SEMA News—April 2015


Early Planning: The Foundation For SEMA Show Success

Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO It’s only April, but contracts for SEMA Show booth space are rapidly accumulating, and the staff has been busy preparing for booth selection, planning innovative Show features and securing discount programs to help our participants avoid unnecessary costs. With all this activity afoot, the 2015 SEMA Show is looking to be another outstanding event. That’s why now is the time to be laying the foundation for a successful SEMA Show, especially for exhibitors.

One important deadline is coming up April 6, which is the cutoff date for exhibitors to register for Priority Booth Selection. This year’s priority selection process begins May 4. Exhibitors who commit by the deadline will get a head start on planning, which means that they’ll also have sufficient time to prepare for success and save money through the advance rates offered on exhibit and booth services.

To help our exhibitors plan for success, SEMA Show management hosts an annual gathering in Las Vegas called the Exhibitor Summit. This year’s summit is scheduled for June 8–10 and features sessions conducted by trade-show experts. It will include panel discussions and breakout sessions with knowledgeable Show veterans and staff, all designed to maximize your investment, boost company awareness and drive buyers to your booth.

There is no fee to participate in the summit—in fact, participating exhibitors will receive two complimentary hotel rooms per company and gratis meals, so all you have to do is get there. (You can register by going to If you have not taken advantage of the Exhibitor Summit in the past, I urge you to do so this year. The payoff will be immediate at this year’s SEMA Show and for years to come.

Planning in advance for the SEMA Show this year will also mean lower costs. The Show team has secured discounts from major airlines, and so far, 20 hotels in Las Vegas are waiving fees and guaranteeing low rates for rooms booked through the travel and lodging page on We have also been meeting with Show vendors and service providers to explore ways to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Success for the SEMA Show team is measured not by the size of the Show but by the quality of the marketplace for our buyers and exhibitors. To that end, we are taking active steps this year to support the integrity of the Show, which includes stepped up screening to assure a good match between buyer and exhibitor. We are carefully reviewing all applications to exhibit and making sure that the product lines are well suited for success in the automotive specialty-equipment marketplace.

Our focus on quality also extends to buyer attendees. Here at SEMA, we continue to employ new ways to attract the most qualified, motivated buyers. Buyer-outreach plans involve increased activity on every front—targeted advertising, social media, e-mail, direct mail and more—backed by new lists and the most sophisticated data-management techniques available. We pioneered these recruitment methods for 2014 and saw a jump in buyers who in the past might not have participated. For 2015, we’ll be doubling down.

Between now and November 3, when the Show opens in Las Vegas, the team here at SEMA will be working to ensure that the 2015 SEMA Show really is the ideal, comprehensive specialty automotive marketplace where quality exhibitors meet with quality buyers. By making your SEMA Show plans well in advance, you’ll be putting your company in the best possible position to achieve success with your SEMA Show goals.

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