Speed Trumps Seniority for Booth Selection at DMD '02

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NEW YORK - Quick response time won over seniority when it came to scoring prime booth locations at next year's DMD Marketing Conference & Exposition.


The conference, which has been at the New York Hilton and Towers for 36 years, will move to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the 2002 show, June 17-19. A mailer was sent to this year's exhibitors the week of May 14 asking vendors to respond by fax immediately to get an appointment to reserve their booth space for next year.


The letter read, "To give all exhibitors the same opportunity, appointment times will be assigned on a 'First come, First serve' basis." The accompanying 2002 exhibit space request form stated, "First fax - First appointment."


In previous years, marketers simply signed up for the same booths they had occupied the year before because of the scarce space on the exhibit hall floor.


"You have to create a system in order to be fair, and this is the system they created," said Connie LaMotta, president/CEO of LaMotta Strategic Communications, which handled public relations for the conference.


LaMotta said that more than half of the 2001 exhibitors already have signed on for booths of equal or larger size than their current booths. The exhibit floor at the Javits Center will be 40 percent larger than the Hilton's space. Next year, the exhibit floor will be on one level instead of three.


Marketers stuck on the third floor of this year's show said they were looking forward to the move. Leigh Ann Duabes, vice president, direct marketing, for lettershop NCP Solutions, Birmingham, AL, said the Hilton's layout is "very confusing for people to figure out where they're supposed to go. I think [next year] will be a much better show because it will be easier for attendees to find their way around."


Stationed nearby, Tricia Robinson, vice president of marketing communications at Socketware, Atlanta, also is ready to "level the playing field," adding that traffic was best yesterday.


Back on the main floor, Leon Henry, founder/chairman of Leon Henry Inc., Scarsdale, NY, who's been in the middle of the main floor for years, said booth location doesn't matter.


Though exhibitors at this year's show get first choice on next year's space, new exhibitor applications will be taken after June 15 for the 2002 show.


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