While only 600 attendees showed up (versus the 3,000 anticipated), Sax say vendors were happy. “Our surveys came back saying that the people who attended were serious players in the industry, so quality was strong.”
On a positive note, The Sky Guys used the show to announce its new technology subsidiary Defiant Labs and its first drone product, the DX-3. A long-range, fixed-wing drone, the DX-3 has game-changing features including 25-hour flight time. Long-range drones can’t fully be utilized until government regulations around out-of-sight operations change, so organizers were thrilled to use the show to demonstrate the combined clout of private industry and get parties talking. “It helps apply pressure to move regulations faster,” says Sax.
International UAV Show also got a lot of press mentions—and leads. “Today alone, we’ve had 30 inquiries about our DX-3,” says Sax. “We’re not doing any marketing, so this is continuous follow-up from the show. That’s unbelievable for a drone that costs almost half a million dollars.”
Sax’s advice for others starting a new event? Hire an event professional if you don’t normally run events. A novice himself, he enlisted Vancouver, British Columbia-based Cambridge House International, a company specializing in investment conferences. “They did the majority of the work with respect to logistics, sales, marketing and management,” says Sax.
Also, don’t expect to recoup costs with the first show. Sax recommends giving a new event a five- to 10-year plan to be successful. As for UAV’s plan? Sax is already looking ahead to the 2017 Toronto show, with dates expected to be announced soon—and scheduled well before exams.