By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2017, owned and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, broke records for attendance, exhibitors and exhibit space in comparison to the 2015 edition. The show continued its evolution from a regional show in Western Mexico to a truly international event welcoming nearly 16,000 attendees to EXPO PACK Guadalajara, a 45 percent rise in attendance from 2015. Over 40 percent of the attendees traveled from outside of the immediate Jalisco area, including international attendance from Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.
All told, more than 21,000 packaging and processing professionals from 16 countries descended among 757 booths spread across 140,000 net square feet of exhibit space – triple the size of 2015. International pavilions included Brazil, Canada, China, France, Italy, Spain and the United States. PMMI was represented by 160 member exhibitors, with more than half in the PMMI pavilion. Additional educational offerings included free on-floor Innovation Stage presentations, a full conference program, Packaging Congress and the Envases Estelares Award from the Mexican Packaging Association (AMEE).
This success earned PMMI the IAEE International Excellence Award in 2018, which recognizes exceptional strides in creating, launching and managing exhibitions and events on an international scale.
Here, PMMI Senior Director of Expositions Laura Thompson shares with IAEE how EXPO PACK Guadelajara dramatically grew its show, successfully engages its target audience, and how PMMI contributes to Mexico’s flourishing trade show industry.
EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2017 significantly expanded its reach from its 2015 show. To what do you attribute the success of this incredible growth, and how does PMMI plan to build upon it?
In 2017, we began alternating our Mexico shows between Mexico City and Guadalajara, similar to how we alternate between Chicago and Las Vegas for our domestic shows. Bringing the show to Guadalajara filled a void in the marketplace. With continued growth in the packaging and processing machinery market, the show addressed a need in the region attracting many new customers who previously had not attended the Mexico City event.
What are PMMI’s top priorities when planning the education for an international show? Do they differ from stateside shows and, if so, how?
We have found with both our domestic and international events that convenience is key. Attendees want to maximize their time on the show floor, so short, on-floor presentations as well as keynote sessions to start the day, allow attendees to get important information on the latest trends while still leaving ample time to hit the floor and find the solutions they need.
What do you think is the most essential point of consideration for show organizers when breaking into a new international market?
Do your homework. It is important to know the market. We saw an opportunity with Guadalajara in that there was a need in our industry and no comparable shows in the marketplace. Also know the local customs, even down to the small details. For example, hours are often quite different in Mexico compared to U.S. shows.
What advice would you give to a U.S. show organizer putting on an event overseas for the first time?
Again, it is important to do your research, know the local customs and know where the opportunities are in the market. It also helps to identify local groups to work with in the region. We have been fortunate to partner with many industry associations in the region who work with us to provide session content, as well as promote the show to their constituents.
What region would you say has the most rapidly developing exhibitions and events industry right now, and why do you think this area is primed for growth?
I can only speak to my experience with Mexico. I have been working on our Mexico shows for 20 years and the growth in the industry in this timespan in Mexico has been tremendous. From new, world-class venues to offering CEM courses, it has been great to see and be part of the growing trade show community in Mexico.
From your global perspective, what trend and/or innovation do you see resonating right now within the industry?
Figuring out how to best utilize data and new technologies is a huge factor. Combining technology with the onsite experience really personalizes each interaction for the attendee and improves the show experience, both in finding what they need and facilitating networking with their peers.
The deadline to submit nominations for the 2019 IAEE International Excellence Award is 28 February! You can also check out the other IAEE award categories and nominate deserving IAEE members for these awards by 30 August!