TRAM Transitioning to Digital

I am announcing today an important development for TRAM. TRAM will transition to a digital format as of November 2013. As part of this transition, TRAM will not hold an annual trade show until further notice.Instead, TRAM will expand into a rapidly growing tablet and online presence, as well as developing a virtual trade show and the best &#^%@ tent and event blog that will not hold back any punches. For those of you who know me, this is not much of a stretch. TRAM will target the mobile audience who want to study about events in a cultured environment. TRAM will be supported by paid advertisement and upgradeable user subscriptions.  Content will be free for all and will be available through the Web and in the future e-readers, with select content available for premium subscribers. At this time TRAM has been increasingly affected by the challenge of finding locations that are cost effective and beneficial to our tent and event environment. While TRAM’s online presence has built a rapidly growing audience with an average of 7,000 visits a month, these numbers are not huge but neither is the number of tent rental companies in the US.Currently, 39 percent of Americans say they get their news from an online source, according to a Pew Research Center study released last month. In my judgment, we have reached a tipping point where we can efficiently and effectively support our members digitally. This was not the case just two years ago. It will increasingly be the case in the years ahead.It is important that I underscore what this digital transition means. I am transitioning TRAM, not saying goodbye. I remain committed to TRAM and to the members that it represents. This decision is not about the lack of influence within the tenting community by TRAM or its members — that is as powerful as ever. It is about the challenging economics of managing and developing trade shows and growing its membership.Placing TRAM trade show in a holding pattern is an extremely difficult moment for me. I have enjoyed the passion of TRAM workshops and the unique camaraderie of those hectic hours starting with the Monday Night Kick-Off and ending with Wednesday evening cocktails with special friends. But as we head for the 11th anniversary of TRAM next year we must sustain the professionalism that gives TRAM its purpose—and embrace the digital future.  

Jim Erickson