NSSF officials say the four-day show, Jan. 18-21, at the Sands Convention Center--with more than 1,400 exhibitors--promises to be "A Target Rich Environment" for business.
"This has been a very good year for the industry," said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. "Everything seems to be breaking our way. This is one of those times when you almost want to pinch yourself to be sure it's true."
Bob Scott, NSSF chairman of the Board of Governors, is also enthusiastic about the 2011 show.
"A new SHOT Show logo is just the beginning of what's new and changed at this year's SHOT Show," he said. "We're returning to Las Vegas, where you can see the latest new products and key industry leaders, and gain the competitive advantage you need to make 2011 a great year."
Much of the change centers on improvements to the convention center, and the show's organization and navigational efforts, which drew major criticism during and after SHOT Show 2010.
"This venue is better than it was a year ago, because we cried long and loud based on the comments we received from both exhibitors and attendees who were at the 2010 show," Sanetti said. "We've been talking to the Sands constantly, and I'm sure they've gotten the same complaints from others, as well."
The Sands has upgraded a number of facilities, including restrooms, and added escalators to make it easier to move between the exhibit halls: Level 1 and Level 2.
"They're also adding more places to sit down and to eat. There's a brand-new roof on the Sands, so if we get rain again, it won't leak like it did last year. We appreciate the input from everyone; we're listening, and we want to make this experience better than the last show," Sanetti said.
Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer, who leads NSSF's SHOT Show team, has been working with the Sands to iron out the challenges experienced by exhibitors and attendees. He says one reason the 2010 show was difficult was it was the first time the event had been in an unfamiliar facility in more than a decade.
"We had near record attendance in a smaller venue," Dolnack said. "So we had some issues with navigation and space constraints. However, the Sands has made improvements to the facility, and is continuing to make further improvements that will result in more places to sit and wider aisles, with more room for people to move around.
"This will be our exhibitors' second lime in the venue, so there will be more comfort with it from that standpoint. Reed Exhibitions (show producer), the Sands and NSSF all are doing everything we can to improve the exhibitor and attendee experience for the 2011 show, based on what we learned at the 2010 show."
To improve the show and to make it more shooting and hunting oriented, NSSF has taken a "hard look at exhibitors," and implemented more restrictive guidelines on who may exhibit.
"Our goal is to 'right size' the show so the aisles are a bit wider and things won't be so crowded," Sanetti said. "We review all...