LAS VEGAS -- From a bird's-eye view of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 2014 Amusement Expo unfolded as expected: visitor and exhibitor numbers on the rise, and nearly all participants praising the trade show's new two-day format. At the close of day No. 1, the number of registered showgoers was 2,821, compared with 2,763 for last year's three-day total.
Amusement Expo was held on March 26 and 27, and show manager Brian Glasgow of W.T. Glasgow Inc. is expected to release the final numbers later this week. Glasgow's tally of the first day's figures, however, point to comprehensive increases over 2013's final totals.
The number of buyers who registered for this year's trade show was 1,402, compared with 1,343 last year. The "nonbuyer" registrants figured in at 1,419, equal to the year before. The number of visitors from the concurrent Pizza Expo was 110, compared with 62 a year ago.
Exhibitor bookings also nudged up. This year, 124 goods and services companies occupied 386 booths, compared with 121 in 382 booths last year. And there were 31 first-time exhibiting companies this year, compared with 20 in 2013.
Amusement Expo is the reincarnation of the long-running (and separate) coin-op trade shows sponsored by the Amusement and Music Operators Association and American Amusement Machine Association. The first Amusement Expo was held in 2010. Last year, the two associations announced a change to a two-day exhibit schedule (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day). There was still plenty of time to take it all in; total exhibit hours were 16 hours in two days, compared with 17 hours over three days last year, and 18 hours in three days for each of the exhibits that took place between 2010 and 2012.
An education program was held separately on March 25, and drew almost 300 participants for its 15 sessions. The program began with a keynote address by Gregg Fraley, a creativity and innovation authority, who shared his insights on how to market new ideas.
The National Bulk Vendors Association collocated its trade show and convention with the Amusement Expo for a fourth time. NBVA's 2014 pavilion on the expo show floor consisted of 22 exhibitors in 43 booths, compared with 19 in 40 booths the year prior. At the conclusion of the first day, 224 bulk-vending professionals had registered for this year's show, compared with 250 for all three days last year.
This year, Amusement Expo organizers also had an agreement with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which held its FEC Las Vegas Program the same week. IAAPA program participants were extended complimentary entrance into the show, and as a result 120 FEC buyers registered.
The 2015 Amusement Expo will be held March 25 and 26 (Wednesday and Thursday), once again at the Las Vegas Convention Center. A daylong education program will be held on Tuesday, March 24. NBVA will continue its collocation agreement and the Las Vegas Hotel, adjacent to the convention center, remains the official lodging and meetings host. Visit amusementexpo.org for updates.