The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions will stage its annual conference and Attractions Expo in Las Vegas for the first time ever from Nov. 16 through 20. More than 200 amusement industry-related firms will be among the exhibitors in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
They include makers of videogames (49), midway and skill games (35), redemption equipment (34) and kiddie rides (58) manufacturers, along with dozens of manufacturers of such FEC attractions as laser tag systems, go-karts, bumper boats, paintball, miniature golf, inflatables and virtual reality.
Leading merchandise suppliers for prize-vending and games and redemption counters will also participate, along with manufacturers of pinball, novelty games and sports tables. Even the jukebox sector will be represented by at least two interactive media companies, Ecast and AMI Entertainment. The American Amusement Machine Association will host its traditional pavilion on the trade show floor, comprising three booths this year, with numerous AAMA members exhibiting.
A GRAND TOTAL
In all, IAAPA officials said more than 1,000 exhibitors in 125 categories will fill an estimated "nine miles of aisles." The 2009 Attractions Expo is expected to draw some 28,000 visitors from 90 countries.
Educational programs begin Sunday, Nov. 15. The conference starts on Monday, Nov. 16, and the exhibit floor opens on Tuesday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closing at 4 p.m. on the last day only).
Collocated with the IAAPA show this year are the Global Gaming Expo and the Amusement Industry Manufacturers & Suppliers Safety Seminar, with free access to both events for IAAPA show visitors. The safety seminar, which offers safety training and certification, requires separate registration at AIMSregistration.com/login.asp.
IAAPA show participants can choose from more than 100 education sessions, including a four-day specialty track focused on FEC concerns, running Nov. 16-19. Topics range from familiar fare such as group sales, customer service and birthday party promotions, to newer subjects including the use of digital marketing tools such as email and social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogging, etc.).
Of particular interest may be a seminar called "FSI: Financial Scene Investigation" in which former commercial banker Jerry Merola of Amusement Entertainment Management will teach proven techniques and strategies for FEC financing in today's economy. Topics covered will range from collateral packaging to multi-tier financing structures, with a special focus on solutions for all small business owners. The session takes place from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
Also noteworthy is a panel discussion titled "Games & Redemption: The Circle of Profitability."It will cover game selection and management, setup, merchandising, redemption center throughput, hot products and superior customer service techniques. Presenting are George McAuliffe of Pinnacle Entertainment Advisors; George Smith of Entertainment Management Group Inc.; Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants; and Karyn Gitler of Chuck E. Cheese's parent, CEC Inc. The event takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Additional multi-day educational programs and 75-minute standalone sessions will cover key disciplines such as food and beverage operations, retail management, revenue generation, operational safety and security practices. The IAAPA educational program will also feature a roundtable discussion with legendary Disney "Imagineers"and behind-the-scenes tours of Las Vegas productions like "The Beatles LOVE,""Blue Man Group,""Le Rêve"and "Jubilee."
IAAPA's busy social roster includes the annual Family Entertainment Center Reception, which takes place Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. During this event IAAPA will honor the winners of the 2009 Top FECs of the World Awards.
Advance registration fees are $109 for IAAPA members and $239 for nonmembers through Nov. 2. To register after Nov. 2 or on site, fees are $139 for members and $289 for nonmembers. Registration is available online at iaapa.org. Questions can be directed to IAAPA's registration management partner, Experient, at (301) 682-7302 or (within the U.S.) at (866) 233-7970.
Travel Planners is the official housing company for the IAAPA conference and Attractions Expo. Show visitors may reserve hotel accommodations online with Travel Planners, accessed through iaapa.com, or by telephone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST at (800) 221-3531 or (212) 532-1660.
More event information can be obtained by visiting iaapa.org or by calling the association's headquarters in Alexandria, VA, at (703) 836-4800.