and others.
The Golf Industry Show is presented by GCSAA and NGCOA, along with participating partners:
American Society of Golf Course Architects
Golf Course Builders Association of America
United States Golf Association
National Golf Foundation
International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association
Society of Golf Appraisers
Running concurrently with the Golf Industry Show were the annual education conferences for the Golf Industry Show presenting partners. Numerous educational sessions and seminars focused on solutions to operating in challenging times, environmental management, financial benchmarks, leadership and communications. A myriad of networking opportunities were available throughout the show for attendees to share and discuss solutions. And exhibitors were able to conduct business with the entire leadership teams from golf facilities as golf course superintendents and owners were able to attend the show together as teams to build and implement their business plans utilizing education and discussions with suppliers.
The 2013 Golf Industry Show will be held 6-7 February in San Diego.