The inaugural WHD.usa was held a couple of weeks ago at 7Springs Ski & Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania from May 19 to 20, 2015.
After a successful WHD.global earlier this year, we arrived at 7Springs with great expectations. Given the rather remote location, getting there turned out to be quite a trip for people from our US office in Boston, not to mention our staff joining in from headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Despite some snags prior to the official show opening, as might be expected at a new exhibition location not typically used by tech-heavy hosting and cloud companies, the show was well organized otherwise.
WHD put a lot of money and effort into organizing their first US event and making it a success. The organization deserves credit for that. Although the overall number of visitors (about 600) could have been higher, we had a steady flow of visitors at our booth, and the quality level was good. As always, it was a great opportunity for us to meet existing partners and talk to new prospects. We were kept very busy in meetings at the booth and our dedicated meeting room over the two-day show. And the networking opportunities, food, live music, and extended bar sessions were great, as usual.
At least 10% of the exhibitors were providers of site building services of some kind, which highlighted the importance of our industry segment for hosting and cloud companies. The latest product release we presented at the show marked the completion of a 360-degree overhaul of our design section in CM4all Sites: we added a completely new design preview section and key visual creative options in line with our goal of helping users create truly responsive websites. Clients appreciated the improvements in that area and the ability to select the optimal design as intuitively and enjoyably as possible. Our added marketing support was again very well received and sought after by existing clients and new prospects. We will, of course, continue to improve our CM4all solutions in this area.
From an exhibitor perspective, we suggest keeping the exhibition space open during lunchtime. Since the show is only two days long, time is scarce already, and all 50+ exhibitors put considerable effort into setting up professional booths and presenting their products and services in the exhibit hall. They should be rewarded with maximum contact time and not be preempted in favor of other activities happening during the lunch break. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the alpine slide, Segway or Flying Fox rides, shooting clays or other fun activities, but people should be free to choose. In terms of venue choice for next year’s WHD.usa, we would appreciate a location that accommodates visitor growth and cuts travel times by being much closer to airports, so that it’s easier to make the most of attending a short event. To the whole WHD.usa team, we say: “Great start, keep up the good work, and stick to your overall concept at next year’s location - wherever it might be in the United States!”
After the show is before the show! So we’re all looking forward to seeing you again in sunny San Diego at HostingCon Global next month.