When I attended PHCC Connect back in October, I thought it was a crowded show, but how I was proven wrong at AHR Expo. AHR Expo brings together manufacturers and suppliers of all sizes and specialties to share ideas and showcase the future of HVACR technology. This year was my first time attending the show, so I had no idea of what I was getting myself into when I arrived at the convention center.
The show took place in the “windy city” of Chicago this year, and it was my first time traveling on a plane for work! I was very excited if you couldn’t tell. I was shocked at the amount of people in Chicago, from the traffic leaving the airport, to when we arrived at the expo where we waited over an hour to get our badges! This show was very well attended, and the attendees had a great time visiting.
Some key things I noticed around the show were the interactive elements that booths were promoting. Here are a few that stood out:
Booths handing out beer and flavored water
Plinko to win “swag” items
A chance to win an E-bike if you gathered stamps from specific booths
Over the last few years, we’ve seen booths utilizing engaging designs to drive traffic and promote brand awareness. Companies continue to make the most out of their booths and get creative to drive traffic.
The podcast pavilion was just as popular as last year with 20 podcasters covering the latest topics in the industry. We can’t wait to see all the upcoming podcasts from the show, and we know they will continue to grow in popularity.
Outside of the show, we had a wonderful time hanging out with our clients Franklin Electric and NIBCO. Franklin Electric threw a customer appreciation party at Roots Pizza where they served beer, wine and lots of food options for its guests. Not to mention, the restaurant was decked out in blue lights, and they were raffling off some great prizes for attendees!
As for NIBCO, we had a wonderful surf and turf experience at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. We got to experience stone crab and a selection of pies including the restaurant’s famous (and amazing) key lime pie.
For this being my first AHR Expo, I would call the show a success! It’s exciting to see everything that’s happening within our industry up close and in person.
Next up was AHR in Atlanta. Now I got a whopping 12 hours at home after Vegas to do some laundry, repack and sleep before heading back to the airport! Anyhow no rest for the weary, as we had 30+ editor/influencer appointments over the course of the show for our clients Franklin Electric & NIBCO. So needless to say it was a jam-packed show!
And the busy schedule didn’t stop at the end of each show day…I had plenty of client dinners every night (we ate very well as you could see by the snippets in the video recap) and customer appreciation parties…highlighted by Franklin Electric’s party at the SkyLounge on top of The Glenn Hotel (spectacular views of downtown and the sunset).
I was also amazed at this show as far as the social media presence and the sheer number of influencers…from the AHR Podcast Pavilion and social media sessions, to the swarms of influencers walking the aisles. The podcast pavilion has grown exponentially in just three years. And the influencers far outnumbered the traditional trade media editors!
By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
The AHR Expo, the preeminent trade show for the HVAC industry is right around the corner. The show runs from January 30th to February 1st at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
AHR just released an optimistic 2017 forecast, based on interviews with more than 1,400 HVACR manufacturers. Because of that, this year’s show promises to be an exciting and educational affair.
Here’s what you can expect:
Over 2,000 exhibitors in 764 product categories
More than 60,000 people expected to attend
200+ education seminars and product demonstrations
ASHRAE Learning Institute Courses and Certification exams
An innovative mobile app complete with agenda maker, interactive floor plan and more features
Of course Las Vegas has no end of off-the-show-floor options. If you need help finding best in dining, nightlife and sightseeing, check out the recently updated Sonnhalter Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas.
I attended the 66thInternational Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition in New York City (January 21-23, 2014). For those not familiar with this trade show, it is the largest HVACR show in the United States, endorsed by 33 leading HVACR industry associations and co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI. This year’s attendance was once again very strong, with more than 61,000 people attending and more than 1,800 exhibitor booths.
Here are five of my observations from the show:
Strong 2014 Outlook – in addition to the positive sentiment of almost everyone I spoke with at the show, the recent ASHRAE/AHR Expo survey forecasts a pretty good year for the HVACR business. Of the 1,000 HVACR manufacturers worldwide surveyed, 79% of the respondents said their prospects for business were either “excellent” (19%) or “good” (60%) for the coming year, 90% of the HVACR manufacturers believe sales will increase and hospitals/healthcare, light commercial and data/telecom centers were the top three market segments identified to be the most promising for 2014.
Trade Publications Are Not Dead – 35+ publications had a presence at the this year’s show, each with their army of sales people combing the aisles for new and potential advertisers; there also seemed to be an increase of international publications covering both Latin/South America as well as Asia.
Technology Continues To Play Strong Role – it seems every year at this show more and more technology is introduced to the products and services showcased, whether it is the software driving these products or the tablets used to control and monitor them. Again this year, there was a dedicated AHR Expo app for the show which not only helped you find your favorite booth, but also had valuable information about the speakers, educational sessions, transportation and local NYC attractions.
Growing International Attendance – exhibitors from more than 30 countries attended the show. Asian manufacturers have been coming to this show for a number of years and 2014 was no different; however I did notice an uptick of Latin/South American as well as European exhibitors and attendees this year.
“Efficiency” Is Still The Buzzword – with the way the economy has been over the last few years I think we have all gotten used to “doing more with less.” In the HVAC market that is nothing new, no matter which aisle you walked down during the show “efficiency” rang out in booth messaging, product benefits and sales pitches.
These are just a few of my observations, but if you attended, I would love to hear any key takeaways you had from the show.
For those of you who plan on attending the AHR Expo later this month in Dallas, we’ve created a guide to get you around the town during your free time and to entertain those important customers.
The guide includes recommendations from our friends who live and work in Dallas on the best restaurants, night life and sightseeing. We’ve even included phone numbers of taxi companies just in case you don’t want to drive.
We hope you have a great show and hope to see you either at the convention center or one of the establishments listed in the guide.