For full diclosure I started writing this post yesterday before the news of air travel chaos fully erupted (ouch that was bad). I think it holds up more so, even with the outcome not yet determined. I am eagerly looking forward to the London Book Fair. Looking back, 2009 was a poop sandwich for most people, served without the bread. The expecations for LBF in 2009 were appropriately reduced along with the number of staff from most organizations. Well a funny thing happened, people who were at LBF to do business, did business. Maybe it was not a record year of deals, but all things considered it was a great show. My evidence is the fact that BEA signed up 7 companies that took nearly 1,000 sq. ft. for BEA 2009, which was a mere 5 weeks away. People had started deals in LBF and looked to BEA to maintain momentum. The fact is to be succcessful at any trade event, your organization has to plan and set meetings that will lead to productive business. Showing up, standing in a well appointed booth and expecting that business will find you is not much of a plan. No matter how dire the business climate or conditions of the airspace, people that will make the effort to attend a trade event under those conditions are the ones that will be the most prepared to make that event worth while. This was also proved true at BEA 2009 when the expectations were at a nadir. BEA 2009 turned out to be a great show. Maybe it was not the best BEA ever, but it was busy, books got made, deals were done and it gave the BEA the opportunity to continue to evolve in a way that will serve the publishing industry in a meaningful way.
I am sure I will have more problems with the Van Wyck Expressway and American Airlines than I will conducting business at London Book Fair. My fingers are crossed that airspace will clear and I will be enjoying pint with my friends from Combined Book Exhibits.