RSNA shows no sign of budging over increased exhibit charges

July 3, 1996

Vendor rebellion may be losing steam Industry concerns about the rising cost of exhibiting at the annualmeeting of the Radiological Society of North America receivedlittle more than polite attention from the society's officersat a June 24

Vendor rebellion may be losing steam

Industry concerns about the rising cost of exhibiting at the annualmeeting of the Radiological Society of North America receivedlittle more than polite attention from the society's officersat a June 24 meeting, where exhibitors met to discuss logisticsfor next November's gathering in Chicago.

Prior to last week's meeting, some executives in the industrysent letters to RSNA leaders protesting rate hikes to be implementedat this year's annual convention (SCAN 6/19/96). Vendors are beingasked to pay more for exhibitor space, headquarters suite space,and drayage, as well as for aisle space separating their booths.

The RSNA said it would discuss vendor concerns at last week'smeeting, but two industry sources who attended said that executivedirector Del Stauffer merely summarized the increased chargesand invited concerned company representatives to attend a meetingof the RSNA's corporate relations committee in New Mexico in August.

"That was it, and nobody else brought it up, even at theend of the meeting," one source said.

Michael O'Connell, RSNA director of meetings and convention services,declined to discuss the increased charges, noting that policyissues are to be discussed only "within the board and committeestructure set forth in the society's bylaws."

The vendor community's next step is anyone's guess. Exhibitorscould reduce the size of their RSNA booths, as some have threatenedto do. But exhibit planners are skittish about making size changesthat are noticeable to visitors. Many company executives believethat the size of their booths indicates to prospective clientsthe company's standing in the marketplace, and fear that a dropin floor space may be interpreted as a slip in the pecking order.

Conceivably, all the major vendors might be persuaded to reducetheir booth space proportionately; barring that, modest cutbacksmight be implemented by individual companies without customerfallout resulting.

"We're not going to reduce (our booth) by 50% but I think10% or 20% is certainly not out of the question," one sourcesaid.