Hot Times in Vegas and … Pittsburgh
Trade shows are hard work – I’ve spent more than 150 days as an exhibitor in the real estate and mortgage industry in the last decade. I feel this gives me a certain level of credibility and expertise in the space. I know others that have way more – and god bless them and their poor feet.
Thus, it’s worth stating that the Digital Mortgage show and HannaCon are first class. But they are also not perfect. I thought I’d share my impressions of the good and the bad of these two events, held back to back in the last two weeks.
DigitalMortgage was held at the Wynn in Vegas. I’m admittedly burnt out on Vegas, because I’ve already been to 4 trade shows there this year. However, the Wynn is clean and classy.
At DigitalMortgage 90% of vendors had kiosks. I love kiosks, they are so simple to set up and cost effective – but these still were plenty pricy at $12k for a 2 day show. They also came with a 4 person meeting pod on the expo floor. Cool concept that we under utilized.
The people who stopped to talk were almost all C levels and thoughtful, informed decision makers. Not counting scheduled meetings, I believe we had conversations with 8 executives from 3 top 10 lenders… just by walk ups. I’ve never seen that level of awesomeness. I’m eager to start working with these new connections.
In order to boost exhibitor traffic, every meal for attendees was served in the expo hall and the quality was better than expected. They even had ample serving lines – no 10 min line – more like 10 people. Almost everything was flawless. There was an incident with coffee – they only serve it periodically, and our booth was swamped – so by the time we were free to grab a drink – no coffee was to be seen. 🙁 Yeah, that sucked – but a small deal in the grand scheme of things – and easily fixable next year. (Exhibitor service area…hint, hint)
The parties were killer. Mirror plated dancers? Check. Butler passed snacks? Check. Ample drink (overly checked …for some)
The content? Yeah. So I don’t know personally as I was talking with folks the whole time. That’s a good problem to have. But feedback was better than solid.
We arrived a day early to set up and do a chill dinner with a client – that is the way to go for sure.
However, I’d do some things differently next time. We stayed off site at an off strip vacation property – I think there’s a benefit to staying in the same building – but I was scared off by the high prices. As it was our first time, we only brought our head of sales and myself. Next time I’d double staff at least. I also bugged out quickly after the expo hall closed – not next time.
Well done Digital Mortgage. You set the bar pretty high, hosting a fantastic event that moved the dial for Revaluate. I can’t ask for more.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that Pittsburg, PA. doesn’t really have the “draw” of Vegas. You wouldn’t call it “sexy”. Actually, in my mind the stigma is rather negative. However, I was eager and intrigued to visit as the HH people were stoked to show off their home. Like, really stoked. So I was quite curious.
I was blown away. Here’s a rust belt town with a history of grit that was simply beautiful, hip and vibrant. Running trails on the river, sunshine, amazing breweries and even a real unicorn that sells houses. (ok – made that one up) But still.
Howard Hanna is the largest privately owned real estate company in the US. (Curious – how long do you think they will they hold this title?) They invited Revaluate to participate for the first time, as they only hold the show every other year.
Thanks to bad flight times, I had some extra time to poke around and even go for a run on the river front prior to the show.
We used the Whova app to connect with other conference goers the night before the show at a sports bar, then they got kinda lost walking to a wine bar, then they got a bit more lost walking to dinner… I had another dinner plan and connected with some other new friends over cocktails.
The show floor was not cramped and not over the top. There were no kiosks, just booths. Many vendors had very basic booths, but a few like BombBomb and Quantum had a full booth with full staff and HSA had a cool slot car race track that I really wanted to try. (check it out in my HannaCon Video) HH also had corn hole and a over the top cheesy money booth set up that were pretty popular.
Unfortunately, there were a dozen or so non “business” related booths including makeup, knives, jewelry and clothes. I know, I know – they help pay the bills but this kind of exhibitor, I feel this really takes away from making a show feel forward thinking, tech focused or “cool”. But that’s just my opinion, I’m not the audience they want – Im a nerd that wears very little makeup and jewelry.
I was most impressed that almost the entire Howard Hanna executive team was roaming the conference floor, and very engaged. I saw Helen Hanna take like 50 selfies with folks. That is accessibility rarely seen in the space.
Main stage content was served in a cool bleacher filled space the likes of which I’ve never seen in the industry. This stood out to me as a great way to get people to be more connected, closer to the talent on stage. I didn’t have time to soak in the content, but the setting was slick.
Some meals were served on the expo floor, some in the foyer. Some were provided by the conference, like a prime rib carving station and the largest taco bar ever and some meals were a cash bar for wraps. Bringing them all in the expo would help drive traffic, brand awareness and conversations for the vendors for sure. But they do get points for having plenty of serving lines, unlike most. I also believe that including all food in a show ticket, prevents many people from going off site for lunch – never to return.
A dance party filled the hall at happy hour, and featured a large stage with a high quality 10 piece band, good sound and lighting that played cover tunes and after the free drinks were distributed, eventually they filled the dance floor to the brim. The air was filled with laughter and 80’s dance music. Pretty fun.
Overall – both events were successful for team Revaluate. Trade shows continue to be an effective means of engaging with new prospects and connecting with existing clients even in this digital era.
We have more shows on the horizon – but if you’d like to connect with us for a demo or to ask questions, feel free to connect with us here.
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