Changes imminent for WVC, NAVC veterinary shows


WVC moving to March; NAVC will consolidate in Orlando convention center.

Two major veterinary conferences-Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) and the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) Conference-are planning big changes for the years ahead. WVC in Las Vegas will move its long-standing date of mid-February-typically over President's Day weekend-to the first week of March, while NAVC is consolidating its conference from three separate locations to one larger convention center in Orlando.

WVC moves to March

WVC decided to change its dates because of increasingly tight space in the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, says David Little, chief executive officer for WVC. In the last several years the veterinary conference has shared space with MAGIC, one of the world's largest fashion trade shows. While WVC brought in roughly 14,000 attendees at this year's conference, MAGIC had 65,000. “We all have had kind of our own place, but it's just a lot of pressure with that many people in the building at one time,” Little told dvm360.

Joe Loggia, chief executive officer of MAGIC's parent company, UBM Advanstar, says MAGIC's space requirements have grown by 30 percent since 2010.

“While some of this growth has been accommodated in sections located at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a substantial portion of it is located at the Mandalay Bay,” Loggia says.

Juggling both shows in the same location, along with the regular tourist traffic, hasn't been ideal for either show since the two began co-locating at the Mandalay Bay in 2013.

“It's just not the best experience we have had for our attendees,” Little says.

Loggia says each group tried to minimize interruptions to the other, but Little says the amount of traffic generated by the two shows made it difficult to navigate around the hotel.

Little says WVC got some pressure from the city of Las Vegas and the Mandalay Bay to move its dates to accommodate MAGIC, but Loggia says MAGIC and the WVC leadership jointly reached a solution with the help of the Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to set dates that would work for both shows.

Loggia says UBM Advanstar-also the parent company of dvm360 and the CVC veterinary conferences-has had a strong relationship with WVC for many years, even publishing program guides and helping to create procedural surgical videos in partnership with WVC (see Loggia and Little say attendees at both shows should benefit from the impending changes.

“Honestly, I don't think the change for us will be that noticeable. We're not worried that it's going to impact attendance,” Little says. “For those people that are there, they will have a more pleasant experience.”

Little says WVC is offering a lot more than it has in the past, with more training throughout the year, plus WVC Academy at the Oquendo Center, a large veterinary training facility. He says he believes that the future for WVC lies more in its continuous offerings throughout the year than in the annual conference, which will run from March 6-10 in 2016, and in early March in subsequent years. “People want customized, personalized experiences,” he says.

NAVC moves to convention center

Another convention looking to streamline its conference and improve attendees' experience is the annual NAVC show in Orlando. In the past, NAVC has been spread over three Orlando locations-the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Convention Center, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center and the Orlando World Center Marriott.

NAVC attendance reached a high this year at 16,383 compared to 15,600 last year and around 14,000 from 2009 to 2011, says Megan Golden, NAVC vice president of customer experience. However, the bigger issue than attendance-aside from inconvenience for attendants who have to travel between three locations-is exhibit space. “We have no room for any more exhibits,” Golden says. “There's a lot of growth in the industry that we haven't been able to accommodate.”

The conference remained split between the locations for this year's show, which ran from January 17-21 and featured 650 exhibitors in the two exhibit halls. Next year's show, slated for January 16-20, will remain split between the three locations, but Golden says NAVC is finalizing plans now to consolidate the convention starting in 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando.

The OCCC is adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Orlando and there is also a Hilton hotel within walking distance, Golden says. She says more details will be revealed in the coming months, but the move will allow attendants to stay in one location for the whole event and make moving between exhibits easier.

Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer who lives in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a former staff reporter for dvm360 magazine.

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