Medtrade 2017: A shorter, but upbeat and refreshing, show

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Friday, October 27, 2017

ATLANTA – The mood at Medtrade 2017 was palpably up, say show organizers.

While attendance was down slightly, it was in line with projections and it was to be expected now that competitive bidding has forced about 40% of providers to close their doors, says Kevin Gaffney, group show director.

“(The mood) was significantly better than last year, to the point where I can feel it,” he said. “There’s progress being made (on a number of industry issues) and good things are happening.”

This year’s Medtrade, held Oct. 23-25 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, marked a new era for the HME industry’s largest trade show, with a shorter schedule of three vs. four days, though expo hours were extended to 5 p.m. each day, and the overall number of conference sessions remained steady at about 60.

Reconnections and introductions

Judi Taylor, the event planning manager for longtime exhibitor DJO Global Brands, feels it’s important to have a presence at Medtrade.

“The show was pretty good,” she said. “We will probably pick up a few new customers for diabetic shoes and braces, but it’s generally our existing customers that we see here.”

Amber Watt, the owner of exhibitor Breathe Technologies, said floor traffic was a bit slow, but overall, she was pleased.

“People stopping by our booth are definitely wanting to switch products,” she said. “I am more confident with the leads I’m getting this year.”

A ‘refreshing’ experience

Gaffney estimates that a large majority of attendees were focused on learning about the latest and greatest products that exhibitors like DJO and Breathe have to offer. Count provider Meir Tsinman among them.

“They definitely have the right, popular brands at the show,” said Tsinman, president of online provider medicalsupplydepot.com. “A commode is a commode, but something like a rollator, something that is refreshing, that is what I am looking for.”

Closing time

To entice attendees to stick around until 5 p.m. on the show’s final day, a reception was held on the show floor, with four open bars and two food buffets. A cash prize drawing for $5,000 was also held at 4:45 p.m. Provider Sandra Chisolm from Heritage Home Medical in Wichita Falls, Texas, was the big winner.

“I’m really…good,” said the dazed Chisolm, holding a large check.

Will the change stick?

It’s too early to say whether next year’s Medtrade, slated for Oct. 15-17 at the GWCC in Atlanta, will have the same schedule, or something entirely different, show organizers say.

“We will continue to look at the schedule today—and in the future,” Gaffney said. “The final day could be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or 4 p.m.”