Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 26 2016

Why One Of The Biggest Global Trade Shows Changed Its Security Guidelines

David McMillin


In early January, approximately 160,000 tech enthusiasts gathered in Las Vegas to experience the newest innovations in wearables, virtual reality, robots and electronics at the Consumer Technology Association’s CES. However, products weren’t the only new piece of CES 2016. The association also adopted a range of new security guidelines for the show floor and conference environment.

“Due to recent global tragedies, we have new security procedures for CES,” a pre-show message on the association’s website said. “This includes bag restrictions as well as additional safety measures that you will need to know before coming to CES.” 

The new security measures included bag searches, metal detector screening, body pat downs, police officers in armored gear, explosive detection dogs and more. This environment may sound more like a security line at the airport than a welcoming trade show atmosphere, but CES organizers face a daunting task of ensuring the safety of an audience bigger than many cities. For attendees accustomed to checking their luggage prior to leaving for the airport, the new measures may have caused issues. The association advised attendees and exhibitors not to bring luggage to the show venue.

The New Normal Of Show Security?

While the majority of meeting professionals are working with audiences much smaller than the crowd at CES, the entire industry is facing the same task: we need to determine how to deal with growing concerns about security. The recent tragedies in Paris, San Bernardino, California and Bamako, Mali have all served as sobering reminders of the challenges of keeping open spaces safe. CTA worked to balance the number one priority — attendee safety — with convenience by offering tips to make the process more efficient in the hopes of keeping entrance lines moving. Here’s a look at some of their recommendations for attendees:

  • Avoid bulky clothing.
  • Leave bags and luggage at your hotel.
  • Limit bags you carry to two and make sure they fit size requirements.
  • Use clear, vinyl or mesh bags to expedite bag search process.
  • Keep your official CES badge and your government-issued photo ID close by as you enter show venues.
  • Pre-register online and pick up your badge at the airport.
  • Build time into your schedule for screening delays.
  • Plan ahead to avoid continuously changing venues.
  • Do not bring luggage to show venue on your last day in Las Vegas.

Are you making adjustments to your organization’s on-site security guidelines? How do you feel meeting professionals and suppliers can work together to make conferences and events safer? Go to Catalyst to share your thoughts and help the PCMA community address this serious issue

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