Registration for the 2012 IWF, which runs Aug. 22-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center, is well above the 2010 pace. About 800 companies are expected to exhibit, while attendance projections range from 12,000 to 14,000, according to IWF president and CEO Patrick LaFramboise.
“It’s a little bit like a weather forecast — things could change between now and the time we get to August — but we’re expecting to see an increase in attendance for the 2012 show. Business is getting better. People are expected to buy because they are certainly a lot more interested in looking at the new equipment and technology that are facing them today,” says LaFramboise.
“The [IWF] is really something that can’t be missed. If you haven’t been before or it’s been awhile, there will be so much to see in terms of new equipment, resources and suppliers — probably some you’ve never even heard about.”
If high travel costs are a concern, LaFramboise says they can be greatly reduced with organized planning. For example, there are hotels for less than $100 a night within the city’s borders with free parking and easy access to public transportation. Show management also promotes a hospitality program, offering discounts to local attractions for family members to enjoy.
The recession hurt attendance at the 2010 fair, which fell from 2008 levels. Several of the biggest exhibitors skipped the previous the previous IWF, but are back on board in 2012.
“Every [additional exhibitor] makes the show that much stronger,” says LaFramboise. “We really had a great show in 2010. A lot of people gave us good feedback and said the show was bigger than they thought it would be, despite the economy being so bad.
“This year’s key theme is ‘rethink.’ Just like it sounds, it correlates a number of educational programs designed to help business owners reexamine what they’re doing in order to make their businesses better or stronger. It is also geared to help them with preparation for a hopeful economic rebound. The economy is getting stronger and people are seeing more business come their way. Everyone needs to be prepared for when the better times arrive, so you can take advantage.”
To register or for information, visit www.iwfatlanta.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2012 issue.