What Changed This Year for Visiting Media

This blog post is part of a 2010 Consumer Electronics Show series supported by The Network Hub. To find out more about The Network Hub, please visit www.thenetworkhub.ca.

Far be it for me to call myself a trade show veteran, but I have been to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show three years running and I did notice several significant changes for this year’s show.

Traditionally, Las Vegas hotels tripled their rates during CES. This is because many of the attendees are not “normal” tourists and, thus, don’t spend nearly the same amount of money on shows, drinks, gambling, and other entertainment. This year, you could get a perfectly nice room on the Strip for $100 or less. Rooms at the Stratosphere were only $29! Vegas must still be hurting from the recession.

The trade show itself felt a lot smaller. In previous years, the Consumer Electronics Show would invade the entirety of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sands Expo, Las Vegas Hilton, and several suites up and down the Strip. This year, the North Hall of the LVCC felt almost abandoned and the Sands wasn’t even used.

Instead, many companies chose to use private hotel suites to showcase their new merchandise. This is more cost-effective, but it takes away from the trade show because only invitees could visit these suites. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which is responsible for planning and hosting CES, was not at all pleased with this growing development.

I have one other observation that had little to do with CES itself. Due to the attempted terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab two weeks prior, I was not able to bring a carry-on bag onto my flight from Vancouver. Many Canadian press went without their expensive DSLRs and other equipment, because they didn’t want to risk having them in their checked luggage. Did this affect their coverage of the show? Absolutely.

Looking ahead to 2011, should we expect more shrinkage from CES? Time will tell.