Using a Single Solution for Better Management and More Revenue

The Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) has always had a lot of moving parts. Because it represents the $395 billion dollar global motor vehicle aftermarket, it is mammoth in size—hosting 2,292 exhibitors with 4,929 booths.

AAPEX is part of Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week (AAIW), which also includes the SEMA Show for automotive specialty products.

Large shows often have unique requirements, but AAPEX is even more demanding. AAIA, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, and MEMA, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, together own AAPEX. The show has been managed by Chicago-based W.T. Glasgow, Inc. since 1992. All groups need access to a common event management platform in order to guide the decision-making. The use of multiple vendors and systems to manage the financial reporting, booth space sales and on-site navigation was reducing efficiency.

There is a further challenge on the horizon for AAPEX. It is nearly maxed out on its existing revenue base. Owners can’t charge more for exhibit space and the market will not bear a higher registration fee. As trade associations dependent on revenue streams from the show, AAIA and MEMA are looking for increased functionality from their event management platform to.

Several years ago, AAPEX and Glasgow replaced QuickBooks accounting software and a manual floor plan management system with the a2z event management solutions including a2zShow with electronic floor plan capabilities. In 2011 they switched from a third-party kiosk company to their existing a2z solution and added ChirpE premium, which includes both web and native mobile app solutions. The new a2z single-vendor configuration provides visibility for the show manager and the associations that own the show. It is a solution that meets the needs of all the stakeholders. “Having everything online makes analysis and forecasting so much easier. The financial data helps W.T. Glasgow keep the owners updated and enables them to provide better forecasts for the event,” says Arlene Davis, senior director of meetings and events at AAIA.

a2zShow and ChirpE Mobile solution brought a number of efficiencies to AAPEX:

  • Streamlining a2z solutions into a single platform that can be updated through one easy-to-use interface offers more accurate and up-to-date information with less effort.
  • The amount of time required to produce weekly reports has decreased from several hours to just minutes.
  • The exhibit space selection process used to require that show management and association staff travel to Las Vegas to meet face-to-face with exhibitors over several days. The process is now entirely online eliminating travel and lowering costs across the board.
  • In the past, information updates were broadcast on multiple platforms—Web and kiosk—requiring individual updates through multiple interfaces. Now with ChirpE premium, all systems—Web, kiosk and both web and native app mobile solutions—are updated simultaneously through a single content management system.

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