We went to the AHR Expo in Chicago this week and all we got were these iSqFt t-shirts. Okay, we also saw a lot of really great booths and talked to some great people. I spoke with Perry Seal, one of our Product Managers, about what he learned, and this is what he shared.
- McCormick Place has two separate convention halls, and this convention needed them both. I’ve been to several events at McCormick, but never had to move between halls to see customers. Additionally, for someone who likes to stride with some pace… it was impossible, every “hallway” between booths was crowded, there simply wasn’t real estate to move around people and get where you wanted to go any faster than a slow meander.
- A trade specific convention attracts a different crowd. Whereas “construction industry” shows like Greenbuild or AIA are well regarded and well attended, it’s primarily by AEC firms, rather than trade contractors. For a show that specifically caters to a single trade, contractors are very involved, which makes for very different conversations (“what’s the design benefit”, vs. “how long will this take me to install” or “what is the lead time for shipment here” for instance).
- We were part of the “software” solutions wing of the conference, and there were quite a few industry specific, and contractor specific software tools (field management, finance reporting, document storage/retrieval) that were exhibiting beside us. The conversations with our neighbors opened my eyes to all kinds of integration possibilities.
- The line for Starbucks was absolutely ridiculous. As someone who likes their coffee in the morning, the fact that they had airport security style line organizers, just to get a cup of joe was really disappointing. What was interesting though, was the live video feed of the line length at the other Starbucks location inside the convention center, so you could see which line would get you to your caffeine faster.
- It was awesome to have the convention in a city that was so close to our home office – there was never any shortage of people to staff the booth, and we had pods of employees walking around the trade show with our brand emblazoned on their shirts. Guerrilla marketing at its best!
You can check out some of our favorite pictures below.
What do you think of our AHR Expo recap? Did we miss anything?