BANNOCKBURN, IL – For Apex and Los Angeles, it’s one and done.
The Apex/IPC Printed Circuits Expo trade show will relocate to Las Vegas in 2008, show producer IPC said Monday. In a letter to exhibitors, IPC said the combination of a 12% drop in attendance coupled with an apparent distaste for the Los Angeles Convention factored heavily into the decision. Attendees, said the group in a letter issued Monday to exhibitors, said, "Los Angeles was the number one problem over and over again. In short, the location was not a positive experience."

IPC said the show would move to Mandalay Bay, a prominent Las Vegas casino and convention center. The timing will also change. Traditionally a February show, the 2008 edition will take place April 1 to 3.
IPC said it would pay a $750,000 penalty to cancel its contract with the Los Angeles Convention Center. The association will raise exhibit prices by $4 a square foot – to $23 – to underwrite the cost. Based on last year’s floor size of 161,400 net square feet, revenues from exhibit space rental alone would increase to 21% to $3.71 million. It’s not clear whether the increase is permanent, or a one-time hike to recoup costs.
To make the move, IPC had to kill a deal to return to Los Angeles. IPC reportedly had a commitment to the LACC for 2008, with an option for 2009.
It marks the first time since 1994, when IPC Printed Circuits Expo debuted in Boston, that the event would be held outside California. Venues of past events were San Jose, San Diego and Long Beach. Apex debuted in 2000 and has never been sited outside Southern California.
Just how much visitors disliked Los Angeles is open to some debate. However, the data were clear: Fewer people came. How many fewer is a lingering question: While IPC’s statement today claimed a 12% drop, according to press releases on IPC’s Web site, attendance for the 2006 and 2007 shows was 6,000 and 5,087, respectively, a 15% falloff.
Below is the complete text of the letter sent to exhibitors Monday.
To: IPC Printed Circuits Expo and APEX exhibitors    
Subject:  We came, we saw, we’re moving

Dear Colleagues:
The 2007 IPC Printed Circuits Expo and SMEMA Council APEX conference and exhibition in Los Angeles is behind us. Based on the feedback of the attendees as well as many of the exhibitors, we have reached a unanimous decision to move the event to Las Vegas in 2008. 
Yes, this was a decisive decision – but tough times call for tough action. We initially chose Los Angeles because the LA Convention Center was the only location on the west coast, which had the space to host the APEX/Expo event in 2007 and beyond. At that time, there were no first quarter convention center dates available in 2007 in San Diego, Long Beach or Las Vegas.
There was push back about our choice. We believed we could make lemonade out of lemons. We thought we could overcome the negative perceptions of Los Angeles – the arduous commute from Orange Country to the convention center; the urban grittiness of downtown LA; and the lack of convenient hotels to the convention center. We were wrong.
Exhibition attendance was down 12 percent. Event attendees, in a poll taken by IPC, ranked Los Angeles as the number 1 problem over and over again. In short, the location was not a positive experience. Attendees didn’t like the location and didn’t want to come back. I’m sure, as an exhibitor, you may have heard similar comments from your customers.

The trade show subcommittees, during their meeting in Los Angeles in February asked IPC to research possible alternate trade show locations and report back to the subcommittees as soon as possible.

IPC staff met with the trade show committees a couple of weeks ago to evaluate the research. Again the answer for Long Beach, Anaheim and San Diego was the same:  No availability. However, space at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, for April 1 – 3, 2008 had just become available and space was also available for these dates in 2009 and beyond.

The bottom line: The APEX/Expo trade show subcommittees unanimously voted to move the two shows to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. In turn, the PCB Suppliers Council and the IPC SMEMA Council also unanimously voted to support this decision.
Las Vegas
The committees all agreed that Las Vegas would be an extremely positive step in the right direction. And statistics seem to support that decision. IPC obtained a recent survey conducted by Exhibit Surveys Inc., an independent research firm. The company evaluated the impact on exhibition statistics for shows moving to Las Vegas and also analyzed the quality and activities of the attendees.

The survey results are based on exhibitions held in Las Vegas that were held in another city the prior year. Eighty-seven percent of the shows in the survey experienced an increase in attendance the year the show moved to Las Vegas.  The average increase in attendance over the previous year was 21%.
There are however downsides to Las Vegas.  IPC has two years worth of contracts in  os Angeles. As a result, the association could experience a penalty of nearly $750,000 to cancel the event in Los Angeles.
To address this expense, IPC will increase space rates by $4 a square foot. We would like to remind you this is the first space rate increase in the history of either event – eight years for APEX and 16 years for Expo. In addition, sleeping room rates at the Mandalay Bay will be higher than Los Angeles although there will be other options for attendees.
We believe this move will be a great, positive change for attendees and exhibitors alike. And in addition to the exhibition, IPC still plans to hold a world class technical conference as well as standards development meetings. Will the technologists attend the meetings in Las Vegas? We think they will. IPC had its fall meeting in Las Vegas two years ago and they experienced great attendance and productive meetings.
With this change we are responding to the membership and the customers. We look forward to your continued support for IPC Printed Circuits Expo and APEX events – two events which I’m sure you will agree are by and for our industry. 
Best Regards,
Jeff Timms, Chairman, APEX Trade Show Subcommittee,
Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc., Electronics Assembly Systems
Fred Johnson, Chairman, IPC Printed Circuits Expo Trade Show Subcommittee, Schmid Systems, Inc. (USA)
Mark Jankowski, Chairman, IPC PCB Suppliers Council Steering Committee, MacDermid
Pierre de Villemejane, Chairman IPC SMEMA Council Steering Committee, Speedline
Denny McGuirk, IPC President  

P.S. You are the first to hear about our move to Las Vegas. Tomorrow, we intend to send a press release announcing the move and we also intend to send the trade show operations staff more detailed information.
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