International Sign Expo Feels the WOW Factor

The ISA International Sign Expo has been a staple of the sign industry since 1947. What began more than 60 years ago with 50 booths, has evolved into the fifth fastest growing show on Expo Magazine's list of the Top 25 Fast-Growth Shows. The 2011 exhibition drew 19,000 attendees and over 195,000 net square feet. It is the largest sign show in the world. With such a significant event, it was critical for the International Sign Association (ISA) to automate booth sales and selection, invoicing, reporting, exhibitor listings and the conference agenda.

To bring the exhibition management solution into alignment with the changing needs of show managers, exhibitors and buyers, the association invested in the a2z platform. ISA upgraded to a suite of state-of-the-art modules including a2zShowEZ for expo management and then they added the conference module and enhanced eBooths. They also added the ChirpE web-based mobile solution to give exhibitors more visibility and attendees more access to show information from any web-enabled device.

Bill McGlade, ISA manager, exhibitor sales, noticed some immediate improvements in productivity after the switch to a2z. "During crunch time, it makes a huge difference. The two extra minutes it used to take to manually enter a contract into the system doesn't sound like much, but it added up. Those extra hours from here and there are now better utilized to actually sell," he says. Exhibitors and attendees have responded positively also. "They love logging in, paying online and printing a floor plan," he adds.

  • Better browser compatibility
  • More intuitive user interface
  • Rich, detailed reporting capabilities—especially the Weekly Sales and Pacing Report that showcases and compares weeks-out progress that they are looking forward to using having loved it in the demo
  • More promotional tools to help exhibitors build their online eBooth profiles
  • More flexibility and ease for changing booth configurations
  • Better usability on mobile devices including iPhones and iPads
  • Enhanced administrative security with PCI compliance
  • Better zoom functionality for floor plan

For McGlade, the upgrades have made a great personal impact as well. The ability to easily modify the floor plan layout or reassign booths to accommodate exhibitor requests was a game changer, and the real-time booth sales updates have actually helped him to sell more space. "[With the online floor plan] I can see how much floor space is left to my goal and what's left to sell. If I know that I only have 5,000 more square feet to sell before I meet my goal, I push myself harder to make it," he explains.

Next Steps:
2012 will be the first ISA show powered by a2z's show management platform. As the organization moves forward with the solution, they will collect historical data to flesh out a better picture of the show's profitability and growth. McGlade plans to meet with a2z post-show to learn more about the features of the various modules. "There are lots of functions in a2z's platform that we don't even use or I didn't know we had. I look forward to making use of all the extra capabilities," he says.

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