If you haven’t heard yet, METALCON 2020 is full steam ahead for October 21 – 23 in Las Vegas! METALCONLive! switched gears this week to bring you a LIVE update from the team whose number one priority is to provide the safest and healthiest environment possible for the event.
Moderated by METALCON Co-Founder and CEO, Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, in partnership with the Metal Construction Association, special guests included “live” from Vegas, Brian Yost, chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and Gordon Prouty, vice president of public & community relations from METALCON’s headquarter hotel, the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Additionally, Dana Freker Doody, vice president, communications & public relations and Chris Balak, senior project manager both with METALCON’s exhibition company, The Expo Group, and from our own PSMJ Resources/METALCON team, Judy Geller, vice president of tradeshows and Kalyn Burke, trade show/event specialist and World Health Organization Certified for Public Health Preparedness for Mass Gatherings and Events. Special appearance by Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN VEGAS?
Brian kicked things off with the following update: “Vegas is a glass half-full destination. Since reopening on June 4, the destination has been doing very well with welcoming back visitors. Weekends have been strong and we are starting to see mid-week pick up now too. Casinos that were not slated to open in the first phase are now moving forward with plans to open.”
Significant plans have been put in place based on working with scientific and medical experts and will continue to evolve as new guidelines are issued by Nevada and CDC authorities. The full report will be made available to the public in the coming weeks but Brian explained to the group their reopening plan includes three main parts:
- Making the health and safety of Vegas employees and contractors a priority, eg, provide daily health checks, send home workers who are ill, etc.
- Upgrading all air handlers in the buildings to maximize the intake of fresh air, replacing air filters to near-hospital grade and regularly sanitizing all surfaces.
- Collaborating with all shows and events with a “recommendations-based” plan.
Brian also provided an update regarding air-travel saying, “The airlines are showing their support of Vegas’ reopening by increasing flights on a daily basis, for example, Southwest and Alaska Airlines have added flights from their respective hubs.”
Gordon with the Westgate Resort added:
- The Westgate is preparing to reopen tomorrow (June 18). They will be rolling out their WestgateCARES program and adhering to all Nevada and CDC guidelines.
- He will be staying at the resort for the first week to monitor all of the new safety measures.
- They have three person limits at blackjack tables as well as tables that will be “mask-wearing and smoke-free.”
- The resort will be offering some live entertainment with the reopening but they are waiting to restart the larger cabaret shows for at least a few weeks.
- They will add staff to help enforce safety measures, eg, social distancing, mask wearing, opening doors and elevators.
EXHIBIT HALL INFORMATION
Dana and Chris with The Expo Group shared the following information on what exhibitors can expect to see for the show.
- Staff will be going through a public health and safety certification course; communication and education are key – reminding them to continually wash hands, practice social distancing, and wear face masks while setting up the show. (Dana)
- We will be incorporating plexi-glass at our service center on the show floor, adding sanitation centers in aisles and possibly looking at incorporating one-way traffic aisles. (Chris)
- Booth design won’t change, and as of right now, we don’t expect to limit the number of people in a booth at one time but this will depend on guidelines issued closer to the date of the show. (Dana)
- Suggest stronger “pre-show marketing” and aggressively setting up appointments ahead of time to better control traffic in booths. (Dana)
- Will incorporate the “rise in technology” wherever possible to be as “touchless” as possible. (Dana)
- Not anticipating any issues or changes with how exhibitors will ship their freight into Vegas. The Expo Group will be working closely with the “Advance Warehouse” to ensure a “targeted move-in” meaning they will target exhibitors for a date and time range for them to begin move-in. (Chris)
WHAT WILL BE NEW AT METALCON?
“Buyers and sellers need each other and the timing of the show being in October will help the industry prepare for a strong 2021,” Judy stated. As METALCON enters its 30th year, the show has faced much adversity over the years and is prepared to face this one head on and be stronger for it. Judy went on to announce three new exciting programs to be featured at METALCON this year:
Several questions were asked during the event and either answered live or in the chat. Some of these included:
Q: How do you think attendance numbers will be affected:
A: Brian (LVCVA) said what they are seeing with other clients and shows ia an average drop of about 20% may be expected, driven perhaps by the international travel ban and by those who just aren’t comfortable traveling yet.
Q: How will food buffets be handled?
A: Brian and Gordy (Westgate) both explained that any “touchpoint” is being addressed including food buffets. They will be modified to limit customer touching as much as possible.
Q: How does MCA envision booth “give-away” items. Just about every exhibitor in the past has had candy &/or trinkets and gadgets to give away, etc.?
A: Kalyn (PSMJ/METALCON) responded by saying that the virus lasts 72 hours when away from human contact so as long as exhibitors have had their give-aways boxed for at least 72 hours prior to distribution, they will be permitted to give those away. Suggest limited cross-touching as much as possible.
Q: What will be the badge process and if badges go digital, how will scanning badges work for lead retrieval?
A: We are currently working on the badge system and hopefully moving to digital/touchless badges. These digital badges would be “scannable” for lead retrieval purposes. Lead retrieval software will work on personal smart devices and handhelds MAY still be available to rent but this decision has not been made yet. More information to follow.
Q: Will attendees be required to wear masks?
A: That will depend on what the state and city require at the time of the show. Currently, it is a strong recommendation, not necessarily a requirement. We will have more information closer to the event.
Despite these uncertain times, two things are for certain – 1) The commitment by those involved to make everyone’s health and safety the priority as plans are made for the METALCON event, and 2) METALCON IS the place to be in October for generating sales and for setting up a stronger 2021! In closing, Brian shared, “I had the pleasure of meeting with a METALCON exhibitor last week who said ‘I know Las Vegas can do this and I cannot wait until METALCON!'”
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