The SIA Board Strongly Supports ISC West October 2020By John Honovich, Published Apr 23, 2020, 07:56am EDT
The SIA Board strongly supports the upcoming October 2020 ISC West, amidst heavy SIA member opposition in IPVM's latest survey.
SIA spokesperson Geoff Kohl told IPVM in response to our question "Does SIA support ISC West 2020 exhibitors getting refunds if they do not want to exhibit at the now twice postponed / 7 months later October show?" that:
SIA strongly supports ISC West 2020 and the association will do whatever it can to ensure its success for all attendees. We want each exhibitor to enjoy a successful show. Specific questions about ISC West exhibitor policies should be directed to the Reed Exhibitions team.
SIA Board Position
SIA Board Chairman Pierre Trapanese told IPVM in response to our question, "Is this the position of the SIA Board? Does the SIA board have anything else to add? I ask because many SIA members have complained about the October show and the problems with refunds or credits," that:
It is the position of the SIA Board. SIA does strongly supports ISC West 2020. SIA represents the interests of its membership and are working closely with our membership to ensure such interests are represented. SIA is always discussing ways that could increase the value of its events for its membership, including ISC West and are in ongoing discussions with them.
We are working through this time of uncertainty and ever-evolving conditions to serve our industry and our membership. We understand adaptability is critical through the coming months.
Reed On ISC West Refunds Or Credits
Reed's Event Director for ISC West Mary Beth Shaughnessy responded to IPVM's question noting that "I spoke with multiple manufacturers this week who showed me copies of emails where their ISC West sales rep gave them credits for 2021", equivocating on the issue:
During this COVID-19 crisis timeframe, there are a wide range of circumstances for exhibitors and decisions to make re resources and strategies. Our focus is on being consultative and flexible, and we are working closely to consult with all exhibitors.
Reversal Within Hours
We too experienced this directly. For example, at first, our Reed sales representative told us we could have a refund for the 2020 booth. However, he quickly came back and said we could have a credit but no refund:
After we accepted the credit offer, he rescinded it less than an hour later, saying:
Cancellation Calls Broad
While SIA and the SIA board evidently are strongly supporting the upcoming October 2020 show, cancellation and refund calls are rising, as this excerpt from our recent survey demonstrates:
- "It’s a moral issue for us at this point. Refund the 2020 money and we will see you in 2021. Otherwise, GSX is our go show moving forward. gReed should be ashamed of their behavior with this show."
- "I feel that they do not want to refund mfg money to just cancel which is why they rescheduled. Having ISC West 2020 in Oct and then having ISC West 2021 in March/April is foolish."
- "Other than Reed's bottom line, I'm struggling to find any positives to hosting 2 shows of this (anticipated) caliber over the course of 2 weeks. I think they should cancel the 2020 show and put an extra day on the 2021 show, or something along those lines?"
- "Re-reschedule looks more like a money grab than anything. Aside from valid COVID-19 concerns, July wasn't going to be popular or likely well attended so they (SIA/Reed) are pushing to October to try to avoid having to discuss much less issue refunds to exhibitors."
- "Too close to ISC East, GSX and other end of year shows. They should cancel and put on a virtual showcase of there own if they dont want to refund the money. Then have the show in 2021 and we forget all about 2020."
- "As a manufacturer, we will not be going to ISC West this year and are considering if we will go or not next year. How they handled the refunds (or as it sits now, no refunds) especially at this time when nobody is making revenues, pretty weak response from them."
- "They are officially out of their minds. So disappointing.... 1. It is too close to GSX. To ship equipment and booths from one to another in less than a week is a slap in the face. Shame on SIA and REED. 2. Even this date is uncertain. Cancel the damn show and refund us our money."
- "Only 5 months until the next ISC West. My hope is that they allow manufacturers to skip this show and put monies already spent towards 2021 (unlikely). If nothing else, a discount should be offered considering the likely drastic drop in attendance."
- "We already spent ISC West budget for renting and sending a stand and material to Las Vegas for nothing... Furthermore the way SIA has handled this from the beginning made our company feel cheated. I trust we are not the only one so exhibition should be down and companies will cut expenses drastically so, there won’t be that many attendees. SIA and Reed have handled this poorly."
- "I am more excited about ASIS this year. I have lost some respect for way ISC handled the cancellation and rescheduling this year. I think the best thing they can do is completely cancel this year and focus on making next year extra special to recover."
- "Cancel both ISC events in 2020 and credit for 2021. Exhibitors have already incurred extra costs for this twice rescheduled event."
Moreover, one exhibitor has called for a class-action lawsuit against the show to force refunds, with many supporting them.
The biggest concern manufacturers expressed was poor attendance. They signed up for a show in March with 30,000+ attendees but now they fear a show with far less than half those attendees.
We repeatedly asked ISC West / Reed for an October attendance estimate but none was provided.
SIA Board Stance?
Surely the SIA board, most of whom are ISC West exhibitors and are dealing with all these coronavirus related challenges, understands the issues with the now October planned ISC West.
We would encourage the SIA board to better reflect the concerns of SIA members.
Let The Show Go On But Free Exhibitors From It
If SIA and the SIA Board want to have a show this October, let them have it. But surely they understand that, in the midst of a global pandemic and a recession, that being forced to exhibit at a show that was rescheduled twice over a 7 month period and is bound to have a dramatic drop in attendance is neither fair to the companies exhibiting nor a prudent long term move for their own organization.
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