Ever been asked to find a training course for someone? Of course! Ever been asked to find a relevant conference for someone (maybe yourself) to attend? Possibly! Ever been looking for the best way to spend your development budget as the end of the year approaches? Probably, if you are lucky enough to have such a budget. The site featured in this week’s review is one resource that may help you with all of these situations and more, and all in one place—TSCentral.

Trade Show Central started in early 1996 to provide the trade and professional events industry one place to find information, products, and services. In August 1998, they changed their name to TSCentral. The T, S, and C stand for Trade shows, Seminars, and Conventions.

The site’s goal
TSCentral is a resource for people in all types of business and professional events. The site provides information for all interested parties, including participants, exhibitors, event organizers, sponsors, convention and visitors bureaus, officials of venues and facilities, and more. For our needs as trainers, the site is helpful because of its scope and for the fact that it includes more than just training events.

The site lists events in these industries:

  • Agriculture and natural resources
  • Medical
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation
  • Professional services
  • Building and construction
  • Public administration
  • Business and finance
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Health and lifestyle
  • Science
  • Information technology
  • Computers and software
  • Training and education
  • Manufacturing and industrial
  • Transportation
  • Media and telecommunications
  • Travel and hospitality

The most important parts
The site supplies, among other things, searchable event data (also available by industry, Yahoo-style), detailed venue information, and an event-industry-supplier database. Interestingly, the site is also a full-service provider of webcasting services.

The events
Events can be searched by industry, by type of event, by location, and more. I was impressed with the breadth and depth of the events and industries covered. I am certain you would find things of use to you at this site. For example, a search on “consulting” resulted in more than 200 listings; a more specific search on IT consulting led to three events, all of which looked useful and appropriate to my needs.

When you find an event that interests you and click on it, the listing includes:

  • The name of the conference
  • The sponsor
  • The dates of the event
  • The cost
  • The location
  • The venue

Some events have links for participants or exhibitors to get more information. The listings also offer descriptions of the event, the people who attend, and the industry or topic.

You can search all the events, or by type: seminars, on-site training, or online learning. You can sort the results by name, date, and location. For a few events, you can register online from the TSCentral site.

The site offers a complete webcasting service, which is a nice complement to the set of services on the site. From the Webcast Center, you can see future webcasts (including some with big clients such as Ziff Davis), view archives of past webcasts, and learn more about how they can help you with your webcasting needs. It appears they offer all the services you might require in this area. If your company needs these services, I’d recommend exploring how TSCentral could help. The site lists several types of events where webcasts might be useful, including keynote presentations and conference sessions, training programs and seminars, and meetings and convention programs.

One more thing
If your company offers training or designs events that are open to the public, this site is also for you! You can add your events to their database. With the amount of traffic the site appears to generate, some of it possibly quite different from the training portal sites, this might be a great opportunity for your organization.

Final impressions
I liked this site because it combines training events with conferences, seminars, and more. For those of us in the training profession, this is what makes it stand out. The site is no-nonsense, the level of ads is low, and the level of usefulness is quite high. I found that the longer I explored the site, the more I liked it, and that is always a good sign. In the end, when you need to look for training and conference opportunities, have this in your Favorites; it is a place you’ll want to visit.

Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis.

If you would like to comment on this article or have any questions or suggestions of other Web sites to review, post a comment below or write to Kevin.

Here is Kevin’s review of TSCentral.com