Expo Roars Back
© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Summer 2002
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Expo Roars Back
From almost any perspective, this year’s Expo in Nashville was an encouraging success. The event attracted about 4,100 attendees, a significant increase over the 3,500 who came to Atlantic City in 2001. It’s short, however, of the hit attendance of 4,617 at Expo 2000 in Las Vegas.
For a look at the reasons behind this year’s success, we talked to Randy Moore, the International Door Association (IDA) Expo Chairman.
From your perspective, why did this year’s Expo attract so many more people than last year’s Expo?
Moore: Historically, Nashville’s always been a good location. But we made sure that it would be a success by promoting it a lot more. Besides our coverage in the IDA and DASMA magazines, Expo 2002 was promoted more strongly by exhibitors and by IDA board members who sent out hundreds of emails.
Besides the promotion, the education portion of Expo has become more important and a larger draw. I’m sure it helped us this year.
From your perspective, what was the biggest surprise hit at Expo?
Moore: I was most gratified with the success of the socializing after the Awards Banquet on Thursday night. Last year, the room emptied quickly. This year, we tried to keep them in the room with the Riverboat Casino and the band, and our success exceeded our expectations.
We were also pleasantly surprised by the standing-room-only crowds in so many workshops. I was also personally very pleased with the number of exhibitors who made a point of telling me how happy they were.
Why were the exhibitors pleased?
Moore: They said they were pleased with the attendance, the facility, the staff at the hotel, and the overall package. The exhibitors got what they go there for, and that’s what we want … a happy customer.
What changes might you pursue for next year?
Moore: I’ve been asked to be Expo chair again next year, and we’ve already talked about some improvements we’d like to make.
We plan to continue and enhance the level of planning and promotion we had this year. Next year, we will have a strong theme centered around the Fiesta in San Antonio.
We were surprised by the seminar attendance, and we need to plan for more seating next year. In Nashville, we knew that a large portion of our registration was drive-in, and you don’t know how many will come until they get there. We will also work on getting new and expanded topics for the workshops next year.
We’re also going to try to schedule an extra move-in day for the exhibitors next year. I think that lowers the stress level during the setup.
Do you think that San Antonio might have the same problems as Atlantic City because it’s on the fringe of the country and not as centrally located as Nashville?
Moore: I hear two comments about San Antonio. Those who have been there say it’s a great city, and those who haven’t been there have all heard that it’s a great place.
We have already pre-sold much more exhibit space for San Antonio. That tells us that we will have a tremendous exhibitor response.
San Antonio will be different. We expect fewer drive-ins, and that helps with our planning. We know the things that helped us in Nashville, and we will apply the same successes to Expo 2003.
Nashville and Las Vegas taught us that you need to give people another reason besides Expo to come to that city. During Expo 2003, San Antonio will be running their annual Fiesta, and that should be a great draw for us.