It’ll likely be just as sunny, only a tad hotter. Attendees of The IR Show’s July 2024 and 2025 editions will be at the Horseshoe Las Vegas Meeting and Convention Center in Las Vegas. The January editions will remain at the San Diego Convention Center.
“While we love San Diego, we had no choice but to find alternatives for our July 28-30, 2024, and July 22-24, 2025 events,” says Gary Hauss, show director. “Comic Con, the largest pop culture event in the U.S., is held in July in San Diego and takes over the entire city. The only alternative dates would have been too early or too late, and the spaces available were just too small.”
Hauss is playing the hand he’s been dealt, leaning into making the Vegas editions as economical, impactful, and enjoyable as possible. For starters, he views it as a sort of homecoming, particularly for the comfort sector, which has been largely absent from the city since the WSA Show. “We’ve always loved Vegas, and it just seemed like the perfect fit at the perfect time,” he says. “We got the dates and space we need, and while San Diego is easy to get to and the hotel rates are good, Vegas is even easier to get to and our hotel rates ($140 a night including a $35 resort fee) are incredible. Plus, everything will still be under one roof.”
As for what’s under that roof, The Horseshoe (formerly Bally’s on The Strip) recently underwent a multi-million-dollar transformation. The convention center is part of the hotel, making it easily accessible for attendees. The hotel is also attached to Paris Las Vegas, offering plenty of dining and entertainment options without having to drive or walk in the heat. “Everything is new, and the rooms are beautiful,” Hauss says, noting that a key objective is to keep costs in check. “For the July ’24 show that includes one hotel room for three nights per 10×10 of exhibit space.” (Exhibitor fees and further details can be found at TheIRShow.com.) Travel costs, he adds, should be less, as there are plenty of direct flights and hotel rates, in general, are cheaper.
Hauss reports feedback about the move is positive. “Brands believe this could be a game-changer,” he says. “They think more of their retailers will attend.” He adds that Vegas is familiar but also refreshing. “Many of our attendees love San Diego, and for good reason, as it’s a great place to have a show. So they’ll get the best of both worlds for now.” (The January 28-30, 2024 show will be in the Sails Pavilion, a glass enclosed space offering views of San Diego and the harbor.)
Hauss believes a show’s location is only part of the equation. Size matters, as more exhibitors means more buyers, and vice-versa. Of late, however, smaller shows have been diffusing that potential strength. “It’s forcing reps to be in too many places without a meaningful ROI, and it’s forcing retailers to attend multiple shows in order to see all their brands,” he says. Hauss believes the West Coast warrants a big show. It’s why he created IR. “We offer a one-stop shopping experience where retailers can see their current brands and discover new ones, which is extremely important,” he says. “They can meet with key executives, network, and attend educational events.” Hauss adds, “To paraphrase Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ Well, we’ve built it, and we hope to see everyone there.”