RSNA to shake up exhibit floor with new booth rotation plan

November 25, 1998

Plan may speed setup and benefit smaller companiesIf you're an annual exhibitor at the Radiological Society of North America meeting, don't get too upset (or pleased) at the location of your booth this year. Chances are it will change next year.

Plan may speed setup and benefit smaller companies

If you're an annual exhibitor at the Radiological Society of North America meeting, don't get too upset (or pleased) at the location of your booth this year. Chances are it will change next year. The RSNA has implemented a new booth rotation plan in a move designed to reduce setup headaches and improve traffic flow for smaller companies exhibiting in the nether regions of McCormick Place.

The plan emerged from discussions with small vendors, according to Bob Hope, RSNA managing director of housing, travel, and events. Many of these vendors tend to appear in roughly the same spot year after year, and vendors at the back of the hall have less foot traffic if the big anchor vendors are bunched in the front and middle.

Setup and tear-down problems were other reasons for the rotation plan. If two anchor vendors are located next to each other and are trying to set up their exhibits at the same time, the aisle quickly becomes clogged with crates and personnel.

"There have been some heated arguments about this issue," Hope said.

In implementing the plan, RSNA staffers determined which were the 26 biggest vendors, then split the groups in two, one for each hall. RSNA staff also looked at booth configurations. The two largest booth sizes are 80 x 80-foot squares and 50 x 100-foot rectangles.

"We asked the vendors what suggestion they had for shifting locations, and we came up with kind of a lottery," Hope said. "If Philips, for example, takes a spot in the back of the hall one year, they know they'll be in the front the following year."

Smaller "camp follower" booths that try to stay near specific large exhibitors also will be shifting as well. However, the RSNA plans to keep Publisher's Row and the Hall of Associated Sciences in roughly the same places, Hope noted.

"Also staying in the same place are the large mobile coach vendors like Calumet," he said. "Where they are now is the most practical spot in terms of getting the mobiles in and out of the hall."

Vendors willing to be relocated in 1998 and 1999 will receive a slight advantage in selecting sites for the following years, he added. For most large vendors, the exhibit hall shakeup doesn't pose much of a problem.

"We get to keep the same size booth, so we're not too concerned about where it is for one year," said Jim Burch, director of customer communications at Toshiba America Medical Systems in Tustin, CA. "It's not a permanent relocation, so we don't foresee any major difficulties."

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