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
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • 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.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue