Going into Global, I knew that it was going to be big. I had heard the rumors for years about just how enormous it was, but I don't think anything prepared me for just how massive the expo was. I was very fortunate to have my friend Julie with me, she being a veteran having attended many times since she lives very close by. When I first walked into the convention center I am sure I looked like a hick from the backwaters of Maine, because even the lobby outside the convention center impressed the carp out of me and I ended up taking a photo and texting it to my husband.
To help you get an idea of just how big it was, this is one view from a walkway that goes over the convention center. I had to take three photos of one side to attempt to capture just how big it was. If you want, you can take a look at the floor plan. (Don't do it if you don't have good bandwidth and some serious RAM on your device or it will slow things down)
Facing the other side:
The 2017 expo had 1,130 exhibitors and 3,435 booths of which 223 first-time exhibiting companies! The show was sold out, and despite this, we very rarely felt the impact of so many people. If you wanted to talk to someone at a booth, there was generally someone immediately available or you had to wait for them to finish their conversation. It wasn't like a lot of other expos and shows I have gone to where there are four and five (or more) deep and you either had to wait or come back.
The show featured 13 football fields’ worth of pet products, more than 3,000 product-launches Which made it interesting to figure out which products were currently in the market that we could talk about, and which ones are coming soon.
Julie had the fab idea of taking notes on the business cards we got so she would know what info was obtained about the products. I was not so smart... well I did take some notes, but my chicken scratch really let me down on a couple of occasions. I'm sure when I sit down in front of my computer and look up the companies again and reach out to them it will all become clear. One company, Carlu, I really hope to work with has this super adorable camper. They are an international company, and I found them on the last day of the convention when everyone was a bit glassy-eyed from everything that had just occurred, so I'm not sure they knew what I was asking of them, but if all else fails, I'm sure I can find a place to buy it... eventually
Considering the number of booths, and all the information I gathered, I received very little in way of product from the show. That is okay, though. I found two companies that I was thrilled to make contact with because of previous history. The first was Cat-it and their Magic Blue product. I tried this in the past and I love it. It is designed to go in the litter box, but I use it in the kitten trash to reduce the smell. I wanted to blog about it but I had been having a very hard time getting the refills so I held off. The man I was talking to said they are going to redesign and rename the product - which is probably a good thing because when I just say "Magic Blue" you have no idea what I am talking about; it could be a cleaner or it could be a children's toy..
The other was the company that makes "The PURRfect Cat Toy". As you can see from the photo above, the one I have had for years is in a 'well used' state of being. The kittens all LOVE this toy and it has put up with YEARS of
Anyway, back to my experiences. I knew there would be a lot of walking, but I was beyond unprepared for just how much there was. One smart attendee, Christie from Life With Beagle, brought homemade foot soak to give out to other bloggers. Next time I go I am definitely bringing a couple of pairs of shoes. The sneakers I brought were adequate, but walking so much on one pair of shoes was a bit hard on my feet. I think if I had brought a second or even a third pair my feet wouldn't have ached so much from hitting the same part of the shoe over and over.
Despite the ban on rolling carts, several booths gave out boxes on rollers, so I think if I attend again I would buy something that has rollers so not everything has to be carried on my shoulders all the time.
I was not the target audience for most of the exhibitors. A great number of them were there to sell their entire inventory directly to someone there buying it for resale. Despite my ID clearly saying "PRESS" most people immediately dropped into their spiel of how much things cost wholesale and how you could increase the number of times people came into your shop by doing such and such. That was fine; this was a business expo and not a press junket. It would have been helpful to me (and I'm sure others) if there was a designation on booths that were simply distributors looking to sell other people's product vs manufacturers who were happy to talk to us about their products and why they were the next best thing, but it was quickly apparent once you started talking to them, so it wasn't that much of a hardship.
I am not much of a traveler, preferring to stay home with The Crew, so I don't know if I will go again next year, but this is definitely something that would get me out of the house in the future.