Tucked away in a corner of the first floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, there’s a war room.
The nine or so staffers there are working feverishly on iMacs this week, all in the name of putting out the 98-page SEMA Show Daily.
Empty computer boxes are stacked in the far right corner, waiting until they’re packed again in a few days.
White tablecloths cover long, rectangular tables that surround the perimeter of the small room, and gray office chairs round out the furniture offerings.
Other than a humble posted sign that reads “Show Daily” on the door, there’s no other indication the crew is inside, a contrast to everything else about conventions that seem to spoon feed attendees location information.
Most trade shows that come through Las Vegas produce a Show Daily of sorts, a targeted publication recapping the day’s most significant events throughout the convention’s entirety.
The SEMA editorial staff, led by director John Stewart, is producing four this week with the help of local printing company Creel. Creel also prints SEMA’s show directory and all other materials handed out at the events.
“We have a lot of business with Creel,” Stewart said.
Other Las Vegas companies, too, are involved with the show somehow.
In the middle of it all on the show floor, there’s Shark Kage, a Las Vegas company that debuted its multi-use ramp for loading motorcycles, ATVs and other vehicles. The ramp serves six functions: ramp, bed extender, tool box, cargo cover, work table and sunshade structure.
At the show, Shark Kage won SEMA’s Exterior Accessory New Product Award out of 2,000 new products.
Alison Wainwright’s company, Las Vegas Mannequins, has a presence on the show floor too: Her fiberglass mannequins are featured at about 10 SEMA booths this year.
The local business also has contracts with many of the other conventions that come through the city.
“We are the exclusive vendor for MAGIC. We have thousands of mannequins at MAGIC at any one time,” Wainwright said.
Her company also handles all the other fashion-related tradeshows that come in August and February, including WWIN and Curve.
“It’s good. We’re busy. Even when the economy went bad, we’ve had positive growth every year,” Wainwright said.
Next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, the LVH is providing exhibit space to SEMA for the first time since the show started coming to Las Vegas in 1977.
“Not only do we have a portion of the exhibits, but we also are housing the registration for all attendees,” said LVH Vice President of Sales, Sam Messina.
The combination has resulted in increased foot traffic throughout the LVH, which has translated into an increase in room nights booked and higher revenues throughout the property’s restaurants, gaming, retail and entertainment venues.
“It gives the property great exposure,” Messina said.
SEMA is using 30,000 square feet of LVH’s pavilion for exhibit space and 13,000 square feet for registration.
“Having those two components at the property is a win win,” Messina said.
He added that the SEMA customer profile is one that fits nicely with who the hotel-casino wants inside: small business owners who don’t mind taking risks and enjoy having fun.
Another local company, Convexx, handles convention management for SEMA, which runs through Friday.
Inside the SEMA editorial room, nine full-time staffers create the Show Daily with help from local contractors, mostly photographers, who are brought on to help.
“We will generate 20,000 photos in these four days,” Stewart said.
The staff produces four issues, including one in advance of the show. Finished pdfs have to be sent to Creel by 5 p.m., creating tight deadlines for the folks who normally work on a monthly publication schedule.
“There are times when we’re shouting at each other, and there are times when it’s really quiet,” Stewart said.
To help with the deadlines, story slots are carved out well ahead of time, with 31 live stories being covered in two days.
“Tell us what you’re going to do in August and I’ll make space for you in Show Daily in November. Don’t tell me in November, because by then everybody else’s spot is pretty much taken up,” Stewart said.
The staff also feeds photos to outside media, from bloggers to television shows.