International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Uses iPads and Boosts Revenue
“We are only a year removed from a giant grease board floor plan and wax pencil. The transition was seamless and the results were substantial. Our transfer to a2z has changed the way we do everything. a2z has led this charge. If not for a2z, we wouldn’t have gone to iPads or be looking at salesforce.com.”
— Pete Barto, Vice President, Exhibitor Marketing and Sales
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is famous for the “war room” of personnel, computers, and screens it operates for the two-day booth space draw, held prior to its annual domestic trade show. Using a2z’s real-time floor plan solution, the process is automated and orderly. However, for shows where the exhibit sales process is less formal, such as IAAPA’s Asian Attraction Expo in Singapore (June), the association searched for a more flexible, portable, and exhibitor-friendly process that would bring the sale to the show floor. a2z’s cross-platform functionality provided the answer.
After confirming with a2z that the same floor plan solution for PCs and laptops would also function on other platforms including iPads®, IAAPA’s Pete Barto equipped three roaming sales representatives with the devices for its Singapore show. “Our Biggest goal was booth assignment because there is no priority point system in place. Exhibitors flagged us down. We went to the booth. The contract was already pre-populated in the system and the exhibitors selected their locations. A confirmation was automatically emailed and the whole process was completed electronically,” Barto explains.
The iPad is a perfect complement for a2z’s floor plan solution. “People are excited about the technology. Lots of exhibitors have gone to the iPad. They have a comfort level with the devices and it’s not uncommon to see or have something be shown to them with an iPad,” Barto says. With a2z’s technology, the floor plan can be divided into several sections so that different devices are able to display different sections of the trade show floor plan at the same time. “Exhibitors normally just want to see the general area around their booths. When it comes down to it, on a million square foot floor plan you only need to look at a section of 4 to 5,000 square feet,” he explains.
“[In Singapore] we saw a 60% increase in the square meters sold on site and 44% more contracts signed on site,” Barto says. With three sales representatives and three iPads, Barto’s team obtained 140 contracts on site. By being able to seamlessly switch between floor plans for different shows, the Singapore team also secured ten contracts for the Euro Attractions Show (London) and ten for IAAPA’s Attractions Expo Orlando (November). The spontaneity of real-time information and the portability of the iPad have changed the way that IAAPA’s Barto thinks about booth space sales. “The days of waiting for the sales to come to you are long gone. If you aren’t being proactive and aggressively pursuing sales, you will lose out. We are competing for other exhibitor marketing dollars. If we can be standing there when the exhibitor is ready, we can get a renewal and possibly even an upgrade. We can strike while the iron is hot,” Barto says.
The iPad powered by a2z has the potential to positively disrupt IAPPA’s selling process and provide a higher level of customer service to exhibitors. Barto sees a time when he will be able to place the top 50 to 100 exhibitors [for the U.S. show] during the show in the order of their priority points. The sense of urgency from a “live” depleting inventory of booths helps move the selection process along. Plus, bringing the sales staff and floor plan to the exhibitors’ booths relieves them of having to trek to the sales office to make their selections. And, there may be other benefits. “I think we will go to potentially being able to reconfigure the sales office—less materials, space rental, and computers,” he says.