Since we last gathered at the Sands Expo in January, it’s been an exciting and challenging year for the industry as a whole, and in particular for your industry’s trade association and its signature event—the SHOT Show. Throughout the process, our focus has been to maintain continuity for our exhibitors and attendees while delivering a continuously improving SHOT Show experience.
In May, NSSF ended its 30-plus-year association with Reed Exhibitions. After a thorough national search involving the trade show industry’s top management companies, we named Las Vegas–based ConvExx as our new show management partner for the next three years. ConvExx is privately held and has produced more than 200 shows and events, including the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show. Trade Show Executive magazine ranks the SEMA Show as the fourth-largest trade show in North America (SHOT Show is ranked 16th), with 2,250 exhibitors, 135,000 attendees, and more than 1 million net square feet of exhibit space.
ConvExx offers a unique combination of extensive large-show and Las Vegas experience, which will serve our exhibitors and attendees well. Rest assured that ConvExx is a pro–Second Amendment organization. We wouldn’t have selected them otherwise.
We have also struck a new five-year agreement with our long-time partners at Freeman as the official exposition services contractor for the SHOT Show. This new agreement with Freeman provides our exhibitors with the best-in-class services and cost certainty.
Freeman is the leading global partner for integrated marketing solutions for live engagements. It produces more than 4,300 expositions annually, including 135 of the 250 largest U.S. trade shows, and 11,000 other events worldwide. What’s more, the Freeman family is made up of avid hunters and shooters.
Also in May, NSSF selected CSG Creative as its agency of record for marketing the 2014 SHOT Show. CSG was selected at the conclusion of a national account review that included a number of well-known trade-show marketing agencies. Their experience in the trade-show and face-toface event business is unparalleled, and we have enjoyed working with them to make the 2014 SHOT Show the best event yet.
Based in Alexandria, Virginia, CSG Creative is a strategic marketing and creative agency with unparalleled insight into event promotion, branding, and strategy development. Its award-winning creative staff, stellar service, and innovative approaches have made CSG one of the premier agencies in trade-show, conference, and event promotion. We’re confident that our new SHOT Show website and new attendee promotion campaign, combined with our participation in the U.S. Department of Commerce International Buyer Program, will deliver new qualified buyers for our exhibitors.
We’ve also reached new agreements with our official housing partner onPeak, our registration services provider CompuSystems, and our mobile app developer Sherpa. All have done a great job for us, and we look forward to working with them to make the SHOT Show the industry’s “must-attend” event.
Here’s what’s in store for you. You’ll receive the same outstanding customer service you’ve come to expect from NSSF and the SHOT Show, and enjoy the comfortable familiarity of our registration and housing systems. There will be additional newly designed, high-impact signage to help you find your way around, including arrows pointing to the main hall exits on Level 1 and Level 2.
Retailers will have more opportunities to learn new skills and take innovative ideas back to their stores from SHOT Show University and our expanded retailer education seminars. In addition, select retail buyers will be invited to participate in a hands-on shooting range experience on opening morning.
The Law Enforcement Education Program will begin the day before the show opening, providing LE professionals with the opportunity to earn continuing education unit credits while learning from nationally recognized experts.
Outdoor Channel has returned as the Pinnacle Sponsor of the 2014 SHOT Show and will be providing attendees with amenities such as mobile-device-charging stations and Internet hotspots. State of the Industry Dinner attendees will be treated to a performance by renowned illusionists and Second Amendment supporters Penn and Teller, courtesy of Outdoor Channel.
The 2014 SHOT Show is just too good to miss. I hope to see you in Las Vegas.
Chris Dolnack is senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDolnack.