Smoky Mountain Gift Show reconnects face-to-face at its 55th annual event
The Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir portfolio returned to face-to-face events in November with the 55th annual Smoky Mountain Gift Show, known as the nation’s oldest and most respected event for the resort, gift and souvenir industry. The event took place Nov. 4-7 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and represented half of Tennessee Market Week, which also included the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies (IGES).
The focus was on creating a safe environment for thousands of buyers and vendors to get back to business during a busy, four days of order writing, new products and new connections. The feedback from both exhibitors and attendees post-event was overwhelmingly positive regarding the return to live shows, the need for the events, and the business that got done on the show floor.
This year the show floor had vendors that featured new and best-selling souvenir, novelty and trend items, apparel and clothing, jewelry, nature and wildlife products, green and conservation merchandise, home accessories, lifestyle products, gourmet foods section, lake, mountain and lodge décor, Made in America products, zootique products, collegiate merchandise, games, puzzles and toys, holidays and seasonal items, licensed products, custom logo products and promotional items and personalized products.
Vendors showcased products, met with buyers, shared show specials and took in-person orders again. Several vendors participated in the Product Preview Area; a high-trafficked area for vendors to showcase their newest designs as well as to be voted on by buyers for best new product and best Made in America product. Recherche Furnishings was recognized as the best new product at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show and Amish Farm Soap was recognized for its best Made in America Product!
“We were so thrilled to be the meeting place for the gift, souvenir and resort community to reconnect after such an unprecedented year. We talk with our customers year-round and heard over and over the need and desire to return to a face-to-face setting which is what encouraged us to find every way to meet in-person this year,” commented Christina Bell, show director.“Our goal was to support the industry after a year where many had faced different hardships and provide a safe, productive, and fun meeting space for them to get back to business.”
To further facilitate new connections, the Smoky Mountain Gift Show hosted the MATCH! program for the third consecutive year. This program sets up one-to-one meetings between top buyers and exhibitors to help drive order writing and ROI.
In addition to driving business forward, the top priority was ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. The Smoky Mountain Gift Show event team and management worked closely with the convention center, service providers, hotels, travel partners and state and local authorities to implement control measures to assure strict adherence to every health and safety standard. The Smoky Mountain Gift Show followed government guidelines issued by the CDC, state and local officials with regards to COVID-19 protocols and precautions and enforced a comprehensive We’ve Got You Covered safety plan, which included physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, mandatory facial coverings, daily temperature checks and more.
The Smoky Mountain Gift Show is known for its hospitality and was primed to be the location for the industry to reconnect. While some of the offerings were modified in line with the We’ve Got You Covered safety promise, the event was still able to offer many of the hallmark benefits of the show including daily coffee and happy hours and several giveaways including sponsored goody bags, Mountain Money Madness, Gatlinburg VIP Attraction Pass, and prize wheel with gifts. The team looks forward to 2021 where these events will return along with other staples of the event including the annual Show Party.
The 2021 Smoky Mountain Gift Show will take place November 10-13 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. For more information visit www.smokymtngiftshow.com.