Last night I received the attendance numbers for the 2013 RMAF. Given the number of exhibitors who told me that they felt the attendance was down from last year, I expected to see lower total attendance figures, but that wasn't the case.
The 2013 RMAF had attendees from twenty countries and forty-one states. The total number was 3,759 warm bodies, with 6% of them students and 12% seniors. Exhibitors came from twenty-six different countries and forty-two states. The exhibitor personnel totals were 1,196, or 3.1 attendees per each exhibitor. Press accounted for 130 more folks, from 56 different outlets. To run 2013 required 101 volunteers from 15 different states.
According to show director, Marjorie Baumert, "We had 150 more exhibitors (individuals)...We had the same number of exhibitors (companies) in the main rooms but CANJAM added a few more this year. Approximately 431 companies were represented."
Perhaps the perception of lower attendance was due to the fact that CANJAM was larger and far more attendees spent time there than previous years. One volunteer commented, "One thing that was very different was the amount of people in the CAN-JAM space. Two years ago there was hardly anyone in there the times I stuck my head in, this year it was packed every time I went in there, that would significantly reduce the traffic in other parts of the show while leaving the total numbers similar to previous years."
Whether the "quality" of RMAF attendees was better of worse than prior years will only be determined during the next couple of weeks and months as exhibitors work through the leads generated at the show. Given that "lower attendance" can translate into more quality time for those who did spend time in particular rooms, exhibitors may find that in the long run the 2013 was a more fruitful and financially compelling show than previous years. Only time will tell.