The Golf Industry Show, the annual conference and trade show organized by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America in conjunction with other industry partners, invites approximately 15,000 course managers and owners to explore over 180,000 net square feet of exhibit space. The 500+ exhibitors include elite brands like Toro, John Deere, BASF and others. Early in 2015, some internal staff changes added an unexpected degree of difficulty to the trade show operation. a2z sprang into action to help GCSAA produce a hole in one.
An Unexpected Challenge
Leading up to the association’s 2015 event, a decision was made to do away with manual processes for exhibit sales and booth space selection, and to a certain extent multiple vendors for individual tasks. The group selected a2zShow to bring order to the operations and integrate with other legacy platforms, such as registration and association management. Before a2zShow was implemented, the trade show manager and (subsequently) her staff, left the association leaving a 14-year association veteran with little to no trade show experience and the a2z platform to pull off a four-million-dollar event.
Professional Care Package
“My expectation was to be frustrated. I didn’t know anything about the a2z solution or why the decision was made to purchase it. My expectations were low and I had a feeling it would be a trying time,” explains Shelly Urish, Trade Show Manager at GCSAA. To allay her fears, a2z assembled a team of onboarding specialists who took Urish under their wings. They invited her to join them for free, face-to-face user training and remained on call as she moved through the paces of setting up the a2z platform for the 2016 show.
Victory in Sight
The 2016 show is on par, Urish is finally comfortable in her new role, and despite the unexpected challenges and reduction in staff, “using a2z,” Urish says, “is like having a full time person that we didn’t have before.” With a2z’s customer service, she has been able to transform what could have been a total double bogey into a match-winning birdie putt. “There was no way I could have stepped into this role without a2z. Our exhibitors love it. We are ahead of schedule on everything, bringing more revenue in the door faster, and accounting loves it,” Urish says.
More of a Good Thing
When Urish stepped into the trade show manager’s role, she says, “my conversation with IT was about how we bought the sandbox and now we have to buy the toys to play with in the sandbox.” Her goal after the 2016 show in February is to “put as much heavy lifting onto a2z as possible.” The association will train another person on how to use a2zShow and leverage it to build a more robust presence and more ROI for exhibitors. “Even though the situation could not have been worse, we have had a phenomenal outcome. We are family here and I get that same feeling from a2z. We look forward to building onto this machine to do more for our customers.”