ORLANDO, FL – During my first Medtrade as president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), I heard from exhibitors and speakers that the people who came to their booths or educational sessions were fully engaged. They were decision makers who wanted to check out products that may give them a competitive advantage, a new price point, or a diversification opportunity. They wanted to learn about strategies for success.
There were more than 85 new exhibitors, many new to the industry itself. They were joined by new and enthusiastic providers who have no history to reminisce about—just excitement to attend their first Medtrade. At the First-Time Attendee Orientation, I spoke to one provider who has been in the industry for just three months. He was fired up about home care demographics and where the industry can go—knowing that demand for products in this sector will continue to grow.
This year we kicked off the show with the Washington Update. It was gratifying to see a room full of people who got up early to find out how what’s happening in Washington will impact their businesses. We set a positive tone by focusing on how AAHomecare can help its members by watching their backs on the legislative and regulatory fronts while they pay attention to their bottom lines.
As always, networking was a key reason many attendees came to Medtrade. And none was disappointed. Key industry events such as the Stand Up for Homecare reception were well attended and coveted tickets to premier social events were hard to find.
The VGM Member/Vendor Appreciation Party-Survivor Style (see photo of me with Van G. Miller), the Pride Party, and The MED Group Reception were packed. People networked informally, too. Every night, restaurants along International Drive were full of attendees talking to other attendees, and to exhibitors.
Yes, the show is changing with the times, as seen by the growing role of retail, but people want the education, the product exposure, and the networking. Medtrade is alive and well, even if it is a bit smaller. It’s our industry’s premiere trade show and conference, and it’s still a must-attend event for companies that want to survive and thrive.
Tom Ryan is president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, Washington, DC.