Where’d Design East Go?

As recently as February, United Business Media staff were promoting the then-upcoming Design East trade show.

Big changes and improvements were promised, and given last year’s flat turnout and buzz, they would have been a welcome shot in the arm.

We saw “would have been” because the show has been canceled, with the understated  message on the website telling visitors only, “Thank you for visiting the Design East site. Unfortunately, Design East will not be held in 2013.”

The fact is, it’s really tough to do a great show in certain markets. Even Boston, which has a thriving tech community, doesn’t go out of its way to support these events. Show producers wrestle with the question over whether it makes sense to undertake the expense, effort and risk involved, especially when it might cannibalize other convention offerings.

As an event organizer that has put on shows in the Boston area in the past, we can empathize with UBM’s decision. But we also understand the fragile nature of supplier loyalty, and when you open the door for customers to go somewhere else for their needs, they usually walk through it.