10 years to Orlando or not to Orlando – is that a question?

The topic is certainly not new, but it keeps on coming back in various media, most recently in the evaluation of the 2010 IAAPA Expo. In 2010, IAAPA signed a 10-year deal to hold the annual conference and tradeshow at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. It was a decision that sparked many comments, both in favour and against.

By Jeroen Nijpels

Related: IP & Theme Parks: here to stay? / Optimism with a Frosty Reception : The IAAPA Expo 2010 / A Few of my Favourite Things: A day at the IAAPA Expo / IAAPA Attractions Expo Goes to Orlando 2010-2019

I’m interested to know what the Blooloop community’s opinion is.  For me, it was a very positive decision. Since I came into the industry in 1996, and saw the show in Orlando in 1997, I’ve always thought that the show should be in Orlando, permanently. While I can appreciate the incidental attractiveness of changing the city every now and then, each of the alternatives has so many points against it, that for me Orlando is winning, every time.

First, the exhibitor’s perspective: the building in Orlando is simply the best one there is. All in one hall, a very limited number of columns, very high and no issues whatsoever in bringing in attractions on the show floor (although this feature of the trade show has been in strong decline over the past few years). And it certainly has the highest number of (affordable) hotel rooms within walking distance. Exhibitor services are priced at a reasonable level (except of course drayage, a phenomenon that we in Europe will probably never ever understand). And the surrounding hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities provide ample opportunities for targeted events during the week.

I realize very well that we will see a decline in visitor numbers if the orlando convention centre venue for annual iaapa expo in orlando floridashow stays in Orlando for a long while. But at the end of the day, what counts for the exhibitors is the quality of the buyers, not the quantity. At least, that is how I feel about it.

Then the visitor’s perspective: is there really an alternative for Orlando? Where else, at this time of year, do you have parks that are open, better weather and a wider choice of affordable hotels but in Orlando? Where else can you bring your whole family, if you feel like it, and which place would be a more interesting incentive for your staff members to bring along, if the opportunity arises? I honestly cannot think of a better place than Orlando, as a single answer to all the questions above.

Lastly, there is a new IAAPA event that was organized for the first time last month in San Diego: the Leadership Conference. It was building on what many people in the industry will still remember as the Summer Meeting. But in this case with a slightly more educational character, and certainly for me, a very valuable visit of no less than nine attractions in three days. It was a very well organized event and the participants were all very enthusiastic. I believe that this event can grow significantly and in doing so, can really cater for the taste of those that would like to visit different cities and the attractions over in the US. So with these two events, you could have the best of both worlds: travel around to see different places and attractions, and have the trade show and conference in Orlando.

For me, Orlando is the true capital of our industry. But I would be very interested in your opinions and arguments…

 

Images: Kind courtesy Orange County Convention Center