BELTSVILLE, MD -- As anyone in business today knows all too well, these are challenging times. From stubbornly high unemployment to a shaky stock market, doom and gloom seems to be the order of the day. And as we in the vending, coffee service and foodservice industry continue to overcome challenges associated with the weak economy, looking for opportunities to save time and money is more important than ever.
As an industry veteran who has been attending NAMA shows for more than two decades, I can tell you that attending the NAMA OneShow is one of the most important investments you will make this year. While there are lots of reasons to attend, here are my top five.
1. You will save money. Lots of operators think only about short-term costs of traveling to shows, focusing on the airfare and hotel expenses, but this is very shortsighted. In fact, attending the OneShow is your opportunity to save money, thanks to a host of show floor specials that will more than cover your out-of-pocket expenses. Just think about that for a moment. All the equipment, products and peripherals you need to purchase anyway are all gathered in one place, but are cheaper than what you would pay if you didn't attend this show. I've personally saved thousands thanks to show specials, and this year NAMA is working with exhibitors to arrange more specials than ever. I recommend you bring your checkbook and take the time to walk around the show floor looking for "show special" decals and signs. If you're not there you're not getting the deal, but your competitor might.
2. You will save time. When you go to the OneShow you'll catch up with everyone. It's the only event where you'll find the entire industry under one roof: vending, coffee service, tea, water and foodservice. You can conduct all your meetings face-to-face while you're at the show, so that when you get back to the office you can focus on business. You will have met with all the suppliers and manufacturers, so you won't need to take time planning meetings and working around schedules. It will all be done. Think about all the time you can save by meeting with everyone at the show instead of one-on-one meetings at your office spread out over a few weeks. And since time is money, you're saving money yet again.
3. Meet the new CEO. It's a new era at NAMA, thanks to the dynamic new president and chief executive Carla Balakgie, who will address the entire industry for the first time during the opening ceremony. The new chief brings 27 years of association expertise to NAMA and this is your chance to hear firsthand her vision for our industry. She is working to lead a "reinvigoration" of the association and the industry to assure continued growth for both vending and coffee service. Our industry is in the midst of a renaissance -- learn about her plans for how NAMA can make sure we have all the resources available to push the vending industry into the next level of success and prosperity.
4. See what's new. Attending the OneShow gives you three days on a show floor to see everything that's new in vending: technology, products, services and support materials that can all make your work easier and run smoother. Whether you're looking for products that meet specific nutritional guidelines or wondering how you can comply with the new calorie-disclosure regulations, you'll find the solution at the OneShow.
5. Catch up with emerging technology and market trends. Keeping up with today's continually evolving technology and market developments is one of the most challenging aspects of running a business today. You can get up to speed on everything you need to know at the show by attending the educational sessions that cover everything from how to harness social media to better understanding technology and emerging trends like self-service checkout installations. If there's a topic you've wanted to understand better, you're sure to find it at the OneShow.
If you're new to the industry, NAMA has launched the Ambassador program designed to make it easier than ever to make sure you get the most out of the show. The association is arranging for an ambassador to meet new visitors at the show, answer questions, introduce them to peers and take full advantage of everything the OneShow has to offer. If this sounds like you, be sure to contact them in advance; they'll take care of everything you need to take advantage of all the show features before you even leave your office.
Finally, this year's show is in Las Vegas, where you can find some of the finest restaurants and world-class entertainment venues that are perfect for business entertaining. Our host hotel, the Venetian, is counted among the top hotels in the world. It's located right in the heart of the world-famous Las Vegas strip, which makes enjoying all the delights of the city a breeze.
Can you really afford not to be there?
CRAIG KUSHNER is president of Monumental Vending (Beltsville, MD) and was voted the National Automatic Merchandising Association's 2011 Vending Operator of the Year. He is a NAMA board member and serves on the association’s trade show advisory committee