Exhibitors Satisfied With Catalog Show Traffic

CHICAGO — Exhibitors at the Annual Catalog Conference & Exhibition at McCormick Place here expressed an upbeat attitude yesterday.

“I think the traffic is moderate,” said Joseph McCluskey, senior vice president at List Services Corp., Bethel, CT. “It's better than Boston.” His reference was to last year's catalog conference in which the exhibit hall was on two floors.

“From an exhibitor standpoint, it was a bomb last year if you were on the second floor, which we were,” he said. “This year is good because it's on one floor, and many marketers and mailers missed the fall show [last year] due to 9/11. So a lot of people wanted to get here.”

Ten badges were swiped at his booth in the first 45 minutes the exhibit hall was open yesterday.

“McCormick Place is a good venue, but one bad thing is that it's far from downtown,” he said.

McCluskey said Monday night “wasn't great” while discussing the opening day of the event, in which the exhibit hall was open only from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Chris Inman, vice president and general manager of Catalog Marketing Services' Marshfield, WI, office, also mentioned Monday's exhibit hall hours.

“I was a little concerned [Monday] at the very late start of the show,” he said. “I would have preferred they open earlier. I wasn't sure people would come for that period of time. People were booking meetings or showing up [yesterday].”

He reported “good traffic” at his company's booth yesterday.

“We're getting what we need to get,” he said. “We're experiencing more interest and are having more meetings at this show than ever before. The booth helps us establish contact, but we need private meetings. People who stop by the booth are shopping and look for snippets of information that lead to longer conversations. We're extremely busy.”

Rick L. Hayes of Communication Logistics Inc., Ferdinand, IN, is getting the amount of traffic he expected.

“The distance to downtown doesn't make a difference,” he said. “It's only a few minutes by cab.

“The feedback I'm getting is that the sessions have been very informative. A lot of our clients have gotten new ideas.”

Vernon L. Carson, president of Web Direct Marketing Inc., Wheeling, IL, a mini-catalog marketing agency, characterized floor traffic as “reasonably good” and “average-plus.”

“We have met some important prospects and clients, and we're looking at efforts to continue programs in the fall based on our success in the spring,” he said. “It looks like it will be a good show. You're getting qualified people, senior management and decision-makers. I'm very pleased. It will be better than last year.”

Following the close of the exhibit hall Monday, dozens of attendees were waiting in a long line for cabs to pick them up at McCormick Place when a rainstorm and high winds forced them back into the hotel that is part of the complex.

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