When Dr. Brad Greenway, general chairman of the 101st Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting, called the 2013 installment of the Atlanta meeting, “the best Hinman ever,” the comment might have turned some heads. However, it’s hard to argue with statistics.
A sold-out exhibit hall (430 companies) greeted 21,872 dentists, hygienists, assistants, students, and other dental professionals and industry personnel at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Of that number, there were 6,020 dentists, 4,468 hygienists, and 2,890 assistants.
Additionally, dental student attendance at the Hinman has never been higher than it was at the 2013 meeting. The meeting attracted 22 percent more dental students this year with a total of 1,086 students from schools across the country.
Next year’s gathering, the 102nd Hinman Meeting, will be held March 27–29 with the theme slated to be “Aiming for Excellence.” For more information on the Hinman Meeting or the 2014 gathering in Atlanta, please click here.
I recently had the chance to chat with Sylvia Ratchford, executive director of the Hinman Dental Meeting, and Wendy McGar, exhibits manager for the Hinman Dental Meeting, about the annual show in Atlanta and how the 101st edition of the meeting fared.
Kevin Henry: What made the show successful, in your opinion?
McGar: I think this year’s exhibit hall success was a follow-up to last year’s success with the 100th Celebration. Many of the new exhibitors were interested in exhibiting because they heard about the great attendance and exhibitor successes we had last year. They are realizing the longevity and loyalty our attendees and exhibitors have toward Hinman. We had a sold-out floor with a waiting list this year.
Ratchford: From the education perspective, we offered new courses and speakers who had not presented at Hinman previously, with a very diverse program of education. We continue to focus on newly established dentists as well as dental students, and we had an excellent networking/learning session with dental students from many schools.
Henry: What were some of the comments you heard from exhibitors?
McGar: Many of our exhibitors frequently tell new companies that they “have to” exhibit at Hinman. “It will be your best show,” they tell them. Hinman exhibitors know how hard we work to make them successful. They appreciate all of the traffic drivers that we have on the floor, from specialty exhibits, to prizes and giveaways, to courses on the floor, eateries, CE printing, and the cyber center. In addition, we have Facebook, Twitter postings and news feeds, show special listings (both online and in print), as well as many other branding opportunities for exhibiting companies with small and large budgets.
Ratchford: I think that the exhibitors appreciate the quality of education that Hinman offers because they know it draws dentists to the meeting. They also know that all dental professionals are seeking information that helps them be better in their areas of expertise, whether it’s something learned in the classroom or on the exhibit hall floor.
Henry: What challenges (if any) were there with planning a show right after such a big occasion (the 100th anniversary celebrated last year)?
McGar: The only small challenge that the exhibit hall faced was some of the larger companies that had special exhibits because of the 100th, and those were downsized a little, but that was made up with new exhibitors resulting in a sold-out floor offering a diverse group of exhibiting companies, which added to the appeal of the exhibit floor.
Ratchford: For a brief minute, we pondered the “How do we top that?” aspect … but not for long. The incoming general chairman and program chairmen had ideas, energy, and enthusiasm for their program, and immediately put them in play with the theme, “The Next 100…The Tradition Continues.” Overall, we were very pleased with the outcome.