After my last Editor's Note (May/June Dental Equipment & Materials), I received a mixture of positive and negative e-mails. I made a statement in the Editor's Note about the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) meeting in April in Vancouver. I said, "It's always well-attended and provides great opportunities for dentists and their staff members. I'm always impressed by meetings where the exhibit hall is virtually empty during lecture times, and the AACD is one of the few meetings that fall into this category. Having the exhibit hall empty at times may not be the best news in the eyes of the exhibitors, but it's proof that those attending the meeting are actually attending the lectures and learning."
Well, as you might imagine, those comments didn't sit too well with some exhibitors. Naturally, exhibitors never want to see the exhibit hall empty — I.understand that completely. I am also the editor of Proofs magazine, a publication devoted to the dental industry, so I often hear from the exhibitors about a show being slow and no one visiting the exhibit hall. I know it's a tough balancing act for show organizers. On one hand, they have to attract a great set of speakers so that you and your dental team will go to the lectures. On the other hand, organizers have to find a way to bring you into the exhibit hall to meet and greet the exhibitors. Usually, a meal or adult beverage draws in the crowd. Whether that meal or beverage actually persuades you to talk to the exhibitors is another story.
So why am I talking about exhibit halls again? Well, this issue of Dental Equipment & Materials is coming out just a few days before many of you will be leaving to go to Orlando for the American Dental Association's annual session. When you've finished riding the new "Revenge of the Mummy" ride at Universal Studios and watching the fireworks over Cinderella's castle, I hope you'll take a good look at how the ADA has set up the exhibit hall this year. For the first time ever, the ADA has devised a "Marketplace concept," meaning exhibitors will be grouped into four different categories for your convenience.
I recently had a chance to talk to Jim Donovan, exhibit manager for the ADA. Here are his thoughts on the Marketplace and what it will mean to you.
"About two years ago, the ADA Exhibitor Advisory Committee was brainstorming. One of the committee's biggest jobs is to increase exhibit hall traffic. We had tried putting restaurants in strategic locations in the exhibit hall, but one of the committee's members said ideas like that were just a Band-Aid and really weren't addressing the concerns of the attendees and exhibitors. The ADA faces two challenges when it comes to its annual meeting. First, our exhibit hall is nearly 20 percent larger than the exhibit hall of the next-biggest annual show. Second, the ADA rotates from city to city rather than being in the same city every year. These two challenges have made it difficult for the ADA to have a consistent plan for bringing attendees into the hall. The committee came up with an idea to revamp the entire exhibit hall layout. By grouping exhibitors into four broad categories — Over The Counter/Pharmaceutical, Dental Services, Instruments & Equipment, and Materials and Infection Control, we could allow the attendees to compare products and shop in a smaller space."
What's the bottom line? Go to Orlando expecting a wonderful time and a wonderful show. Go to Orlando and ride all of the rides and visit all of the theme parks that you can. But don't forget to make a trip to the exhibit hall. I know there will be some interesting new products on display. The ADA and the exhibitors have made changes to fit your schedule. I.hope you'll take the time to stroll the exhibit hall floor. I'll see you there.
Read on, this is your magazine...
Kevin Henry, Editor