Admit it now, youre going to miss Indianapolis next year when CEDIA EXPO moves to Denver. No? Not even a little bit? Wait…I see a few nods of agreement out there.
I honestly never thought Id feel this way. Back when CEDIA first moved EXPO to Indianapolis in 1999, I thought it was an odd choice too. The convention had been in Dallas, Atlanta, and New Orleans in recent years, and Indy seemed like such a hometown discount sort of decision (CEDIAs headquarters is in Indy, in case you didnt know). It seemed like a bad move, but my feelings changed over the years. Indys not such a bad place. Its easy to get around downtown, you know where everything is, and you must appreciate that Hoosier Hospitality.
Sure, if you dont eat red meat, restaurant options can be a bit limited (unless you know the secret of Massachusetts Avenue.) And, sure, you have to plan ahead a bit when making dinner reservations anywhere, but youd face that in almost any city packed to the gills with conventioneers.
I am not embarrassed to admit that Im going to miss the quaint little city next year. As some of you already know, I grew up in Indy, so my opinions are a bit loaded. But that was back when the city truly was India-no-place. Now its a much better place.
When you compare Indianapolis with other convention towns, its really not so bad. Orlando is a great convention city, especially if youve got kids, but it lacks cohesiveness. Las Vegas is the best trade show town in the country, but CES has a stranglehold on that destination. L.A. and San Francisco are great cities, but too expensive for most of us. CEDIA learned firsthand the unreliability of New Orleans weather in late summer, and I wont go into the reasons why Chicago no longer holds trade show appeal (you might have heard some stories about the big guys running the loading docks).
So when you think about the alternatives, Indy isnt so bad. You cant stay in one place forever, and CEDIA truly outgrew the Indiana Convention Center. I wont miss the lack of flights into the city, its limited hotel space, or even the dinky airport, but Ill miss Indianapolis for other reasons. Say what you want about the Midwest, but its a pretty short flight to anywhere else at the end of the show and, again, that Hoosier Hospitality is pretty comforting. True story: 10 minutes after checking into my hotel room this year at EXPO, a woman at the front desk called to ask me if my room was acceptable. You dont get that treatment in Vegas, baby.
Like many people, Im a creature of habit and I have gotten pretty comfortable attending EXPO in Indianapolis for the past seven years (that middle year in Minneapolis was like a blip on the radar). I knew where everything was, knew how to schedule my time there, and knew where to make dinner reservations. I knew where the Presidents Reception was held on Wednesday night and I had a good idea where I could buy my wife a present before I flew home. It became a bit like the comfort of an old pair of shoes, and Im going to miss it.
And dont think Indy isnt going to forget about CEDIA EXPO anytime soon. Losing the show to Denver was so devastating to the city that it became a political rallying cry for getting a new domed football stadium and convention center expansion bill passed.
Another true story: As I checked out of my hotel room on Sunday morning I noticed a sign by the front door. Well Miss You CEDIA, were the hand-written words written on it.
Yes, it was sort of sad, but it made me smile because it seemed so sincere.