Jack Roe has been involved in international cinema since the 1930s and has seen in that time many shows appear, disappear, grow and change. Below are a few pointers regarding cinema trade shows that might help others that are looking to learn more about the industry as trade shows can be a great place to find out more information.
Yes. There are about a dozen shows in the USA alone and many more internationally, from Spain to Australia. Some have hundreds of trade show booths, and for some occasionally the booths are in single figures.
Cinemacon, held in Las Vegas every March/April (it moves a little). The show used to be called "Showest" but was rebranded in 2011 as "Cinemacon". Its sister-show "Showeast" takes place in Miami in October every year. The show is held at Caesar's Palace and the trade show is split between 2 trade show floors and various suites. It's a candy fan's dream with every flavour and colour of sugar available spread throughout the trade show booths.
There are different levels of pass to get into the trade show. The full registration could cost anywhere from $300 to $1300 depending on the size of the trade show. However, the larger shows (in particular Cinemacon and Showeast) allow vendors to provide also a limited number of free passes to give to guests. Although this does mean that you'll not receive the trade show goody bag, cannot attend the meals or demonstrations it does provide many hours' access to the trade show floor where every question that any newcomer (or veteran) to the industry could have can easily be answered.
The cost of the hotel varies enormously, so if budget is a concern look for alternative hotels that are near to the trade show. It's sometimes even possible to find an "Airbnb" with great views and better facilities than the show hotel for a fraction of the price. For manufacturers that are preparing a booth for the show there can be additional costs for electrical power, as well as drayage into/out of the trade show floor that can be as much as the shipping costs (so a $2,000 to/from show in shipping cost could have $2,000 added to it in labor at the trade show moving the goods to the booth).