0 Technicians Virtual show Attracts 471 Visitors

At first glance, it might appear as if you've stumbled into Celebrate GCSAA at the annual Golf Industry Show. But you haven't stepped onto a plane, much less bought a ticket. In fact, you haven't left your office.

This is the second annual International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association Virtual Trade Show .

Other than that you didn't have to spend thousands to get there and walk miles of aisles on the show floor, it's almost like being at a trade show in person.

Held April 19-21, the online trade show initially was designed to provide access to new product information and a one-stop shopping experience for golf course equipment managers and superintendents who do not have the luxury of attending GIS on a regular basis.

Powered by the 6Connex virtual conferencing platform, the three-day online show featured a booth for each of the 13 vendors. Visitors were able to click on video screens and other prompts to access downloadable product videos, literature and educational Webcasts, as well as other information, all from their comfort of their office. Each vendor also had the opportunity to staff its booth with technical and sales reps from remote locations anywhere in the world who could answer attendee questions either through an online chat forum or by an audio/video link through a Web cam and microphone 24 hours per day for all three days.

The site will remain open for 90 days after the completion of the live event. Visitors will continue to be able to download information and watch videos, but there will be no live interaction with company reps.

A total of 471 people registered for this year's show. That's a little more than half of the 875 who registered for last year's inaugural event. Although all the numbers are not in yet, it appears that the number of people who actually attended this year's event is ahead of last year, according to show organizers.

A total of 323 people visited the Bernhard booth at last year's inaugural show. This year, Toro reported 330 unique visitors, although that number is unofficial, and 1083 total visits over the three-day period.

"From what we're seeing, there was about a 90 percent turnout rate from those who registered," said IGCEMA chief executive officer Stephen Tucker, founder of the virtual trade show and equipment manager at The Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Sarasota, Fla.

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