As a Springtime attendee since the days of old when it was initially created by GWSAE (if you're new to the association business, google it) and originally known as Springtime in the Park, this year's Springtime was unequivocally one of the best! Everyone was happy. Was it the 11am start time? Technology exhibitors interspersed amongst the destinations and hospitality booths? Or was it a simply beautiful day for a trade show? The "keep them wanting more" factor kicked in: More to see and people to talk to than one had time for. Almost every booth had multiple visitors at any given time. Exhibitors were delighted with the foot traffic, receiving those highly coveted RFPs and scanning attendees' badges. Attendees appeared to be asking serious questions (and therefore doing business). Has the association meetings economy turned around?
A few observations in case you missed it...
The Philadelphia pavilion always draws traffic with its classic Philly cheese steaks. Harry of Boardwalk Specialties and master of the grill, never disappoints by keeping it simple and doing Philly's signature sandwich right. Exhibitors, take heed: food will always lure attendees into your lair.
The two always-smiling Las Vegas showgirls showing a little skin and a lot of plumage atop their heads was another booth-magnet for photos. Other nearby Vegas exhibitors were probably thinking, "Maybe we should have brought showgirls instead of decks of cards."
The major hoteliers (Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood) were lined up in neat rows spanning the USA from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Lastly, if one ever wants to observe the "grande dame" of boothsmanship, check out how Julie Dodds of Anchorage works a show. Staffing her booth alone this year, Little Miss Dynamite has an eagle-eye for the "real" potential client versus the "peruser." Dodds boasted almost 200 badge scans worthy of a follow-up as opposed to just scanning the badges of anyone who stops by.
Kudos to ASAE for outdoing itself and putting on one of its best Springtimes in years.
Eliott Jaffa, Ed.D. is a behavioral and management psychologist.