Exhibitors on Both Floors Say Traffic is Slow

BOSTON — T'was the last full day the exhibition hall was up and running at the Direct Marketing Association's 18th Annual Catalog Conference and Exhibition yesterday and not many catalogers were stirring on either of the two floors of nearly 500 booths.

“A lot of times it was really dead,” said first-floor exhibitor Tina

Velenosi of client services at ICOM Information & Communications, Toronto, ON, who added that sometimes there'd be spurts of traffic between sessions.

However, Fred Herman, national sales manager for first-time exhibitorYork Paper Co., Eddystone, PA, said that while traffic was quiet, it was steady. The exhibitor's booth was also on the first floor andHerman said that he was happy with the way the show was organized.

There was a “good possibility” his company would exhibit at next year's show.

At least two second-floor exhibitors were disgruntled about the location of their booths.

“I was disappointed about the layout,” said Paul Ercolino, director ofsales at U.S. Monitor, New City, NY, whose booth was on the second floor of the exhibit hall. “[When selecting booth space for this year's show,] it was presented in a manner that made it look like [the exhibit hall] was all on one floor. The quality of leads I got was good, but I had to walk around on the main floor to generate them.” He said that he had already picked his booth space for next year's conference.

Another second-floor exhibitor said that even though she feels encouraged by the leads generated at the company's booth, “if we had our choice, we'd be downstairs. The traffic down there is a lot higher than up here,” said Cheryl Voetberg, a buyer at Overstock.com, Salt Lake City, a first-time exhibitor at the conference. “Regardless, people have been wandering up here.”

Conference speaker George Mollow, principal of GJM Associates, Nanuet, NY, who has been attending and speaking at the Catalog Conference for years, said that an exhibit hall on two floors creates a problem for some people. It may have been beneficial if an announcement that there was another floor had been made, he said.

Amy Blankenship, spokeswoman for the DMA, said “ideally we'd have it on one floor.” She said that while there were no specific announcements made informing attendees of the second level of booths, sessions were being held on both floors, and there were signs directing attendees to both levels of the hall.

Story reported by Tad Clarke, Stephanie Cutler and Janet Hines

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