With the consumer economy in the toilet, it’s no surprise the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas — early next month — is shrinking. The Consumer Electronics Association says it’ll be smaller than the 2008 or 2007 shows, which were its biggest ever. And something unheard-of is actually happening now: discounts on hotel rooms.
CNBC’s Jim Goldman: Yes, you read that correctly. Hotels on the Strip are actually slashing prices ahead of the big show. In the 15 years I’ve been covering these shows, I have never seen anything like this, and it may just go to show just how soft this economy really is. In years’ past, hotels often jacked up their rates during the week of CES because they knew they could. Rooms that ran $75 or $125 the week before and week after CES suddenly jumped to $350, $450, or over $500. The “CES Premium” all of us stuck paying it lamented.
This year, attendees are being tempted by an unheard-of CES discount! In an email to registered attendees, the Consumer Electronics Association writes, “Those who have attended CES over the years and are accustomed to peak rates…may be pleasantly surprised when they book rooms this year.” “More affordable than ever,” the email adds.
The show is also offering discount airfares, free registration, and free hotel rooms for some groups, CNBC adds. But that’s not enough to prevent many companies from ditching or downsizing their booths.
The economy is one problem. Another: Boring trade shows. Show us something that’s actually exciting at CES next year — besides yet another big TV, yet another Blu-ray player — and we’ll eat our words.
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