From Boom to Bust?

Cities continue to build convention centers as trade shows lose effectiveness.

NEWS flashes from the convention front lines are not encouraging. If the meetings industry's own forecasts and experts are correct, a senseless building boom of U.S. convention centers will continue through 2007 at least. From San Francisco to Dallas, Omaha to Atlanta, Minneapolis to Washington, D.C. and well beyond, new buildings or big expansions are opening. (I am endebted to MeetingNews magazine for this information.)

These cities' hungry convention bureaus are chasing a flat-lined number of shows, many of which are seeing attendance fall sharply among attendees and exhibitors alike. The tech industry's woes may be an unnecessarily bad example, but the company behind its bellwether Comdex show laid off some of its staff and warned last fall it might enter bankruptcy if slumping show revenues didn't improve.

Flat or declining attendance has been apparent at the safety and health industry's big shows for several years, even if we discount the sparse expo floor and attendance at the just-after-9/11 National Safety Congress in Atlanta two years ago. No one seems to know where the next generation of OSH professionals will come from; disappointing industry conferences are both an early sign of trouble and a financial blow because they have traditionally been a significant revenue stream to the professional associations and societies that operate them.

One of my longtime friends in this business, a CSP, saw these problems coming years ago. Retirements soon would drain the industry of its most experienced eyes, ears, and minds in both private and public sectors, she predicted, while many of those with the highest skills, highest salaries, and most advanced degrees would find themselves pushed out of all but the largest companies and working for themselves, as consultants.

MeetingNews described the convention center madness as "a building boom that seems to have no end." It's good for convention planners, who are getting cheaper rates for everything from hotel packages to transportation, the magazine reported on its Outlook 2003 issue. But the boom is bad for attendees: Several cities with new or expanded centers raised their hotel tax rates significantly to fund the expansions.

This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • The 4 Stages of an Incident Investigation

    So, your workplace has just experienced an incident resulting in the injury or illness of a worker. Now what? OSHA recommends that you conduct investigations of workplace incidents using a four-step system.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

Free Whitepaper

Stand Your Ground: A Guide to Slip Resistance in Industrial Safety Footwear

This white paper helps to clarify this complexity, so you can better navigate the standards and better ensure the safety of your employees.

Download Now →

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2019

    November/December 2019

    Featuring:

    • GAS DETECTION
      Redefining Compliance for the Gas Detection Buyer
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Don't Trip Over the Basics
    • VISION PROTECTION
      What to Look for in Head-to-Toe PPE Solutions
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      Effective PPE for Flammable Dust
    View This Issue