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If you read Parking Today, you know all about the Parking Industry Exhibition, or PIE. Sponsored by this magazine, PIE is held in mid-March in Chicago. This year, PIE had 900 in combined attendance (exhibitor personnel and attendees). It began on Sunday and ended at noon Wednesday. The exhibition area had 100 vendors, and was open for eight hours over two days. Intertraffic, held in late March in Amsterdam, is owned

and presented by the Dutch organization RAI. A combined event, Intertraffic features not only parking, but also companies supplying all types of equipment and services for traffic management (street lighting, road building, transportation, security, traffic signals and the like). The event runs for four days and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. There are 800 companies represented (about 150 are parking companies), and more than 20,000 attend from around the world. The number of attendees that focus directly on parking is debatable, but it’s in the 3,000-plus range. Intertraffic Amsterdam is held every other year. Parkex is presented by the British Parking Association

(BPA), which partners with a professional organization to put on the show. Every other year, Parkex is held in conjunction with Traffex at the UK’s National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. It’s a smaller version of Intertraffic Amsterdam, with parking and traffic combined. About 10,000 attend this show. On off-years (like this one), the two- day Parkex is held in London and is about only parking. That makes it considerably smaller, with about 120 exhibitors and just over 1,500 attendees. This year, Parkex was to be held April 17-18 at National Hall, Olympia, London. The IPI Conference & Expo is the largest parking-only event held annually. The venue moves each year, and this year will be June 10-13 in Phoenix. (Last year, it was in Pittsburgh and will be in Ft. Lauderdale next spring.) There are about 200 exhibitors and 1,500 attendees. The four-day event combines the expo with the International Parking Institute’s annual convention and business meetings. The 12 hours of exhibition time is spread over three days. Of the four major events, Intertraffic Amsterdam is the only one presented solely for commercial reasons. The RAI organization owns an extremely large exhibit complex with 11 halls encompassing nearly 800,000 square feet of exhibition space. It hosts more than 40 exhibitions annually, and owns 30 of them. Plus, RAI organizes exhibitions in Istanbul, Beijing and New Delhi. It is an extremely profitable organization. As you can see from the pictures nearby, Intertraffic Amsterdam is a full-blown trade show on the scale of a consumer electronics,

auto or builders show in, say, Las Vegas. Europeans know how to put on these events, with stands/booths that can reach 5,000 square feet; contain second stories, bars and restaurants; and cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars each. Attendance is free. There are few if any seminars; the focus of Intertraffic is getting people in the trade show and in front of its exhibitors. Parkex is a much smaller version of Intertraffic. The

stands are mostly prebuilt with permanent walls and flooring. There are a small number of seminars, a total of eight scheduled this year. Entrance to both the seminars and the exhibition is free. It draws a large number of attendees, considering that the UK population is a sixth of the US’. A BPA social function and gala dinner, at about £115 per person, attracts many of the organization’s members. The IPI show is the “big daddy” of parking events in the US. Its extremely strong history and the fact that many of its attendees are from prestigious municipalities and universities gives this event gravitas in the eyes of exhibitors. Attendance to the full-blown conference is not inexpensive ($675 to $1,075, depending on the date of registration and whether you are an IPI member). Visiting the expo hall is free for the Wednesday session, but if you want to visit exhibits only for other days, you will have to purchase an exhibit hall package for between $190 and $400. Of course, the IPI offers a large number of seminars, keynote speeches, luncheons, networking events and a dynamic trade show that tend to mitigate the cost. The Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE) is a smaller

“boutique” event. The trade show has about 100 exhibitors, and the organizers limit the equipment that can be brought to one piece per 10x10-foot booth. Exhibitors say they appreciate this, as it tends to level the playing field and force exhibit personnel to interact with the attendees on a personal level. Visiting the exhibit hall is free, and conference attendees pay between $395 and $495, depending on their affiliation and the date of registration. PIE sponsors a cocktail reception, lunches in the exhibit hall (for paid attendees), and a number of networking activities. In all cases, whether here or abroad, networking is king.

At each event, the trade show floor is the location for meeting and exchanging contact information.

John Van Horn is Founder, Publisher and

Editor of Parking Today. Contact him at

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